What is the Liquid Galaxy?
The Liquid Galaxy is an immersive panoramic data visualization experience being used by museums, corporate offices, and commercial enterprises around the world. In its most common configuration, the Liquid Galaxy hardware is comprised of large-paneled HDTVs, a touchscreen, a 3D joystick, and 3 rack-mount servers.
Marketers and researchers can combine maps, 3D models, images, panoramic videos, KML, and other data overlays to showcase complex data or a data-rich story. All these content types can be controlled via a browser-based content management system. By using your company’s GIS—or Geographic Information System—you have an entirely new way of visualizing data, 3D models, and presenting demographic and other critical information to your target audience, while still providing the excitement of the immersive experience.
What’s the difference between a Liquid Galaxy and a video wall?
A simple video wall is a 2-dimensional plane stretched across multiple screens. This causes two problems: the image is stretched so resolution drops, and because the image is only 2-dimensional, it gets distorted when the screens are arranged in an immersive arc around the viewer.
The Liquid Galaxy solves both of these issues by sending a separate and complete video signal to each screen, and then coordinating the camera view among all screens. This means that we can show full resolution on each screen. It also means that we can adjust the camera angle in a 3D environment to match the physical orientation of each screen in the arc. Thus, there is no distortion when seeing 3D objects like Unity games, Google Earth, or 360° video.
Why get a Liquid Galaxy and not just use a VR headset?
Liquid Galaxy is a shared immersive environment, fantastic for group presentations. The VR headset is an excellent way for one individual to explore a 3D virtual environment, but it is widely recognized that it doesn’t work with groups: not everyone will strap on the headsets, and even then, it’s almost impossible to lead a group through a presentation with everyone wearing goggles: they don’t pay attention, they don’t follow along. The Liquid Galaxy provides a superior immersive experience with no need of wearing headsets, where everyone can follow the presenter in a shared viewing environment.
How many screens is a standard system?
Our standard setup is 7 screens, but we’ve deployed systems around the world from 3 screens to 48 screens. Let us know what you’re hoping for, and we can make it happen!
How customizable is the system?
Everything from system configuration to content to display on the system is customizable.
What type of content do we display?
End Point Liquid Galaxy’s CMS allows clients to build incredible interactive presentations on their systems. These presentations can include images, videos, 3D models (including integrations with Unity 3D and Sketchfab), fly-tos, 360° panoramic images/videos, live webpages, and other sorts of overlays.
What sorts of data sets can go on the system?
Any data sets can go on the Liquid Galaxy. We consider Liquid Galaxy and our Content Management System to be “data-agnostic”. Send over a data set, and we’re happy to show you how it will look on our system. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet of office addresses.
What content is most popular to display on the system?
Most of our customers utilize the Liquid Galaxy to show presentations that combine geographic data, photos, and videos. Real estate brokerages use the Liquid Galaxy to showcase their properties. Museums and aquariums leverage the incredible worldwide 360° photo content from Google Street View.
What size audience is best?
The Liquid Galaxy is highly effective in a standard conference room, with seating for 15–20 people. It also works very well at a convention booth or in the lobby of a visitor center.
What are the network requirements?
A single 20 Mbps down/5 Mbps up LAN drop is a minimum. More bandwidth will correlate with improved performance. DHCP network configuration is highly preferred.
What are the power requirements?
For 110–120 V service: Two 20 amp circuits (one for computers, one for screens).
For 220–240 V service: Two 10 amp circuits or two 16 amp circuits (one for computers, one for screens).
Can we buy our own hardware?
End Point has spent significant time and effort finding a set of display screens and server hardware that we have thoroughly tested and found to be consistently reliable. Other commercial-grade screens and servers can be made to work, but even minor differences in hardware can cause unforeseen problems and incur additional cost.
How can we schedule a demo?
Email us! We have demonstration systems in New York City, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Seoul. Alternately, we can arrange to have a video conference with you while we point a camera at our in-house system.
Does End Point offer portable systems?
Yes. The portable configuration of the Liquid Galaxy includes all the servers, cables, displays and frame for a complete system. It can be packed into 4 flight cases that easily fit into a small cargo truck.
Does End Point offer support for the system?
Yes. Our support includes full software support for the complete system: the operating system, all middleware libraries, and end viewer applications.
Our support team monitors the Liquid Galaxy 24 hours a day. Our goal is to find and fix problems before users even know something isn’t working correctly, and we are generally successful with this. When customers do notice problems, we are quick to respond.
We also support the hardware within its manufacturer’s warranty period, replacing faulty equipment.
Does End Point offer a warranty?
Yes. Software is covered under our support agreements. Hardware is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, which is usually 3 years.
