The touchscreen smartphone is only nine years old, yet the simplicity of this tactile technology is so ingrained in individuals’ daily lives – both at work and in leisure time – that it’s difficult to recall when touchscreen tech wasn’t the norm. Smartphone penetration rocketed in the four years to May 2016 from 52 per cent to 81 per cent, and with that the app has also risen to prominence and overtaken browsers for many simple daily tasks.
With such high use on personal devices, it was inevitable that this interactive technology would eventually permeate into the workplace and more specifically the meeting room. Popularity has continued to grow and there is now a wide range of touchscreen devices on the market – let us guide you through the basic considerations of selecting a touchscreen for your business and how to choose the best screen for your space.
The Right Touchscreen for the Right Space
Touchscreens are the ultimate in meeting room collaboration tools. Acting as a digital easel or flip chart, these paperless solutions promote team engagement and problem solving. Enabling teams to work together on one document in real-time, touchscreens can enhance creativity and group participation.
Although there’s a great range of content sharing devices available that can sync to a standard flat-panel – like Barco ClickShare – and allow multiple users to share documents onscreen at once, pairing these devices with a touchscreen will give your teams even greater flexibility in a meeting.
But as with any audio visual purchase, buying the right touchscreen for your business starts with knowing your space and your team’s demands.
Touchscreens for Huddle Rooms
We’ve explored the rules of choosing the right screen size in detail here. Essentially, choosing the right screen size for the space in question starts with the 4 / 6 / 8 rule and touchscreens are no exception. This formula states that no viewer should be further away from the screen than four, six or eight times the screen height. The ‘four’ is for detailed and analytical work in which viewers are highly engaged and actively contributing; the ‘six’ is for larger text, while the ‘eight’ is right at the other end of the scale for passive viewing of presentations or films.
In a huddle room, chances are most people will be taking an active role in the meeting, engaging with the content and contributing as a team, so you should be working with the ‘four’. But at the same time the room itself will be fairly small with most people sat very close to the screen so they can make onscreen annotations and contributions. With this in mind, there usually isn’t the need for a huge screen in a huddle room and something like the 42-inch iiyama TF4237MSC-B1AG should work nicely.
Aside from the basic physical logic of why a smaller screen is better in a smaller room, following the basic 4 / 6 / 8 rule will help you to select a screen that isn’t going to overwhelm your meeting space. But don’t forget that getting the screen size right is only half the challenge; the second half is all about screen resolution.
The closer you are to a screen the more resolution matters, especially when you’re working with detail. With a higher density of pixels on screen, you can fit more information onto a screen without compromising the finer details of the content being displayed.
If you imagine a team sitting close to a touchscreen in a huddle room and working through multiple spreadsheets or slides, that’s a lot of very intense screen time. You need to make sure that the people working with these screens aren’t straining to see the information; by investing in a higher resolution touchscreen, even detailed content will appear crisp and sharp, making it easier for teams to stay focused and productive.
Touchscreens for the Boardroom
The 4 / 6 / 8 rule works equally well in selecting the right touchscreen size for your boardroom, but you can expect to have to spend a bit more here to get the larger screen size you’ll need for everyone in the room to be able to see the content clearly.
A boardroom really needs Full HD resolution at a minimum, whether you’re installing a traditional display screen or a touchscreen. If the budget allows it, 4K UHD will be a very welcome upgrade for teams working on detail-oriented tasks, such as reviewing and analysing the company figures. Take the ViewSonic CDE5561T with a 55-inch display and 1080p resolution; perfect for a smaller boardroom, this touchscreen offers exceptional image quality and a 20-point multi-touch interactive display with pre-installed annotation software. This particular model also has a variety of connectivity ports including HDMI, VGA, RS232, RJ45 and USB ports for playback, so the team will be able to work with a variety of devices and content quite easily.
Or if you can stretch to a 4K budget, then the ViewSonic CDE8452T delivers next level image quality with its 84-inch 4K UHD 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution touchscreen display. Boasting incredible clarity, the ViewSonic CDE8452T is all about image quality, colour intensity and collaboration functionality. And, with a ten-point touch display, the screen allows multiple individuals to draw or annotate on content simultaneously so it’s a great choice for a larger boardroom and for meetings that really hone in on fine details.
Remember, the kind of meetings that boardrooms will need to facilitate are quite different to those of huddle rooms. While there will be some collaborative meetings, with multiple people sharing and working on content on the main display screen, these rooms will also play host to meetings led by a single person, a presenter if you like.
This flexibility in the way in which teams will be using the room needs to be accounted for in the room’s technology and in your choice of screen. Look at things from the perspective of how the board tend to work, will a lot of people take an active role or are most meetings about passive consumption of information and content as it is presented by a single person? If the room needs to accommodate both then things like multiple touchpoints will become even more important to ensure that the whole team can collaborate when required. But either way, there is a flexibility that you get with a touchscreen that encourages more creative and interactive meetings, even at board level, it’s well worth considering.
Interactive displays with multiple touch-points are a must for collaborative teams. Multi-touch displays enable more than one person in a team to annotate or control the content onscreen at once. Screens like the Sharp PN-80TC3 offer ten-point touch and allow for up to four users onscreen. Measuring 80-inches diagonally, this is another great option for larger boardrooms. And, it also offers Multi-Board configuration that can connect two compatible screens together and be operated from one collaboration surface.
If a new touchscreen is replacing your existing flat-panel, this will need to perform multiple functions aside from annotation and collaborative projects. It will have to facilitate all-important video calls with image quality to rival or outclass your previous flat-panel. For the ultimate in agile touchscreens, solutions like the InFocus MondoPad INF7021AG are versatile for both collaboration and conferencing.
This particular model houses a built-in 720p camera and three fixed microphones to involve all members of your team in an online meeting, without the need to sync up additional conferencing equipment. Although the resolution isn’t as high as the 4K UHD ViewSonic CDE8452T, this screen still offers Full HD and a resolution of 1080p plus the benefit of a built-in Windows PC.
Touchscreens like the InFocus MondoPad INF7021AG are more than just a monitor and can function independently with wireless keyboard and mouse included. This way, the meeting spokesperson has full remote control and monitoring, for ease of use and the ability to display more than one remote speaker on-screen in order to help your business stay connected with satellite offices and partners instantly.
There’s a vast array of touchscreen solutions to suit any sized meeting room, all budgets and a variety of purposes. But as with all audio visual purchases, it’s about reviewing your company’s requirements and making a personal choice as to what will work for your teams.
Projectorpoint’s experts are on hand if you’d like to discuss your choices in more detail. Alternatively, you can view the full range of touchscreens here.