Choosing the right Interactive Flat Panel Display.

What are Interactive Flat Panel Displays?

The touch-sensitive interactive flat panel display is a technological marvel that combines the characteristics of a high-definition screen with a touch sensitivity that improves interaction with digital content. It is a focal point for collaboration, information sharing and immersive learning. The interactive flat screen is becoming an indispensable interactive learning tool for  teachers and students in the field of education.  We live in an age where interactive screens and touch screens have become commonplace in every household, workplace and classroom.

There has never been a greater choice for interactive products, and technology is evolving at an ever-increasing rate. Most  interactive displays of the current generation offer the user more than just a screen to interact with, offering built-in collaboration solutions and multi-touch points.

Regardless of the brand, generation or price of the interactive display, it is always worth knowing the expected life. You should also consider the warranty conditions of the device. Your screen should have at least 50,000 hours of use, with an average of over 15 years. You should also reject any supplier that offers less than a 3-year on-site removal/reinstallation warranty. 

Factors to consider before choosing the Interactive Flat Panel Display:

There are a number of factors that one must take into consideration before choosing the Interactive Flat Panel Display. We have broken them down to the top 5 factors that will assist you in choosing the correct Interactive Flat Panel.

Consider how many touch points do you need?

Interactive touchscreens are growing in popularity  as users want more from their screens. Features like pinch-to-zoom are becoming important features as users want easy-to-use screens that work just like phones and tablets – eliminating the need for additional screen training. Multi-touch screens also increase the functionality of the user interface. The first generation of interactive flat panel displays often only had basic button-press technology, but interactive flat panel displays have evolved to allow for more sophisticated interactions. This has enabled the proliferation of large touch screens in collaborative environments. 

Even in environments where many users are unlikely to be present, multi-touch screens allow for “palm rejection” detection. With this technology, the screen recognises and ignores a large object placed on the screen as an abnormal touch caused by the user leaning on the surface.  Some functions can only  be performed on an interactive screen with a certain number of touch points. Pinch Zoom is only available on touchscreen devices with at least two touch points, and an average of  10 touch points should allow users to use two hands at the same time.

Different environments offer different user experiences, each requiring a different number of touch points. Interactive displays in retail environments are typically designed for  single-user experiences that require only  basic button-press functionality. Interactive landscape  displays in a meeting room may have multiple collaborators and require more touch points and possibly  built-in collaboration software. 

How big should the screen be?

size guide of interactive flat panels

Most interactive flat panel displays are  between 65″ and 84″, but the size  depends a lot on where it is  installed and how many people will be using it at the same time. Interactive Panels used in collaboration are usually much smaller than those used in  classrooms or conference rooms. The main rule to follow is that the screen should be large enough  that even people in the back of the room can easily read a 20 pt font. It’s also worth thinking about how you want to mount the screen. Some large interactive displays can weigh more than 100 kg, which can present limitations in terms of installation logistics, location and method of installation.

What ports do you need?

Most interactive displays now have built-in Android or Windows players, an Ethernet network interface, or built-in Wi-Fi capability, but it’s still possible to connect computers, imagers, cameras, speakers, and other devices directly to the display. Basic interactive displays may not offer an integrated Android or Windows player, but often  rely on a  laptop or PC.  Interactive displays often include an integrated speaker system, which may be fine for small meeting rooms and conference rooms, but are often unsuitable for large meeting rooms, classrooms, or busy retail environments. For large rooms and busy/noisier environments, soundbars are readily available, affordable, and integrate well under most interactive displays.

What resolution do you need?

A higher resolution screen has more pixels and is sharper and clearer. Interactive displays below 1080P (1920×1080) high definition should not be considered in today’s environment as 4K resolution is now preferred by many  as it is fast becoming the industry standard. It’s also worth considering whether your interactive display depends on a supported laptop or PC and the resolution limitations of that device. These devices control the screen and you can only  mirror the screen resolution, you cannot exceed it.

Who will use the screen?

First, you need to consider who will be using the screen. The most valuable interactive display is one that can be used by anyone  without  prior training. Interactive screens are increasingly using the user-friendly gestures used on phones and tablets. Choose a display that enables and engages users.  The screen target user can also influence the selected screen size.

For example, the interactive screen installed in the  primary school library should not be large, because it will  be used mainly by children studying in groups and playing. In this case, it is also important to consider the mounting solution – because some interactive screen mounts allow the user to  easily move the screen up and down  to complement the size of the user (For example: younger and older children).

Conclusion

There are many things to consider when purchasing an interactive display. Fortunately, we’ve put together this checklist to help you narrow down your options. By considering these factors and more, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your classroom in the long run! For an intro article to Smart Classes, click here.