The Future of Portable Displays

by Simon Connell

The Future of Portable Displays

What will Portable Displays Look Like in 10 Years Time?

I’ll be the first to admit that, even with 9 years in the exhibition and display industry, I am far from the most experienced person in the field. Even so, I have seen many changes in the exhibition industry in that short space of time. Before entering the world of exhibitions and display, I was in IT distribution and this sector is almost unrecognisable from 2006, a time in which Twitter had only just launched and the first iPhone was not going to be arriving until the following year.

However, in this world, it would seem that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Peripheral display items have moved with the times; the TV screens have got lighter and slimmer and grown in size; you see more and more mobile technologies being used with the increasing popularity of all kinds of tablets; even the coffee machines have improved! But, when it comes to the hardware we all use, things are pretty much the same as they always have been, a roller banner here, a pop up display there – even fabric covered panels are still in frequent use. There have been a few additions in the form of aluminium systems and improvements on the original equipment, and recently using fabric as a print substrate has become more widespread and improved in quality as well. 

So where will we be in 10 years time? What will be different to what you see now? Personally I think that at first glance things are going to look pretty similar, the hardware will probably still be the same as it is now, but I think the biggest move forwards will be in how we integrate technology into the way we use displays to deliver the desired message. Below are a few areas I think will be key.

 

Augmented Reality (AR)

Chances are that you have come across Augmented Reality by now in one of its various forms. You may even have seen it crop up in printed media such as magazines. However, in the display world it is rarely, or poorly, utilised. Give it 10 years though and print technology and software availability will make it a prevalent tool for portable displays. How good would it look if the pharmaceutical rep turned up with a roller banner with an image of the human body on it but then they hold their iPad in front of it and it shows how their product works in the body to cure the patient?

Here are some good examples; 11 companies that were starting to realise the potential in 2012; a company using it to pass on reviews straight from their customers mouths; and Pepsi’s bus stop ad.

 

Sound and Vision

Whilst AR is a great engagement tool, the need for the client to have the right software or hardware can be a drawback, and sometimes it is tough to even let people know it is there, but there are other technologies that may well negate that. Perhaps you could make your display panels interact with a simple touch of your clients fingers. 

“I can do that already with a touch screen”, I hear you cry. Well what if you didn’t need a touch screen? Look at what Motorola did with some LED technology in a magazine earlier this year, or at this interactive musical poster. Imagine the impact of having something like that with you.

 

Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology

You may not recognise the name but Near Field Communication is something you probably come across on a regular basis. Perhaps you have a contactless credit/debit card that uses the technology, a lot of smartphones also have NFC in there as well. 

NFC has started to appear in exhibitions in limited forms the most notable of which is POKEN technology aimed at creating paperless events with better data capture and integration capabilities. Expect to see it being more prevalent over the next few years but other uses could be a chip in a directional totem in the foyer of the event you are sponsoring that allows the user to get a floor plan straight onto thier handheld device, or a touch pad on your display that allows them to get access to a white paper that you have had written in exchange for their details coming over to you.

In 10 year’s time I expect that you will be able to invite people onto your stand via their mobile as they walk past, scary isn’t it.

 

Rollable Screens

As this BBC News article says, large rollable LCD screens dont seem to be that far away from being available for the consumer market. Another 10 years could easily see this technology starting to be integrated into display equipment. Imagine getting to your event and having a screen that you take out of a tube and stick to your display panel, or perhaps turning up to a presentation with a pop up that has a screen that is part of the graphic panel rather than relying on someone elses projector. Sounds like a good thing to me.

 

The Old Faithful

Despite all of these new and emerging technologies I think that eye catching design is still going to play a big part for people using portable displays. In fact with all of the new routes that are going to be available it will probably be more important than ever to get the design right. Creative Bloq have a great list of 100 printed advertisements with some imaginative use of artwork to get a message across. Eyecatching design, strong messages and playing with preconceptions are always going to be things that our creative minds are attracted to.

Don’t worry about what you are going to use next to make an innovative impact with your display equipment, our jobs as display experts are to keep an eye on these emerging trends and keep you up to date with the latest developments so that we can reccomend the way to get the results you want from your next campaign.

I’ll be the first to admit that, even with 9 years in the exhibition and display industry, I am far from the most experienced person in the field. Even so, I have seen many changes in the exhibition industry in that short space of time. Before entering the world of exhibitions and display, I was in IT distribution and this sector is almost unrecognisable from 2006, a time in which Twitter had only just launched and the first iPhone was not going to be arriving until the following year.