How is our relationship with information technology changing?
Now more than ever, display technology has become a vital enabler to remote collaboration.
Almost a decade ago, a video went viral because it showed a toddler trying to zoom in on a magazine picture with the “smart screen pinch”. It was a harbinger of how quickly our relationship with information has changed and continues to change.
Now, the abrupt necessity of remote working has highlighted the variety of ways digital devices connect us. Digital screens today do so much more than display information – they are portals to communication, collaboration and entertainment.
As the toddler in the video foretold, people today expect to interact with information rather than passively consume it. Digital tools are a huge part of that, from education to our social lives. And they’re not just being used by individuals in their private lives.
The way that businesses have embraced screens has belied the old chestnut that technology isolates, even before the social lives of millions were narrowed to online contact. Display technologies have now become a business imperative.
By Daniela Dexheimer, Senior Product Manager Solutions, NEC Display Solutions Europe
Transforming the way we communicate
Whether its teaching via interactive whiteboards in schools and universities or holding video conferences with participants from around the world, today’s screens have revolutionised our ability to create, communicate and collaborate. A display is no longer a tool for consuming information.
We don’t merely read or watch; we engage, change and accomplish. And we’re still only touching the surface of what display technology can bring to our working, learning and social lives.
Advances in display technology mean we can be more tactile, using our hands to interact with on-screen information the way we interact with physical materials. We now expect to be able to draw digitally on a screen with the same ease and refinement as we do on paper.
These capabilities lie at the heart of everything that NEC does. Our goal is nothing less than to transform the way people communicate and work with each other. For us, the display is just the starting point, not an end in itself.
Nothing better illustrates this philosophy than the NEC InfinityBoard®, our versatile display solution designed for professional users. The NEC InfinityBoard® takes the notion of physical interaction with material and moves it into a device that can replicate the experience on a bigger scale.
This enables groups – be they in-person or working remotely – to interact and manage information in the way one person with a single device would. It means that groups can come together and work more effectively than they would if they were crowded around a single tablet.
It also means the display can become the focal point of a physical and virtual gathering and of the creative input, rather than sit on the edge of discussions.
Perhaps most interesting is that this notion of ad-hoc collaboration does not require a cultural change from the user community. Rather, this new way of working is a reaction to an existing cultural change.
Workplace meeting and collaboration technologies are evolving to meet the needs and expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.
Large format, interactive displays sit at the centre of this shift, lifting the benefits of tablet working into a bigger canvas with infinite possibilities for creativity.
An enabler for remote collaboration
Imagine what will happen when people return to offices. What new ways of working will develop during this period of remote work and how will the office respond? Even before the crisis, many organisations looked for ways to optimise productivity and improve collaboration. Some of the earliest adopters of the NEC InfinityBoard® were companies that had remote collaboration (especially between far-flung teams) as a major business imperative.
Hardware is always a significant financial investment for any organisation. Whether it is a new IT infrastructure or the latest display technologies, organisations naturally want to know how their investment will pay dividends and bring a greater business advantage. When it comes to screens, they need to look beyond the hardware itself and consider the wider benefits.
Equipment that makes it easier to collaborate across distances creates positive effects that waterfall throughout the company. These include more productive teams, happier employees, a more productive working environment and a greater ability to attract top talent.
Think of what it means to have an easy-to-use digital whiteboard, so people can not only share information but adjust and adapt it in real time. It could improve communications between business units, partners, suppliers or customers. It might offer the ability to implement flexible working or to improve the customer experience.
Flexibility, Choice and Reliability
Investing in the right display technologies can bring all these benefits, and many more. Of course, not all display technology is created equal, and it pays to choose the right one. When it comes to collaborative working, we believe there are three key factors that organisations need to consider.
First, there is a demand for greater flexibility in the workplace. Second, there are expectations around choice, with end users likely to be frustrated if they are prevented from using the technologies that they find most useful.
Finally, the technology has to work perfectly every time: businesses cannot countenance investing in technology which, rather than delivering greater organisational efficiency, requires constant attention from the IT department.
Up until now, no single product or solution has been able to effectively combine all these capabilities and provide a satisfactory solution to the several challenges that organisations are seeking to solve – flexibility, choice and reliability.
The result is that teams and individuals end up wasting time, losing opportunities and experiencing daily frustrations.
It was this need that prompted NEC to not just develop the InfinityBoard® but also team up with partners offering creative solutions. One example is the Quicklaunch function that allows users to start meetings with a single button.
The InfinityBoard’s connectivity function lets businesses continue using their own computing or integrate NEC InfinityBoard® with third-party solutions. That’s the type of flexibility businesses want and need.
Displays should be so intuitive that a child can easily master them; like the toddler grappling with a magazine, we all know good design when we interact with it.
The next generation of display technology is providing businesses with the ability to optimise collaboration, efficiency and productivity, wherever they are in the world. The technology is changing the way that we interact with content – and with each other.
Find out more about the NEC InfinityBoardTM and how it can become a vital enabler to remote collaboration within your organisation.