Matrox Interviews Dicis Dealing Innovations BV
Frans van Mierlo, Principal Consultant at Dicis, shares his thoughts and experiences on multi-display technology in mission critical environments
Matrox had the opportunity to speak with Frans van Mierlo, a Principal Consultant at Dicis, an IT consultancy based in Holland. Dicis offers a number of specialized technology solutions for Information Risk Management, Multi Media Solutions and Remote Desktop environments.
Matrox Graphics: Dicis has brought their technological expertise to customers operating in a variety of mission critical environments. What are some of the most common features that your customers share?
Frans van Mierlo: These technologies are often found together in control rooms, emergency rooms and on dealing floors. These are dynamic environments where the people have to respond quickly and accurately to changing circumstances. These are the people who look to Dicis for the technical advice and project management involved in implementing new technology solutions.
MG: So we are talking about users of critical information. What do they require from graphics solutions?
FvM: On dealing floors, it's all about money, but in a police control room, we are talking about people's lives resting on the speed and quality of decisions. The right decision—the first time—with minimal stress is what they seek. A lot of our advice involves control of environmental conditions like noise and temperature. Stability of drivers and quality of image are also critical.
MG: I know you've also done some investigation on how graphics cards affect environmental conditions. Can you share your findings with us?
FvM: Yes, these sorts of customers don't need the type of cards that have fans as big as your hand. In fact the opposite is true—as graphics processors have improved their efficiencies, the graphics power needed in these environments can be delivered by cards which are fanless. The Matrox quad output cards are especially suitable.
MG: So, in your view, is fanless the direction of the future?
FvM: Of course, but fanless is only possible with reduced power consumption; that is the real way forward. Just being fanless isn't the only consideration. In my role, I have to consider the whole market in order to offer the best advice to clients. I've done a lot of comparative measurements: the Matrox P690 consumed half as much power as a similarly featured fanless card from another manufacturer. This isn't just about the cost of running the computer—attractive though that is—a higher thermal load means the air-conditioning has to work harder to keep the ops room at the optimum temperature. Reducing the size of an a-c plant can have a significant effect on the capital cost of an ops room.
MG: And of course the moving parts of the fan would have contributed to eventual failure.
FvM: Yes, and longer expected life due to no moving parts is important and reduces the long term cost. But...a more immediately noticeable effect is in the reduction in noise—small fans are quiet but if you have many of them in one room, the noise aggregates and becomes a measurable contribution to ambient noise. Our experience is that in certain setups and conditions, the fans on the graphic boards become so hot that the systems stop working.
MG: You work with video and data-wall users, many of whom are now deploying different types of desktops. What sorts of benefits are derived from a single high resolution screen over, say four lower resolution screens, with the same total pixel count? What sort of premium is attached to these high resolution screens?
FvM: 100" plus screens now let them have bezel free displays without the depth needed for back-projection cubes. This is affecting both collaborative walls and operator work desks. But the cost is high in comparison to standard monitors. We are talking about thousands of Euros per screen. Only those who truly need the continuous glass choose this option. Most people will still choose standard monitors if they have multiple applications rather than a single big picture (like a map). Heat dissipation can also become an issue as well with the larger displays.
MG: How do you see the market needs evolving for graphics solutions?
FvM: The users I work with are increasing their bandwidth load—graphics solutions must reflect this in higher bandwidth connectivity without sacrificing reliability. I have long championed the remote products like the Matrox Extio Remote Graphics Units. As police and emergency services converge—in some cases cross-service and in others cross—region—the buildings are becoming larger with greater distances between operator console and the computer rooms. These 'remote' technologies must also improve their range AND resolution—I'm not interested in trading one off against the other.
About Dicis Dealing Innovations BV
Dicis Dealing Innovations BV is a company that delivers hardware solutions for high demanding environments. These high demanding environments are trading floors, emergency rooms, traffic control centers, cargo control centers, control rooms of industry and control rooms in general.
The activities of Dicis Dealing Innovations BV are consultancy, project management, delivering of hardware solutions, installation, maintenance & support and key turn solutions.
The products that Dicis Dealing Innovations BV delivers are extender solutions, keyboard solutions, videoswitch solutions, blade solutions, matrix and multiplexer solutions.
For more information, visit Dicis Dealing Innovations BV.
About Matrox Graphics Inc.
Matrox Graphics is a leading manufacturer of graphics solutions for professional markets. In-house design expertise, top-to-bottom manufacturing, and dedicated customer support make our solutions the premier choice in industries that require stable, high-reliability products. Matrox is a privately held company headquartered in Montreal, Canada.