Malaysia’s Biggest Shopping Mall Employs Large Scale Digital Signage Network with Cutting-Edge Content Distribution

The 5-million square-foot 1 Utama Shopping Center, the biggest shopping mall in Malaysia and the fourth largest in the world, has always been an early adopter of cutting-edge technology. Ten years ago, it was the first shopping center in the country to deploy a mall-wide digital signage network and sell display airtime to advertisers. Fast forward to today, and the shopping center is once again looking to implement the latest AV technology to distribute digital content to over 60 displays from one central location.

To do so, they called upon JD Molecule to design and install an extensive network of content distributors, displays, network switches, industrial PCs and servers that would alleviate them of time-consuming system management and expand their ad revenue possibilities. To guarantee the seamless and reliable content distribution required for a successful network, JD Molecule deployed a Gefen Video over IP solution.

“We were invited to submit our proposal for a new network in the center, and unlike other AV vendors that submitted plans with individual signage players per display or extender, and sharing content via splitters, we proposed that we install a seamless Gefen Video Over IP solution,” Jeffrey Yip Sau Chuen of JD Molecule said. “Our clients at the shopping center were delighted to learn about this new technology. We were asked to provide a proof of concept for a minimum of one month, and the rest is history.” 

The goal of the project was to deploy a digital signage information network that would allow the client to sell airtime to tenants and external advertisers, as well as easily relay updates and events happening within the center. The center’s requirement was that the management team needed to be able to seamlessly send content from one location without tedious and exhaustive oversight. “They wanted to sell ad space on the displays to stores within the mall without the headache of constantly monitoring it,” Chuen explained. “They wanted a system that was easy-to-use, simple in infrastructure, and did not require any extensive cabling. The system that my team put in place checked all of these boxes.”

To create a widespread digital signage network that spanned the entire center, the JD Molecule team installed 60 50” Panasonic TH-50LFE7 displays, one Gefen Video Over IP Sender (EXT-HD2IRS-LAN-TX), one Gefen Video Over IP Receiver (EXT-HD2IRS-LAN-RX), one Avaya Gigabit Network Switch, and one industrial grade PC accessible only to the center’s maintenance team. The newly implemented Video over IP solution enables the distribution of content to new and formerly unreachable areas of the shopping center, including New Wing Center Court, New Wing High Street, Old Wing, Customer Service, One Card Loyalty Office, and Property Show Gallery.

In the previous system, the center’s maintenance team was tethered by the extensive management requirements of a wide range of devices including various displays, extenders and splitters. Now, with the Gefen EXT-HD2IRS-LAN-TX and the EXT-HD2IRS-LAN-RX, the center can seamlessly transmit HDMI, RS-232, and IR (bi-directional) content over a Gigabit Local Area Network to over 60 displays from one location. “The flexible and reliable nature of the new system requires less manpower to operate, and offers more options in terms of the type of content and the resolution of the content that can be distributed,” Chuen emphasized.

Additionally, JD Molecule has plans to install a large scale video wall in the near future. “Through the existing system, we can easily configure it to add new devices to receive content distribution,” Chuen said. “The new video wall will be connected to the same system that is currently in place.”

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