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WATCHOUT drives dynamic multi-screen experience at flagship store

London's coolest retail destination right now must be the 18Montrose store at King's Cross with its dynamic, multi-screen video content — driven by Dataton WATCHOUT. Designer and streetwear fashion retailer 18Montrose launched the flagship store in July 2017, re-defining the concept of in-store signage in the process.

The ultra-modern store and installation offers catwalk shows, product launches and musical performances, as well as brands including Stone Island, Adidas Statement Footwear, CP Company, Stone Island, Common Projects and Maison Marginal. Systems integrator, Multimedia Plus, supplied the technical specification, solution and installation expertise for the project, coordinating with key suppliers, Dataton and NEC. 

“This dynamic retail installation comprises three aisles, lined with eighteen screens on each side, plus a bank of twenty screens at the end of each aisle," Guy Ferguson, Creative Technologist at Multimedia Plus comments. "Because the last aisle in the store is half the size of the others, the client designed and installed a mirror wall to give the illusion that the screen image and store carried on. This produces a very interesting effect.

“We programmed Dataton WATCHOUT to run the complex video content that ran during the launch event — and because this is a permanent installation, we’re remotely programming new content on an on-going basis."

West London-based Multimedia Plus regularly works with high-profile brands and quickly understood the special requirements of the (500 sqm) venue and client. “The brief was to transform the space into a retail-nightclub hybrid, with maximum flexibility of content. This is dictated by the events — there are several events a month, with different sponsors — or featured brand. Store content changes, so the video content must change, too. The screens can be controlled from one console, either on site or remotely over LAN.”

The permutations are endless in this dynamic installation which blurs the border between fashion store, gallery and showroom. Each of the 132 screens can show different content, or all screens can show the same content to give a seamless visual experience, or the two variations can be combined to suit. This flexible solution allows the store to create a brand zone, a number of screens specific to the clothes or footwear on display and thus a perfect, dedicated, advertising space.

“A retail environment is different from events,” adds Guy Ferguson. “For a typical wide screen installation, the audience is several metres away from the screens, but here everyone’s up close, so resolution is critical. I reckon we’re pushing over 186 million pixels!”

The technical solution revolves around Dataton’s award-winning WATCHOUT multi-display production and playback system driving twelve WATCHPAX 4 and WATCHPAX 2 media servers. UK premium partner, Mirage Associates, provided the Dataton system and onsite support. "Each of the WATCHPAX 4 media servers pushes content to up to sixteen NEC MultiSync 46″ LED displays, 132 in total," explains Steve Selwyn, CEO, Mirage Associates. "It's a robust solution to handle the day and evening event usage."

Guy Ferguson concludes: “With this high-profile installation there are, of course, great demands on reliability, but with industrial-grade components, these servers are ideal for us to deliver a reliable and highly flexible system.”

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