While some believe that the evolution of meetings technology is accelerating at a staggering pace – with the recent influx of event mobile apps and the use of social media to provide a virtual voice to attendees in real time – others argue that these fads come and go. The fact is, however, that the core AV solutions haven’t changed much for many years.
Each year, the top technology experts at AVW-TELAV attend the annual InfoComm International trade show, to check out the leading manufacturers’ latest developments and determine their potential impact on the meetings and events industry. The InfoComm trade show showcases the latest technologies for audio, video, display, projection, lighting and staging, digital signage, conferencing, digital content creation, networking, signal distribution and much more.
Of the newer technologies we predict will have an impact on the presentation market, gesture-based technology was one of the most promising. Gesture-based technology could allow presenters to virtually control or manipulate objects onscreen with only their hands. Imagine conducting a presentation in which a wave of your left hand changes the display to reveal your next slide, pinching your fingers zooms in to a pie chart, and pointing your finger underlines or circles something on the screen. A good existing example of this technology in use is the X-Box “Kinect” controller. We have no doubt that gesture technology will mature and work its way onto the professional presentation stage.
Elsewhere on the trade show floor, it became clear that flat panels will soon start to replace screens and projectors in small meeting rooms. As LCD and plasma flat panel sizes continue to increase, the costs are steadily dropping. With 70” and 80” flat panels now readily available, it should come as no surprise that flat panels are becoming much more commonplace in the boardroom, instead of the traditional screen and projector combo. We have little doubt that flat screens 90” and larger will become commercially available and roll onto the live events scene, in the very near future.
On the topic of screens, we also saw a new contender that is very well positioned to knock out the competition. Oled (Organic LED) is an exceptionally high-quality display technology that merges the color accuracy contrast of plasma with the brightness, low power consumption and thinness of LCD. Up until now, Oled displays could not be produced in larger sizes, with a good lifespan, or at an economically viable price. However, some promising advances in the technology show that Oled displays have the potential to replace plasma—and ultimately LCD—in the coming years.
Signs of the times
Another technology that has already come a long way in the marketplace is digital signage, projected to see a 20 per cent growth in 2013. While most of this growth will be in the commercial and retail sectors, the usage increase will roll over into the presentation market. The old meeting-room standard – the easel with directions or the session name propped up in front of meeting rooms—will ultimately be replaced with an LCD panel displaying the session information, advertising, general attendee notices, and perhaps even the weather channel.
Finally, the next big corporate event trend does not necessarily require attendees to “attend” a meeting to benefit from the event experience. Virtual meetings can be defined as functions in which some or all of the participants are not physically present but participate through (virtual) connections. These connections have a variety of formats, such as teleconferencing, videoconferencing, Webcasting, Skype, FaceTime, Twitter, et cetera. The use of virtual meeting technology will increase substantially over the next few years, with a large percentage of all meetings having some form of remote (virtual) connection to engage geographically-separated participants.
While these AV trending predictions are based on decades of industry knowledge and thorough research, it is important to remember that the equipment and solutions you choose should be applicable to achieving your specific event goals. Before following the current and future fads, consult a reputable audio visual provider who will give you a detailed assessment so you can make an informed decision based on your individual needs, and then set your own trends.