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What to Expect at InfoComm 2016
Market Analysis and Commentary
02 Jun 2016 - The Futuresource Professional Display team is all set to participate in Infocomm 2016 in Las Vegas. The team will be speaking at a number of conferences connected to the show as well as scanning the show floor, reviewing the new propositions in the pro audio visual (AV) space. The goal is to understand the hot topics, trends, technologies and products that are emerging in the ever converging world of professional AV. Areas of focus for the team include audio, display technologies, digital signage, video conferencing, digital content creation, networking and signal distribution.
Alongside its quarterly global display tracking services (projection, commercial flat panel and interactive displays) recent reports from Futuresource include the latest Global Video wall Report, covering liquid crystal displays (LCD), narrow pixel pitch (NPP), light emitting diode (LED) and rear projection and the company's latest round of corporate end user research which covers meeting room technology adoption, user and buyer wants and needs together with corporate adoption of digital signage, both recent additions to the portfolio.
In anticipation of next week's show Futuresource Consulting would like to share its thoughts on some of the pioneering technologies and products that it expects to see across video wall applications, front projection, commercial flat panels, wireless presentation/unified communications & collaboration and virtual reality.
Futuresource Consulting has been tracking the video wall market since 2003 and is certainly seeing increased competition and potential. Global sales reached over $3.4bn in 2015 and are forecast to see sustained double digit growth out to 2020 with the market becoming more dynamic than ever before. While much of the growth has been driven by super narrow bezel (SNB), rear projection cubes (RPC) remain remarkably resilient in an increasingly challenging environment. More recently the narrow pixel pitch (NPP) LED category has become an incredibly disruptive force in the market with most major international vendors now adding the technology to their display ranges. Sony as well as other brands are rumoured to be releasing new models at Infocomm.
Front Projection – Solid State Illumination & 4K
Futuresource expects solid state illumination (SSI) to continue to dominate front projection at Infocomm this year. The spectrum of laser-phosphor solutions is expected to broaden with the release of ever-lower and brighter models, from a wide range of brands. Laser-phosphor sales to the installation and large venue segment increased 410% in 2015; the technology accounted for over 8% of 5000+ Lumen projectors shipped globally in Q1 2016.
Adoption of SSI in more mainstream applications has been hindered by a lack of adequate solutions priced for this cost-conscious market. However, Infocomm promises to see the release of more laser-phosphor ultra-short throw (UST) solutions targeted at the education sector from key players in this space which will no doubt help to increase traction moving forward. Moreover, Philips is expected to announce more developments in its HLD LED technology at the show. The technology has the potential to bridge the gap between LED and laser-phosphor, hastening the time it will take for SSI to displace lamp-based solutions, enabling it to become a true contender to lamp in the volume market.
Pixel-shift 4K was a key theme at all the major pro AV shows last year and further announcements are expected throughout this year. However, more demos of the new entry-level 4K chip from Texas Instruments are hotly anticipated, reviews have been largely positive, leading some to speculate how this chip will be positioned against its commercial 3-chip 1080p solution. It certainly has the potential to disrupt current resolution dynamics across both B2C and B2B applications.
Commercial Flat Panel Displays
The landscape for commercial displays has changed rapidly in recent years as vendors look to integrate emerging technologies and diversify product portfolios to service varied vertical requirements. In line with this drive towards diversification a few key areas are expected to be of particular focus at the show.
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology received significant attention at earlier shows this year as TV vendors began to launch large screen versions in earnest. The current cost premium is still far too prohibitive for most B2B applications but Futuresource expects to see a few more models on the show floor at Infocomm 2016 and this is likely receive significant attention if some of the 'closed door' demonstrations at shows like CES are anything to go by. High Dynamic Range (HDR) will likely be another talking point of the show with the display industry highlighting its intentions for adoption. 1000+ nit brightness is thought to be the minimum specification for HDR screens with this development likely to impact cost and product availability for commercial solutions designed for use in semi outdoor and high ambient light environments.
4K will continue to be an important focus at the show this year. Opportunities in the B2B space are incredibly interesting for display vendors. 2014 saw the introduction of 84" solutions from the majority of major players with a 98" product expanding ranges during 2015. 2016 is expected to see a similar trend for 70"-75" products with a number of launches expected at the show. Presentation spaces are particularly interesting applications for large 4K displays. The futureproofing benefits of 4K and the products ability to support multiple 1080p content feeds on a single screen are driving demand as end users look to replace incumbent projection technology.
Wireless Presentation / Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C)
Collaborative meeting and teaching solutions have become a core focus of Infocomm over the last couple of years with developments in interactive displays, wireless presentation and video conferencing, driven by growing awareness and the declining costs of these technologies increasing demand for these solutions.
Central to the development of the collaborative work spaces has been the rise of the mobile device, with tablet & smartphone products increasingly relied upon as a content source in the meeting room and to access unified communications tools beyond it. In response to this, vendors from a variety of AV backgrounds are launching wireless presentation systems which allow multiple devices to connect to meeting or classroom displays, screen share and in some cases work collaboratively on content. These solutions (often standalone devices) are being complimented by the rising penetration of wireless technologies like Miracast in display products and a growing range of software solutions enabling so called collaboration walls, often using blended projection, tilled cubes and large format displays to create touch enabled group working environments.
Futuresource sees three core usage models for virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality in B2B applications that run through every vertical market. These are design, training and marketing/sales. There are of course other more segment-specific examples, a classic being patient care and rehabilitation in healthcare. The premise of 'extending the digital asset' is a common theme in the B2B space. This is particularly evident in design and marketing or sales use cases.
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