How does the system work?
The Liquid Galaxy runs on a group of servers, with one “head node” running applications, connecting to the Internet, and managing traffic within the system. Other “display node” servers are n-scalable with each node powering up to 4 displays. Users can navigate and control the system via USB with a touchscreen and 6-axis navigation controller, usually mounted on a podium.
How much heat does the system generate?
The seven 55″ LED displays will typically draw 160 watts each at peak operation. The Liquid Galaxy Express (LGX) computer stack holds 3 computers that will draw 108 watts each at peak use, 1 touch screen drawing 60 watts at peak use and a network switch that draws 12 watts.
1,516 watts × 3.5 = 5,306 BTU/hour. This is at peak load, and will be lower on average.
What does the remote support include?
End Point remotely monitors our clients’ Liquid Galaxy systems, making sure the multiple computers of each Liquid Galaxy are connected to the network and functioning properly. We maintain an extensive automated monitoring system that identifies common system issues and alerts our support staff if they cannot be resolved automatically. We take periodic screen captures of the video outputs of all video cards and we keep a history of these for support purposes. These “screen montages” are periodically reviewed by our support staff, and by our automated screenshot analysis tools that detect common error messages.
System upgrades, including security updates and new releases with additional functionality, are deployed regularly. We receive alerts in the event that system problems are detected and our support team remotely connects to affected systems and troubleshoots as needed—typically before our clients are aware of a problem.
End Point also provides support via email and telephone. We provide 24×7 support, with 1 hour guaranteed support time during U.S. business hours and 4 hours after-hours. Response time for emergencies is typically less than 15 minutes.
Does End Point update the system?
As part of the support agreement, the Liquid Galaxy servers are managed by End Point’s configuration management system. Our developers are constantly improving the codebase for stability and security, while also adding new features. Once these code improvements are tested and approved, we make them available to customers with Liquid Galaxy support contracts.
How are the files and images loaded into Liquid Galaxy? CD, memory stick/card, or via network?
Files and images are loaded onto the Liquid Galaxy using the content management system that is hosted locally on each system. As part of the support agreement, we provide a proxy to the system for your convenience so your users can access it remotely.
Do we have to purchase special programming software to edit/modify our presentations?
No special purchases are necessary. End Point provides a content management system (CMS) we have developed specifically for the Liquid Galaxy which is accessed through a web browser. There is no limit to the number of users for this application.
How is the Liquid Galaxy system protected from cyber attacks?
The Liquid Galaxy is a Linux-based system. End Point uses industry standard security procedures such as firewalling, key-based passwordless SSH, and security updates.
What software is used in the End Point Liquid Galaxy?
The Liquid Galaxy is based on Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution, and many of the installed open source applications come from its packages. Some Python modules are installed with Python’s own packaging system.
Notable non-open source software includes Google Earth, Google Chrome, proprietary drivers from Nvidia and Intel, and software End Point has developed for the Liquid Galaxy.
What is their average response time for troubleshooting? Remote? On-site?
Average remote support response time is typically less than than 15 minutes.
Most support of Liquid Galaxy systems does not require an on-site visit by End Point personnel. For the rare occasions when an on-site visit is required, a visit can be arranged on a case-by-case basis at reasonable cost.
How does End Point handle remote support when a customer is having an event? Will End Point have someone assigned to the event?
For short events, you are typically assigned a dedicated support person who works directly with your on-site personnel for the duration of the event. For longer events, standard support channels such as email or telephone are used.
If you’re interested in assistance with your events, End Point can also offer logistics services, setup/teardown & staffing, development of additional custom content/interactive experiences, and rental systems on a per-event basis.
What type of shipping containers are used to protect the components?
If you plan to take your system to events, we can provide flight cases for the displays, frames, podium, etc. We use custom-made ATA flight cases, similar to what you would see a band or DJ use.
The server stack comes mounted in a shock-absorbing molded plastic and metal rack.
Does the system require purchase of any software license?
No. The system uses various open source libraries, Linux, openly available APIs, no-cost commercial software, and End Point’s own code. With the purchase of a system and maintenance contract, there are no additional costs.
If a system fails and cannot be restarted how long would it take to get a replacement?
The Liquid Galaxy uses server-grade hardware and commercial displays and peripherals. The hardware failure rate is quite low. In the event of a hardware failure during the manufacturer’s warranty, we’ll drop-ship you a replacement component. Outside the manufacturer’s warranty, we’ll facilitate replacement but require that you cover the cost of the replacement hardware.
How often is the software/system updated?
Security-related system updates are installed regularly, usually every few weeks. These are typically deployed after hours when the Liquid Galaxy is not being used. Software updates with new functionality are released as they become available.