- It’s time to invest in better display technology for learners and workers.
By Mukesh Bector (Epson Regional Head, East and West Africa.)
Imagine going to the cinema to watch a long-anticipated film. You’ve read the reviews. You’ve queued up. You’ve bought snacks and turned off your phone. You enter the auditorium ready to be blown away. And the screen is tiny and fuzzy. All you can see are other people’s heads.
You’d be disappointed. You’d probably ask for your money back. Yet this is the exact experience workers and learners across the world have every day. They walk into countless meeting rooms and classrooms to gain knowledge, present or connect with colleagues, and they’re confronted with a digital screen that’s inadequate.
The result? In business, it leads to inefficient meetings and reduced collaboration. But in education, it’s even more concerning. Epson research among teachers shows poor display technology can reduce academic outcomes.
Teachers say there’s a link between children being unable to clearly view a screen or display, and lower exam and test scores.[i] It’s been characterised as kids at the back of the class getting the ‘cheap seats,’ akin to sitting in the upper balconies at a traditional theatre, where the view is poor.
It’s odd that what would never be acceptable in an entertainment context isn’t always addressed in workplaces and educational settings. Especially considering people are crying out for change. In fact, employees cite inefficient meetings as the single biggest cause of wasted time.[ii]
The Power of Lasers
Perhaps this is why the tide is turning in favour of projectors. Specifically, laser projectors. Last year, in one of the biggest pieces of research of its kind, Epson surveyed over 5,000 IT decision makers, users and influencers across 33 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The data showed that over half [55 per cent] expected to see an increase in the use of projectors.
Why? Because compared to whiteboards and flat panel displays, interviewees said there are many benefits. These include quality of image [67 per cent], ability for a wider audience to see things clearly [57 per cent] and they remove the concern that some people may not be able to see content fully [51 per cent]. Perhaps as a result, 85 per cent expected to invest in the same number or more projectors in the 12 months following the survey, compared to the year prior.
Meeting the Hybrid Challenge
Projectors also address a uniquely new challenge that’s appeared in the age of hybrid working. Meetings that combine a mix of in-person and remote attendees often lead to those dialling in feeling side-lined. They regularly sit patiently on virtual meeting platforms such as Teams with their digital hands raised while those in the physical room remain unaware.
This is because the display where remote attendees appear is often too small. A meeting room with perhaps five people may have a screen that’s 55 inches. Displayed on this, a further five people might be crammed in with diminished presence. As a result, nearly one in three workers struggle to feel heard when joining hybrid meetings from a remote location and nearly twice as many remote participants feel that meeting leaders cater too much to those in a physical meeting space.[iii]
A bigger screen – perhaps where each remote attendee can appear almost in real size alongside their in-office colleagues – would support equality. This can be achieved easily with a projector.
Of course, change can be hard, which is perhaps why some IT managers have continued to stick with small, inflexible screens. Workers and learners are all used to TV-like devices and know how to use them, often because they have something similar at home.
There’s also a lingering misconception that projectors are clunky, need new lamps after a while and are only suitable in darkened rooms. This might have had some truth 20 years ago, hence the rise of flat screens.
But newer laser projectors are virtually maintenance-free and no longer requiring expensive replacement parts. In fact, many models are guaranteed to run issue-free for 30,000 hours. That’s the equivalent of being on eight hours a day, every day for over 10 years. They’re also incredibly bright and far more energy efficient than older models. This is a huge benefit considering spiralling electricity costs.
Reassuringly, respondents to the survey said they were increasingly keen to allay their own misconceptions about projectors. Nearly two thirds [64 per cent] agreed there is a desire in their organisation to understand how to use them better.
Which is good news. Because with a projector, workers and learners will have the power to make connections, share information and get involved in meetings and lessons quickly and easily, unlimited by display size or configuration.
To make it a reality, IT leaders need to consider what issues workers and learners face in terms of visibility of content or ability to collaborate and connect through screens. And they need to act and train users on how to get the most from them.
How can Epson help?
For Epson’s part, we’re constantly innovating and have just launched a series of enhancements to our affordable and easy-to-use range of projectors that are ideal for the office or classroom. For example, the EBL-260F model is an entry-level, full HD wireless laser projector, yet packs a punch a flat screen display could only dream of.
It has a 4,600-lumen display and delivers crisp images and bright colours, even in well-lit rooms. Not only that, unlike a flat panel, the display is scalable. It can go from 31 inches up to 310. At its biggest, it’s not that much smaller than some cinema screens.
It also comes with everything you’d expect from a professional projector. Users can stream content easily with wireless, HDMI and smart stick connections. It also has an incredible contrast ratio, delivering vivid, lifelike content and defined shadow detail with deep blacks.
With all this in mind, no one at work, school, college or university must settle for a poor view. It’s unnecessary and unfair. There’s never been a better time to get a laser projector – wherever you work, your colleagues or students will thank you.
The author is Epson Regional Head, East and West Africa.