A couple of years ago, Wainhouse Research estimated that there could be as many as 50 million huddle rooms around the world.  Huddle rooms are typically small, informal spaces that enable ad hoc meetings and cannot be pre-booked, and their adoption has been driven by new corporate management styles that reflect the preferred collaborative, informal way of working of the millennial generation that will soon constitute over half the workforce. They also respond to millennials’ inherent comfort with technology. The trend away from larger, more formal meeting spaces has, if anything, accelerated – although those still have their place.
AV solutions that facilitate that style of working have also proliferated to meet the growing demand. The interactive large format display is now a staple of many meeting spaces, providing not only a focal point but also the built-in technology necessary to allow participants – both local and remote – to share information and work on it together.
We’ve also seen the rise of increasingly sophisticated – yet simple to set up and use - wired and wireless sharing solutions, able to accommodate a broad range of meeting requirements. Many feature ample USB connectivity to support a range of plug and play devices such as cameras, microphones and audio.
At ISE, look out for cloud-based huddle room ‘hubs’ that are 4K/UHD compatible and that support the advanced security features necessary where communication with the corporate network will be deployed.
One of the most exciting advancements in display technologies over the past couple of years has been the transformation that LED has undergone. Developments in LED displays make them extremely suitable for indoor environments and with the reduction in pixel pitch, it means that LED displays can be viewed from a much closer distance – sometimes as little as a metre.
We are now seeing LED regularly used in rental and fixed installations, including live events, retail, corporate, and education applications, due to its array of key features that make it the perfect solution.
LED displays are capable of high contrast and bright images – making them compelling from a picture quality point of view. They are also very versatile as their modular design lends itself readily to very creative, eye-catching installations. The creativity they allow is further enhanced by their slim profile depth. Even with large screen sizes, in challenging locations, they are often easier to install with minimal depth required.
LED screens also bring with them a bezel free solution, ensuring that the content on the screens isn’t interrupted. They also typically consume less power, giving them a lower total cost of ownership.
Along with all of this, access to LED has never been better. You can now purchase LED through the channel, with all the added value benefits that you are used to when working with a technical distributor, including preferential payment terms, warranties and service packages.
What’s not to like? At ISE, expect to see a wealth of new LED displays.
There was a time – admittedly, many years ago – when the image quality of which flat panel displays were capable was only marginally adequate. One of the industry’s real success stories over the past decade or so has been how LCD screen manufacturers have upped their game – to the point where, today, outstanding image quality is pretty much a given, and certainly less significant as a source of competitive advantage. They’ve also declined rapidly in price – making them a very cost-effective alternative in installations that were once the preserve of projectors.
It’s no surprise, then, that LFD companies have focused their attention elsewhere – and are now building in substantially greater levels of intelligence and functionality.
Touch capability is, of course, now widely available – and widely deployed in digital signage applications. In fact, it’s digital signage that is driving many of the latest developments in screens. An example is a built-in media player suitable for most types of content playback, saving space and cable clutter. Digital signage is all about attracting eyeballs – which is why we’re now seeing so-called “stretch” displays that eschew the usual 16:9 aspect ratio for 32:9.
Those capabilities – touch screen interactivity, inbuilt cameras and embedded intelligence, together with native wireless functionality for content sharing - are also revolutionising what’s possible in the world of collaborative meetings. In education, many LFDs now feature inbuilt teaching and learning software.
At ISE, look out for screens with even more inbuilt functionality, such as Bluetooth beacons for interaction with consumers’ mobile devices.