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August 17, 2009

Oliver Richardson:The theory of evolution

The sales director at DB Systems explains his view of the development of display system technology for the event and exhibition industry.

They say there are two certainties in the world – death and taxes. Well, there’s also a third that greatly affects society, businesses and industry, including the event and exhibition sectors – the evolution of technology.

We live in a highly advanced technological age where new systems and products are continuously changing the way we live our lives and do business. Looking specifically at the event and exhibition industry, there is an incredible and often overwhelming range of audio-visual (AV) and IT technology available.

Focusing on display systems, there is a need and a continuing demand from companies to use variations of display system technology, from plasma screens to video walls, for their events and on their exhibition stands, because they are a highly effective visual communications tool.

Delivering the best
Display systems allow exhibitors to inform and entertain customers and prospects about products and services through the use of marketing media, including video content, graphics and animation.

While trading times are tough and budgets are tight, there is an increasing requirement for high-quality display systems, which is why AV suppliers have a responsibility to customers to ensure the very best service.
But the question is, what will be the next big thing in the display system market that will revolutionise events and shows of the future?

Progression, not revolution
My personal belief is that there won’t actually be any brand new, revolutionary technology, but rather a progression and evolution of existing display system technology resulting in improved products.

For example, if you look at display screens, over the years we’ve gone from CRT televisions, flat screens and touch screens to the latest incarnation, multi-touch screens. Multi-touch technology is advanced software and hardware that allows several users to touch the same screen simultaneously, and use a variety of programmes and features to perform numerous operations, all at the same time.

As a display system, multi-touch offers a whole range of applications that will benefit event and exhibition organisers over the coming years, because it is a versatile and innovative piece of equipment, which will see considerable growth in popularity at future event and exhibition.

Multiple benefits
For example, rather than view a floor plan in a show guide, imagine if there was a multi-touch display system, say in the form of a table, in the lobby of an exhibition or conference hall. That multi-touch table could allow visitors and delegates to not only bring up a floor plan, but also access a variety of information about exhibitors, as well as images and video content.

Also, consider how many information boards and displays you see at an event, and then imagine how much more interactive and engaging they would be if they were multi-touch display systems.

On the wall
Other display system technologies that will evolve are high-definition (HD) or plasma screens, because of the benefits of what LCD technology will bring, particularly systems like seamless LCD walls.

If we take seamless walls as an example, one of the latest products on the market is the new NEC MultiSync 46” LCD video wall module. These new video wall panels will, in time, replace the current seamless plasma screen versions that have been in the UK rental market since around in 2005.

The units will provide the ultimate indoor video wall, boasting a super-slim bezel and far higher brightness levels at HD resolutions – something that customers increasingly demand.

This new product will be a flagship video wall system, offering customers the next generation in video wall technology. However, in three or four year’s time, there will inevitably be a newer and improved version.

Floating free
Then there’s also holographic display technology, such as holographic projector screens or straightforward holograms that will become more common place as the technology improves.

The holoscreen projects an image so it appears to be floating in the air. It’s a fascinating piece of technology, which always amazes visitors to events. It’s also very versatile and can be used to display any image up to six metres away from the unit.

The use of holograms may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there have been instances where holographic projection theatres have been used on exhibits to amazing effect.

It’s almost impossible for companies to keep up with the latest AV technology and even more difficult for them to be able to afford to buy it, which is why it’s important to build up a strong relationship with a rental company. When looking for an AV rental partner, it’s important to find one that invests in the right technology, so that you know you’ve got the latest technology at your fingertips when you need it.

Oliver Richardson is sales director at DB Systems

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