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November/December 2017

A touching tale Interactive displays are part of everyday life for millions of people, particularly in corporate and education environments. But how is the technology developing, and how can the channel continue to best serve the market? Steve Montgomery reports


or several years, large-format displays and projectors have been essential elements in every corporate meeting room, school classroom and university lecture theatre. During that time methods of working, collaboration and teaching have evolved and the technology used has developed accordingly. It is set to change still further to meet the expectations and ways of communication of new generations of students and workers. Perhaps the most significant movement recently has been toward interactivity, with users being given the facility to directly interact with displayed content.

‘The requirements are for fast, effective, interactive screens that are as responsive as mobile devices’ Birgit Jackson, Sharp Visual Solutions

Projector-based interactive whiteboards have always incorporated interactive capability, but while these have been attractive in primary education, they have not been so readily accepted in higher education or in the corporate sector. However, with the widespread availability

and reducing cost of large-format LCD screens, the capability to interact directly with PC software and applications is now much more attractive to those reluctant users. “The UK is by far the largest market for interactive displays in EMEA. The market has grown strongly from a low point in 2011, driven on by a robust replacement market for interactive whiteboards that were installed 10 years ago and are now being replaced by interactive flat panels,” says Colin Messenger, senior consultant at Futuresource. “Over 70,000 interactive displays were sold in the UK in 2016 and there is likely to be around 11% growth in 2017. This is despite a feeling of uncertainty as school budgets are under tremendous pressure. The whole EMEA market is still growing after experiencing large sales volumes in 2014 and 2015. The corporate market is starting to build. There has always been an underlying strong level of interest but a spate of new vendors and models, such as Microsoft Surface Hub, Google, Cisco, Samsung, Dell and others, will help drive the market up.” Flat screens are becoming the dominant technology for large-format displays at the expense of projectors in both the education and corporate markets, as Chris Moore, AV product manager, BenQ UK, points out: “There are still some end-users deploying projectionbased solutions but these are becoming less

Key Points „ Interactive LCD panels are displacing projectors generally, although some applications still benefit from projection technology „ Corporate and education sectors have differing requirements, leading to a range of offerings from vendors „ Despite applications being bundled into screens, there are still opportunities for integrators to generate revenue „ Gesture and voice control are likely to emerge alongside touch interaction as common features in the future frequent. Factors like shadowing and inaccuracy are issues that projector users face, along with brightness, which often causes problems in sun-filled classrooms. The cost of interactive screens has deterred customers. However, prices are falling significantly, removing the last hurdle for users looking to switch from projection-based solutions.” However, Nureva product manager Dan Oleskevich counters: “With the increasing availability of ultra-short throw, full HD solidstate projectors, the market remains very positive for this type of display.” This, he

Installation November/December 2017 Digital Edition  
Installation November/December 2017 Digital Edition  

AV integration in a networked world