Collaboration is one of the most prominent words circulating within the digital signage industry this year. More than ever before, there is a strong emphasis on collaboration technology in nearly all vertical markets – making interactive flat panel displays for collaboration purposes the forefront for many brands to spend on both R&D and marketing budgets. Interactive flat panel displays are a significant departure from interactive whiteboards or projector technology that previously dominated the education and corporate markets.
Globally, many of the interactive flat panel display companies with collaboration solutions already established within the education market includes Hitevision, SMART Technologies, Promethean, Clear Touch Interactive, BenQ, and Seewo – among many others. However, as the industry is driven by overwhelming demand to incorporate collaboration and interactivity among a wider number of applications, traditional flat panel display manufacturers are also introducing interactive flat panel displays specifically targeted for collaboration usage. Earlier this year, both LGE and Samsung introduced their interactive flat panel displays targeted for auditoriums, classrooms, boardrooms, huddle rooms, and other applications to try and establish a foothold among these niche collaborative display brands.
Traditional flat panel display manufacturers also try to distinguish their interactive flat panel displays for collaboration from the competition with renewed focus on their go-to market strategy. Each brand is highlighting specialized features such as direct optical bonding, or proprietary touch technology aiming improve touch performance and accuracy. For example, LGE recently launched their 86-inch multi-touch display, which features their AIT (Advanced In-Cell Touch) technology which directly bonds the LCD panel and protective glass surface. Samsung also recently introduced the new and improved version of their Flip collaboration display, featuring InGlass touch technology, which IHS Markit Technology, now a part of Informa Tech, classifies as FTIR (Frustrated Total Internal Reflection) in our Public Displays Market Tracker report.
FTIR and projected capacitive touch technology adoption seems to be emerging among more brands aiming to diversify their interactive touch display offerings. IHS Markit expects infrared touch technology to remain dominant for many digital signage applications, especially as the entry-level price point option. However, FTIR and projected capacitive touch technologies will compete among the high-end price options, with both touch types gaining traction. Based on the latest iteration of our Public Display Market Tracker, IHS Markit expects FTIR and projected capacitive shipments to reach over 240K units globally, comprising nearly 19% overall share for interactive flat panel displays for 2019. Several other brands are introducing FTIR and projected capacitive touch offerings in the second half of 2019, including Sharp, Dell, Seewo, and ViewSonic – all targeting education or corporate applications for increased collaboration and innovation. For example, Seewo recently showcased a projected capacitive touch solution targeted for painting and calligraphy courses focused on providing education display solutions in the China market.
However, the need for collaboration among digital signage applications also requires more than the standalone multi-touch interactive flat panel display. Many of these products must also be equipped with software specifically designed for a particular application. For example, software on an interactive flat panel display designed for the education market requires the ability to create lesson plans and templates, gamification, and assessment tracking, while also allowing for a collaborative workspace for multiple students. In other collaborative environments, such as conference or meeting rooms, other features such as USB connections, embedded computing, 4K UHD resolution, PC and software agnostic capability, wireless mirroring, audio and video connectivity, among other technology features to allow for a seamless environment for optimizing productivity during meetings. IHS Markit expects further developments in other technology areas, such as 5G or IoT, to be further integrated with these interactive flat panel displays for collaboration purposes in the next few years as requirements from end users continue to evolve.