Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023 - 62

TECH UPDATE
RUNNER
C llab rati n
TODAY and TOMORROW
fordable. Therefore, our display technology choices are more
important than ever, as they directly impact efficiency and
effectiveness. PowerPoint is no longer the " end all be all. " In
our new hybrid world, communication and connection are.
" Bigger is better " is not necessarily true. However, it does
become more important as we attempt to squeeze more onto
the digital canvas. Traditionally, we would tie together display
size and text height. However, that is no longer a proper
way to determine the appropriate size. Assuming that we're
already accounting for proper resolution, required brightness,
room size and any architectural anomalies, what, then,
really is important if we cannot count on our old calculation
methods?
Three Key Characteristics
In the new hybrid reality, we must account for three additional
characteristics: intelligibility, engagement and interactivity.
1. Intelligibility: Intelligibility refers to the ability to be understood...to
be comprehended. We often think of this in terms of
audio, but, in a hybrid world, this is equally important for video.
Pre-pandemic, it was popular for manufacturers to " sell " the
benefit of being able to present multiple screens at the same
time from different users. Although seeming like a valuable
feature, it was impractical in reality, as sharing more than one
piece of content on a display based on standard calculations
made the content too small to be intelligible from a distance.
Today, we share canvas space not with additional content
sharers but, rather, with other applications and windows. And
having multiple displays is not always an option in a standard
conference-room space. So, just adding more screens is not
the solution. Therefore, when calculating the proper screen
size, we must account for the entire digital canvas, including
visibility for the farthest viewer. Does that mean bigger? Likely,
but not necessarily, so. The 21:9 aspect ratio is a promising
solution to allow additional real estate without going bigger.
2. Engagement: Nonverbal communication is as important
in effective meetings as verbal communication is. Being able
to read faces and body language makes conversations more
engaging. Formerly, when making display choices, we never
accounted for bidirectional communication; the displays
were glorified presentation monitors. Today, the ability to
have human connection is just as important as the information
being shared. All-in-one displays, point-source audio
coming from the direction of the far-end participant and lineof-site
camera angles all make communication more human.
New AI camera technology, along with display positioning,
come as close to meeting equity as possible. It's a promising
development in AV.
3. Interactivity: Along with needing to place multiple content
types on the same digital canvas, we often must refer
to them simultaneously and seamlessly. Here, we are reliant
upon interactivity. Does this mean it's time for the corporate
workplace to finally embrace interactive displays, a staple of
K-12 for decades? Ideally, but not necessarily, yes. The feature
set must at least be there digitally, if not physically. That said,
digital writing and annotation require higher resolutions,
higher refresh rates and a stable network infrastructure in
order to foster an immersive and cooperative experience.
Comparing and Contrasting
Part of my remit for this article is comparing and contrasting
when DVLED, projection and LCD might be the most appropriate
technology. Is it an important conversation? Absolutely!
But I would argue that, in our new reality, it's secondary.
Only after we account for the top three intangibles should we
begin to decide which modality to choose.
DVLED has a wow factor and price point that can make a
boardroom a " signature space. " However, the issue of resolution
versus size might arise, as well as the difficulty of achieving
quality interactivity without collaboration tools. Projection is
the default choice when LCD displays are not sufficient. As
with DVLED, additional tools would be required for interactivity.
Yet, projection can make intelligibility easier, offering the ability
to scale size at a low cost. LCDs are the go-to, with all-in-one
displays being the most popular due to the ease of installation
and the price point, along with self-contained collaboration
and whiteboarding tools. However, onscreen annotation and
whiteboarding requires participants to be mobile in the room,
which is not always possible but does create stronger engagement
for remote participants.
Considering Room Design
Lastly, what about room design? Should we change the
traditional practice of sitting around a conference table, with
far-end participants being an afterthought? What about the
recent push toward Microsoft Teams Rooms setups that
resemble an " us vs. them " Senate hearing, with in-person
participant seating curved to face a wall of displays? (This is
enough of a throwback to the days of immersive telepresence
to show that we, as an industry, have learned little.) I believe
that we're due for a happy medium. Flexibility is key. The
extreme of sitting around a conference room disenfranchises
remote participants, while the other extreme of everyone
facing the display makes in-room collaboration difficult.
I encourage us to creatively think about true digital equity
and true meeting-room equality. This means that there's no
" right answer " when it comes to display technology - only
what is appropriate. Effective video presentation choices
must start with ensuring that intelligibility, engagement
and interactivity are main priorities. Having these three
requirements inform our design decisions will ensure that we
achieve effective user experiences for all.
Joe Way, PhD, CTS, is the chair of HETMA.
62 Commercial Integrator+Security Sales & Integration | Sept/Oct 2023

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023

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