What does the future hold for the display industry? What is the next big thing that will be driving our installations and projects as we move into the next five, 10, 20 years? To be honest, your guess is as good as mine. However, there are key applications and use cases that are driving the technology evolution. In the wake of the new reality, there are significant trends that are moving the industry forward.
The display, the visual experience for all solutions, has undergone many changes over the last 20 years. Glass is giving way to LED lights; lamps on projectors are being replaced by lasers; onboard computers are getting smarter, smaller, and more complex. IoT is a critical discussion point on RFPs and projects, and resolution changes are starting to creep back into our conversations.
When discussing the future and changes to displays, we must start at the physical surface and appearance of the display itself. The LCD, the de facto display standard, has been the king of the hill for a long time. LCD displays account for the lion’s share of installations—especially in desktop, digital signage, collaboration, and conference room solutions—but we are now starting to see the introduction of alternative technologies, specifically around large format and video wall solutions. OLED and dvLED have emerged as options that can coexist with LCD and enhance display technology offerings.
New applications and opportunities are emerging from the introduction of OLED displays’ lightweight and ultra-thin form factors and amazing colors, and dvLED’s flexible, large-scale, non-rectangular abilities and bezel-free presence. Costs, form factor, applications, and flexibility will drive the evolution and adoption of each technology. The video wall business will have the largest change, and dvLED will become the dominant display solution.
And there is another migration on the horizon: the transition from 4K to 8K displays, which still favors LCD on a cost-per-inch basis.
Projectors have gone through a massive evolution with the introduction of laser light sources, which enable much longer use cycles, enhanced image quality, and expanded applications. The projector has been and continues to be critical for scenarios that require extremely large-scale video, unique viewing experiences, and flexible installations.
Additionally, onboard computing has evolved. What began as a simple media player with no smarts has become a computing system that can run multiple applications and software platforms. Today, System on a Chip (SoC) has become commonplace and will continue to grow. The simple ability of playing back content is assumed; customers today are looking to be able to run collaboration systems, signage platforms, video analytics, wayfinding, videoconferencing, and applications. The SoC solutions will continue to become more powerful and deliver more capabilities. There is no silver bullet when it comes to computing, and every application will require the right tool to accomplish the task. SoC is being embraced and opportunities are expanding. Those with strong SoC solutions will benefit greatly.
Lastly, IoT will be a major driver for the display industry and our connected future. We require technology that works together, can be controlled remotely, and drives data and intelligence back to us, which is crucial for digital signage, collaboration, kiosks, and telehealth. In today’s world, we must be able to control, troubleshoot, update, correct, deploy, and engage with our technology remotely. Having to deploy resources is difficult, and IoT is a driver for this. Being able to communicate with sensors (beacons, RFID, cameras, etc.) becomes a major need for the display industry. SoC will play a critical role in this as we see more intelligence and smarts being deployed within the displays themselves. As devices get smarter, data sets get larger, and a connected platform is the expectation, IoT is leading growth and will be a critical component moving forward.
Displays and technology will keep evolving and will continue to be dictated by needs and use cases. What is critical is that we evolve with the industry.
Rich Ventura is speaking at the 2020 AV/IT Summit on The Future of AV—What's Next? panel.