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Evolution From Interactive Whiteboards To Interactive Flat Panels

Clevertouch

Interactive flat panels are an evolution in interactive displays

Interactive whiteboards have only been around since the 1990s, but they are already being phased out in favor of new technology. Most of this change is driven by the adoption of interactive flat panels, which offer several advantages over whiteboards.

These advantages are relevant to both K-12 educators and businesses, as interactive flat panels allow for more effective meetings and lessons.

What is the difference between an interactive whiteboard and interactive flat panel?

Both technologies are used for presentation purposes, but they go about it differently. Here is how each technology works:

Interactive whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards consist of a short-throw projector, a flat surface (which can be a whiteboard, a wall or even a sheet of fabric) and a computer. The computer is connected to the projector, which outputs anything displayed on the computer. Users stand in front of the projector and use a pen or their finger to input commands or annotate.

Interactive flat panels

Interactive flat panels look like large commercial TVs, so they are immediately familiar to users. Everything is contained inside the panel, including an onboard computer and interactive screen. Interactive flat panels are driven by modern LED technology and can be controlled using a finger or pen at the screen.

The most obvious difference, then, is hardware, but that’s only part of the picture.

Why are AV integrators choosing interactive flat panels over whiteboards?

Technology marches forward, and for most AV integrators, the flat panel is the next step for organizations that rely on interactive whiteboards. There are several reasons for this, including:

Better presentation experience

Projectors have improved greatly since the 1990s, but there is no getting around issues with shadows and brightness. As projectors use light reflected off of other surfaces, they can never match the brightness of interactive flat panels, which are backlit with brilliant LED technology. LEDs are the most advanced form of lighting on the market, partly because they retain their brightness even as they age. LED displays are estimated for around 50,000 hours of performance, with no loss of image quality. Projectors, though, use metal halide fixtures that fade as they age and are rated for less than 10,000 hours of performance.

Since interactive flat panels are backlit, they are also unaffected by shadows. That’s one less distraction for students and meeting members. Finally, because LED panels are brighter, they appear more vivid and are more interesting for people to look at.

More touchpoints, more control, more precision

Interactive whiteboards can, at most, accommodate two simultaneous touch points. Interactive flat panels, though, can recognize 10 or more touch points at once, giving users additional control options and allowing multiple users to access the panel at once.

Interactive flat panels are built with more precise touch tracking technology, too, which makes them a better fit for handwriting and tasks that require fine accuracy.

Familiar interface

Some interactive flat panel manufacturers, like Clevertouch, build their interfaces for maximum usability. In practice, this means an interface similar to mobile devices like Android phones. Even if a user has never approached the flat panel before, they won’t need long before getting comfortable with controlling and navigating the flat panel. Because the flat panel is so easy to handle, people are more likely to use it and use it better.

Superior software

Interactive flat panel manufacturers include software with their hardware, and this software can unlock the panel’s full potential for teachers and managers. This software includes sophisticated whiteboarding and annotating applications, math applications, presentation software, collaboration software and more. With plenty of useful software options available, schools and businesses can get exactly what they need out of the flat panel.

Ongoing support

Manufacturers also maintain an active ecosystem, so new teaching and collaboration resources are added continuously. This is particularly helpful for educators, who can use the manufacturer’s ecosystem to connect with other educators for help with lesson building.

How can businesses benefit from interactive flat panel technology?

Interactive flat panels are a compelling addition to meeting rooms large and small. They can replace interactive whiteboards in function, offering a visually superior alternative to projectors. The display advantage for flat panels is especially helpful during remote collaboration because it’s easier for remote parties to see what’s on the display.

Software offerings are key for businesses, and manufacturers have several applications tailored for more efficient meetings and presentations. With the Clevertouch, for example, there’s the following:

Clevershare

With Clevershare, users can send their device’s screen to the Clevertouch, whether that device is a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a phone. Clevershare is compatible with iPhones, iPads and Android devices, so anyone can quickly access the Clevertouch remotely and begin sharing content immediately.

CleverMessage

CleverMessage allows users to send alerts, messages, news and media to one or more Clevertouches simultaneously. Users can select which Clevertouches to communicate with and group them beforehand for easy messaging.

Stage and Flow

Clevertouch also comes with a pair of collaboration applications, called Stage and Flow. Stage is a lightweight whiteboarding application designed for usability. It works with onsite and remote teams, or both at the same time.

Flow also allows for rapid, easy collaboration, but in a visual format that’s easier for some people to work with. Using zones, teams can access Flow at the same time and work to organize content together. The result is a natural collaboration process that everyone can get involved with.

Why are interactive flat panels a good option for educators?

Interactive flat panels are built for classroom use, with thick safety glass that can handle even the most rambunctious class. They can also be wheeled from room to room, so displays can be moved around as needed.

Software is a critical consideration for educators, though, and flat panels like the Clevertouch and Promethean’s ActivPanel deliver. Some examples include:

Cleverstore

Cleverstore is Clevertouch’s application marketplace, but there’s a nice twist – all the apps are free, and all content is unlocked. The Cleverstore is a warehouse of educational resources available to all educators for free, and new ones are added all the time.

Snowflake

Snowflake is Clevertouch’s collaboration tool for students and allows teachers to leverage the display’s multitouch capabilities. Specifically, teachers can designate zones for each student to work in, and each zone can run a different lesson. Students, then, can work separately and with each other to complete their studies.

Lynx

Lynx is Clevertouch’s lesson planning and design tool for teachers. With it, teachers can quickly pull together lessons on any subject, using a variety of media. This media can be grabbed off of the Clevertouch’s hard drive or pulled directly from the internet, so educators can illustrate any lesson concept easily.

Superior hardware and software set interactive flat panels apart from whiteboards. With options like the Clevertouch and ActivPanel, there is a modern interactive display option for every professional and educational setting. An AV integrator can help their clients assess these options and determine which solution is an ideal fit for their client’s needs.

Robby