An Interactive Flat Panel Allows You to do More with Your Display
Interactivity adds a new dimension to meetings, lectures and training sessions, and interactive flat panels delivers material in a compelling way. It’s a technology that sells itself, as market research firm Futuresource confirms. According to its data, interactive flat panels represented more than 80 percent of interactive display sales in 2018. It’s quickly pushing aside other interactive display technologies, in other words.
Interactive flat panels are gaining in popularity because they can fit in both corporate and educational settings. About 75 percent of U.S. classrooms have an interactive flat panel on hand for lesson delivery. The corporate world is quickly catching up, as corporate sales of interactive flat panels doubled in 2018.
It’s a trend that will likely continue, as interactive flat panels can make meetings and lessons more engaging and more memorable. They can also expedite meetings and enhance collaboration. However, to reap those benefits, you’ll need the right interactive flat panel.
The Features to Target in an Interactive Flat Panel
There are numerous interactive flat panels on the market, including displays manufactured by household names like Google and Microsoft. The interactive flat panel market is relatively young, however, so there are a lot of smaller brands that offer the perfect combination of economy and functionality. That means you’ll want to shop around for a display that meets your organization’s needs, as that will provide the most value.
There are some features, though, that you shouldn’t go without when comparing interactive flat panels. They include:
1. Compelling software offerings – Interactive flat panel manufacturers also develop software for their displays, and this software is usually educator or business focused. It can be used for whiteboarding, collaborative exercises, lesson planning and delivery, presentations, inspiration and many more things.
Before selecting a flat panel, make sure that the software is useful, and that it’s something your team will want to use. This may be trickier for educators, as students should be considered too. Some interactive flat panel manufacturers, though, have worked with educators for years in producing student-approved content. School districts should strongly consider these brands, as they are well-received by students.
2. Easy connectivity – Schools and companies are implementing a bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, policy for their students or employees. A BYOD approach allows people to use the tools they’re familiar with, and that can make for better presentations and schoolwork. To facilitate this, an interactive flat panel should be easy to connect to. You’ll need at least a couple HDMI inputs, a VGA input and some USB ports. Some interactive flat panels also come with accessories that can make connecting to the display even easier. This is particularly important in the classroom, where multiple students may need to connect to the display simultaneously.
3. Backend control and monitoring – If there’s an interactive flat panel in 75 percent of classrooms, that means schools are full of them. The situation in corporate offices is similar, as it makes sense to put an interactive flat panel in most conference rooms.
Interactive flat panels should offer mobile device management, or MDM. MDM allows IT personnel to monitor and control every display on the network from a remote device. This saves IT time and ensures the displays can be easily controlled after hours. With MDM, IT can switch devices on or off, lock devices down, push updates, install apps, move files and deliver messages to the screen. This can be done with one or more displays simultaneously, as displays can be grouped together for mass control.
4. Open architecture – Open architecture technology is designed to be compatible with other software and hardware. Compatibility is a focus, in short, and that means anything built on open architecture is easier to upgrade and integrate into an existing system. Opting for an open architecture display will make things easier on your IT personnel.
5. Extra-large screen sizes – In classrooms and larger meeting rooms, people sitting near the back may have trouble seeing what’s on the display. For this reason, AV integrators want everyone to be able to read 20-point font (at the minimum) off of the screen, no matter where they are sitting.
An easy way to determine that distance is to take the display’s diagonal and multiply it by three. If a display has a 60-inch diagonal, then, 20-point font will be visible from 15 feet away. Make sure that the display you choose is available in a large enough size to be visible at every range.
Interactive flat panels are a game changer for educational and corporate organizations, but only if you choose the right display. If the above features are prioritized, and a reputable AV integrator is consulted, the ideal interactive flat panel can take any business or educational facility to the next level.