With a new year just a few days away, now is the time for value-added resellers (VARs) to plan ahead for 2015.
What verticals will your company focus on? What new technologies will you add to your product offering? Where will your overall approach be? These types of questions will help guide your activity for the year.
To help get you started, we’re counting down the top 10 innovative pro AV technologies that many VARs will be paying attention to in 2015:
1. Touchscreen displays.
Touchscreens are cropping up in nearly every vertical and at every size. While larger-scale touchscreens are now popular for wayfinding, entertainment and educational installations, smaller “desktop” touchscreen displays—at 24 or 32 inches—are also gaining steam in retail, healthcare and more to enable a closer, more personal touchscreen experience.
These mobile marketing devices were created by Apple to enable organizations to communicate with iPhones and other iOS technology through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). They help retailers and other groups “communicate with spaces.” Why? To gather information on customer movements and shopping patterns, push notifications and promotions to consumers, and even enable payments at the point-of-sale.
Near field communication (NFC) is similar to iBeacon technology, but generally used in different ways. NFC has a much shorter wireless range than iBeacons (about 5 cm, compared to 50 m), so it’s usually used for closer device-to-device interactions, such as:
- Sharing photos and video from a smart device to a digital screen
- Accessing audio “tour guides” in a museum
- Interacting with multi-user screens
- Sharing social media posts and updates with a video walls
4. Transparent displays.
Once relegated to very small and very high-end applications, transparent displays are now breaking into the mainstream. Keep these in mind for customers who are looking for innovative kiosks, advertising centers and specialty displays, especially in airports, shopping malls and specialty retail stores.
5. Very large-format screens.
As 4K and ultra-HD resolution become increasingly popular, digital signage is growing in scale every year. Now, 75-, 85- and even 95-inch screens are becoming more common and are helping to make large-scale displays and video walls more accessible for customers.
6. Lampless projectors.
Lampless projection is growing steadily, thanks to the growing popularity and capabilities of laser technology. Keep an eye out for corporate, healthcare, education and events customers to start moving toward lampless devices, which are more reliable and have a longer life than traditional projectors.
7. Multi-user interfaces.
Talk about a high level of engagement. Today’s multi-user screens, which are growing in popularity in retail and entertainment locations, can include up to 60 touchpoints in one device, enabling entire crowds of people to explore content, interact with each other and share their own social media posts and images.
8. Gesture-recognition digital signage.
Screens that recognize an end user’s hand and body movement are also growing in popularity. Think of it as Microsoft Kinect for the pro AV world: Your customers can use these devices to engage and entertain their shoppers and visitors through educational activities, games and multi-user experiences. This type of signage is especially successful at shopping malls, museums, sports and event venues, and similar facilities.
9. Wireless devices.
Of course, wireless pro AV devices have been around for years, but lately some innovative new Wi-Fi alternatives have entered the market, pushing many VARs to consider wireless more often. WiDi, WiGig, WHDI and WirelessHD are all wireless technologies that could one day challenge the popularity of Wi-Fi, which has its own set of drawbacks. As the Wi-Fi spectrum becomes increasingly crowded, expect to see more opportunities to leverage these newer methods for those customers who require a high level of flexibility in their pro AV installations.
10. 4K displays.
4K screens, which boast four times the resolution than 1080p, moved closer to mainstream in 2014, and they should only continue to grow through the next several years. In 2015, we expect more 4K-worthy content to become available, which will help spur on the technology’s growth in a wide range of verticals.
What other innovative technologies would you add to this list? What devices and systems do you think will experience the most growth in 2015?