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Episode 2 -The Future in Education Is Now With Interactive Flat Panels

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Interactive flat panels are quickly becoming a wave of the future when it comes to connecting people digitally in real time. However, despite their popular usage and applications, many prospective buyers are not sure what to look for when purchasing an interactive flat panel for use in education or corporate settings. When a school administrator, educator, or businessperson is tasked with purchasing an interactive flat panel for the workplace, the pressure can be overwhelming, particularly if they are not sure what they actually need.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

8 Things to Consider When Investing In an Interactive Flat Panel

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Choosing to work with a reputable AV integrator is the ideal way to navigate the process of selecting an interactive flat panel. These professionals will speak with their clients to help determine exactly what is needed for the space to provide the ideal solution. Some of the considerations in determining the best interactive flat panel for the client will typically include questions regarding:
  • Budget
  • Size of Panel Needed
  • Easy Connectivity/Wireless Access
  • Device Sharing
  • Software and Operating Systems
  • Training Required
  • Back End Controls/Monitoring Capabilities
  • Failure Rate
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Budget Considerations for an Interactive Flat Panel

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]A decade ago, developers were still looking at interactive panels and projectors and the infrastructure that would likely be required to do a full audiovisual integration or installation. Installation then would have required power in the ceiling, projectors in the ceiling, mounting hardware, and wall cabling to name just a few things. To make it a truly successful venture and cover all the extra hardware needed, the end result was an exorbitantly priced product. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last ten years. Today, interactive flat panels can be put on a wall or a mobile cart with ease and in a much more budget friendly manner, primarily because it is one single piece of technology verses many different pieces of hardware. Today’s panel installation is greatly simplified compared to that of a decade ago because it only consists of:
  • One board
  • One location
  • One install spot
The cost of LED 4K displays are starting to come down in price across the board. If comparing the cost of an 85-inch interactive display from eight years ago to now, the cost has dropped from $15,000 to less than $5,000, and that generally holds true regardless of the manufacturer. Interactive flat panels are becoming more budget friendly every day. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

How to Select the Size of an Interactive Flat Panel

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]When it comes to interactive flat panels, there is usually not a one size fits all scenario. These panels come in sizes such as:
  • 55-inch
  • 65-inch
  • 75-inch
  • 86-inch
The key to choosing the size you need for a classroom will largely depend on the distance the students will be from the panel. To better determine the right size panel for a classroom or boardroom, the AV integrator will typically use tried and true mathematical calculations and formulas. A side perk of an interactive panel despite the size, is not having to worry about the ambient lighting from windows or lighting in the room affecting the brightness of the screen. Most of these panels have roughly 50,000 hours of life before it dims to half-life status. And while it is not recommended to leave the panel on all day, if were accidentally left on, it should not be enough to burn out the lamp. This can also be a budget saver compared to audiovisual equipment that constantly requires lamp replacement. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Easy Connectivity and Wireless Access for Interactive Flat Panels

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_empty_space height="132px"][vc_single_image image="3836" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]One of the main reasons educators are turning to interactive flat panels in increasing numbers is because they are so easy to connect to and provide wireless access. This allows them to take content they have created and effortlessly present it on the display for students. When plugging in a laptop to the panel and sharing the screen, having the HDMI input and USB can make an educator’s content easily accessible. This kind of set up allows the user to plug the laptop into the panel without having to worry about loading any software on the laptop to facilitate interconnectivity. Once connected, the display essentially becomes a wireless mouse for the computer. This enables wireless presentations and connectivity. It is worth noting that the ability to connect in a classroom, corporate space, or elsewhere is different than at home, so it is important to choose a panel that takes wireless speed, network speed and more into consideration. In other words, be sure to choose a panel that can account for multiple devices on one network at the same time. Being able to share via wireless access in schools is invaluable. In many schools, they use Chromebooks and iPads, or students are bringing their own devices, which can create a mishmash of devices from different manufacturers all trying to access the panel. This is why having an open architecture is so important.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1633296761297{background-color: #f2f2f2 !important;}"][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Device Sharing and Interactive Flat Panels

Particularly in a collaborative learning environment, it is key to have the ability to share more than one device at a time to the interactive flat panel. This can be instrumental, particularly in comparisons between excel charts, pictures, graphs and more.

Software and Operating Systems for Interactive Flat Panels

The kind of software and operating system a flat panel comes with should be key for the person who will be operating it. Essentially, the goal is to have the panel be so easy to use that it is a simulation of what using a large tablet is like. If the user is in education, the panel software should facilitate easy lesson planning. If the user is in the corporate environment, it should facilitate collaboration and allow real time changes to graphs or spreadsheets on the spot. It is possible the software the user has always employed may also work on the new panel. If so, the user can hit the ground running more easily. But for those for whom the old software will not work, they can take comfort in the fact that most new software programs are much more user friendly than those of yesteryear.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

How Much Training Does and Interactive Flat Panel Require?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]Ten years ago, staff training for an interactive solution could extend from three up to six hours or more. The long hours of training made the practice ineffective at best because users forgot the correct procedure and as a result never used the technology. When evaluating interactive panels for the school or office, is important to choose one users will be able to work with immediately, without requiring a ton of training. Users should be able to be shown once or twice what to do and then easily figure it out on their own. The training required for an interactive flat panel user should be the same required for using a smartphone, which is usually almost none after the initial learning curve. Less intense and confusing training allows teachers to spend more time preparing for students instead of sitting through never ending trainings that are difficult and often ineffective. It allows business professionals more time to focus on work and less time learning a new system. The hours of training saved by getting the right interactive flat panel may help school districts and companies save on professional development costs as well.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_empty_space height="70px"][vc_single_image image="1258" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Backend Controls and Monitoring Capabilities

In order to ensure that all panels are turned off or on at a specific time, it may be helpful to choose a panel that offers backend controls and monitoring. This means it can be added to the network so a push of a button can turn off or turn on all connected panels at the same time. This can be particularly helpful in delivering digital signage when the unit is on but not being actively used, and it saves a school district or IT department from having to put boots on the ground to access the panels.

Failure Rate

A reputable AV integrator will also consider and check the failure rate of the panel and will know what type of warranty is covered. Partnering with an AV integrator means that any issues can be addressed by a technician onsite, which eliminates the need to uninstall or reinstall the interactive flat panel in most cases. The integrator should also have a maintenance plan available to ensure their client’s solutions are able to stay up and running, keeping boardrooms and classrooms productive. Technology will continue changing and improving as time marches on, and working with a trustworthy AV integrator is the best way to make sure your school or business can stay competitive and make the most of the solutions put in place.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]