We caught up with our Head of Interactive, Richard Bovingdon and posed a few questions around Interactive technology and what the future holds...
Q - In your opinion, how is interactive technology developing, both in terms of hardware and software?
The quality of the overall user experience is constantly improving based on improvements in the resolution of the images displayed, and the accuracy and number of touch points. We are also seeing features such as content playback and wireless connectivity now integrated into the screen hardware. The improved functionality now offered in Windows 10 and MS Office, as well as in software platforms such as SMART SLS V17 makes the user more productive and content delivery more exciting.
Q- Which sectors are benefiting most from the technology and in what ways?
Education: by way of far better content delivery – e.g. schools can now show 3D images, share content and set tests on iPads / Android devices, and integrate YouTube into lessons. They no longer have to worry about issues such a calibration and content quality.
Business Meeting rooms: makes it easier to connect using Bring your own device (BYOD). MS Office is now far more functional with interactive screens with the latest updates giving features such as Notepads and Sketching built in. Also – corporate users are now already familiar with interactive technology as they use iPads and iPhones every day, so they are far more confident in using large format interactive screens.
Q - How do the various interactive products differ, in your opinion, and do you have a favourite type of interactivity, natural user interface and brand/product – if so, why?
Every brand has its own features that appeal to different users and personally I have no preference as application & location have to be key considerations when deploying any type of solution, e.g. SMART currently tend to give the richest education experience based on the amount of investment and focus that they put into this sector. Their hardware and software is extremely intuitive to use and makes for productive teaching and learning outcomes.
Iiyama and Samsung offer a different kind of user experience based on their integrated content playback features and simple to use in-built annotation. Whereas ELO have features such as integrated signage and highly polished bezels that appeal to retailers.
Q - Is it all about touch as far as you’re concerned or are interactive displays bringing new and innovative solutions to the party (for example, Virtual Reality)?
Interactive displays are allowing screens to be used in new ways such as 3D image rotation and simultaneous use by more than one person. The development of content rich software applications for bespoke markets is helping the evolution of touch display technologies. This along with the use of complementary technologies such as unified communications is steering the way for business users to enhance productivity and reduce unnecessary downtime.
Q - Anything else you’d like to add about the interactive technology market?
This is a market that has far more appeal than ever before, because people no longer have to overcome a learning barrier to use it. It means that we are seeing demand from a far greater user base than ever before. In addition to this - the cost of having a touch screen over a non-touch screen is now becoming so small that customers may as well have the benefit of the touch technology even if they don’t immediately need it.
All this is driving an explosion in demand for years to come.
The only danger is that we are seeing cheap unknown brands enter the market, with sub-standard panels and poor support which could badly affect the user experience and damage the reputation of the reseller and the technology.
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