Choosing the right type of collaborative display for your classroom or meeting room can be quite the challenge. With so many different options out there with different features, it can be hard to decide which type of collaborative display will best fit your needs, both now and in the future. Whether for education or for business, there is a wide range of display solutions out there that deliver new ways of working, teaching, and learning.

In the world of collaborative displays, two of the most common types to choose from are interactive flat panel displays (also referred to as IFPs, interactive whiteboards, and even interactive touchscreens) and wireless presentation displays (WPDs). So, what exactly is the difference between interactive displays and wireless presentation displays and which is the best option? Keep reading below where we break down everything you need to know.

How to choose the right collaborative display

How Can Collaborative Displays Enhance Collaboration?

Just as the name suggests, one of the major benefits of collaborative displays is that they can be used for collaboration between different sets of users whether it be a group of colleagues in a meeting room, a teacher and students in a classroom, or a distributed group of students or professionals. Everyone can use collaborative displays to interact, learn, work together in ways that are far more engaging than provided by traditional solutions. In fact, in 2019, Gartner conducted research that found that various types of presentation technology were one of the top 10 strategic technologies impacting higher education.

In the case of interactive displays, users can add or edit documents directly on the display itself, allowing for quick and easy annotation and collaboration whether within a classroom, or meeting room setting.  Digital displays such as WPDs allow for easier integration, and higher resolution, more vibrant presentations than interactive projector technology, and also require a less intensive setup, which removes a large burden on the IT department. With some forecasts predicting worldwide IT spending to reach up to 3.9 trillion dollars in 2021, this is not something to overlook.

Collaborative Displays in Education

The way we learn in schools and universities has changed forever. Classes are now conducted using distance learning, hybrid learning, and blended learning models. Each of these new models of learning calls for new methods and technology to ensure that students are remaining engaged, learning effectively, and to give teachers the tools to ensure this. A recent study by Deloitte found that up to 74% of teachers believe that incorporating digital content has a strong impact on student engagement.

Collaborative displays such as IFDs and WPDs are great tools for achieving higher student engagement – wireless presentation displays allow for quick and seamless sharing of multimedia content, while interactive displays allow for more inclusive, engaging, and interactive activities that students can participate in. This can have positive benefits such as increased retention, even if students are not physically in the classroom. There are several software solutions available that integrate directly with your collaborative display and are designed to make this process even more seamless.

Collaborative Displays in Business

Meetings are often time and energy–intensive for any busy professional, whether office worker, C-suite, or IT admin. Traditional wireless presentation systems often involve numerous hardware devices and cables, and are prone to failure and time wastage, either through connectivity issues, unintuitive interfaces, or just plain old technical difficulties. IFPs and WPDs solve these problems by creating seamless experiences whereby users are able to wirelessly share their screen via enterprise secure WIFI, or through QR code enabled single-use log-ins. Alongside this, they allow for easy access and sharing of multimedia content and the integration of third-party cloud or web apps, making for far more engaging presentations, and collaborative sessions, whether the team is in person, remote, or a combination of the two.

Collaborative Displays: Everything You Need to Know About Interactive Displays

An interactive display is a large-format touchscreen display that allows for users to interact with content directly onscreen. In summary, interaction and collaboration are at the forefront of their functionality.   Interactive displays are leading the transformation of work and learning spaces, making interactions between colleagues, students, and teachers easier than ever. Users can upload, access, and edit content for presentations or lessons, right on the screen. Real-time Interaction and collaboration become seamless thanks to multi-touch input that can recognize up to 20 points of touch simultaneously, while built-in digital whiteboarding software can make adding the media you need for the task at hand easy and efficient.  In short, they are technological solutions that will enable you to take your presentations to the next level, whether in the classroom, meeting room, or blended environment.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages of Interactive Displays

Interactive displays provide powerful tools for enhanced collaboration, both in-person and remote, with a wide range of features to facilitate and enable collaboration of all different types. A touch screen supports multiple inputs, which lets everyone get hands-on simultaneously. Third-party storage integration, digital whiteboarding, and annotation allow for easy file sharing, annotation, and editing, while the 4k ultra high-definition resolution ensures that whatever you share on-screen appears visually stunning. With all these positive benefits it can be easy to overlook the few shortcomings, but it is worth noting that the increased functionality does impact cost, leading to an increased initial investment. It can also extend the learning curve in order to make the most out of the software and hardware integrations.

Advantages of Interactive DisplaysDisadvantages of Interactive Displays
  • High potential for interactivity
  • Multitouch digital input (up to 20 unique points of touch)
  • Software suite integrations supporting a wide range of functions*
  • Integration with cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive
  • Lower maintenance cost
  • Wi-Fi casting/screen sharing
  • Ai pen handwriting to text
  • 4K Ultra HD resolution
  • Slot-in PC capability
  • Intuitive interface
  • TUV-certified for low blue light emission to reduce eye fatigue and strain
  • Versatile connectivity via SmartPort USB and multiple HDMI inputs
  • Digital whiteboarding and annotation
  • Higher initial investment
  • A longer learning curve for full use of software
  • Need for technical support

*ViewSonic Viewboards are installed with myViewBoard Suite, a software suite containing a wide range of tools and functions.

Collaborative Displays: Everything You Need to Know About Wireless Presentation Displays

A wireless presentation display (WPD) is an all-in-one wireless presentation solution designed as an answer to the traditional wireless presentation system, which is typically a complex arrangement of hardware and cables.  WPDs often include simple wireless connectivity, multi-user screen sharing, and an integrated multimedia display. They make presentations easier by minimizing the time wasted fumbling with cables and switching input sources. Uses include classrooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, commercial displays, and office communications.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages of Wireless Presentation Displays

Wireless presentation displays offer an incredible solution to take your presentations to the next level. Wi-Fi and casting functions allow you to connect your device and share your screen without the hassle of connecting external hardware or multiple cables. An embedded player allows for powerful multitasking, with the optional slot-in PC giving you the ability to turn your WPD into a fully functional computer. While these displays can really boost any presentation, the lack of a touch screen does reduce interactivity, which can, in turn, lead to lower levels of engagement. This can be a deal-breaker for some, but it ultimately depends on what your needs are.

Advantages of Wireless Presentation DisplaysDisadvantages of Wireless Presentation Displays
  • Lower initial investment
  • Multitasking with powerful embedded player and OPS PC slot
  • Simple functionality allowing for a faster learning curve
  • No more cables!
  • Easy Wifi casting/screen sharing
  • USB flash drive plug-and-play for photos, music, and video
  • 4K High brightness with a slim bez
  • Less engagement due to non-interactive screen
  • Lower functionality and software integrations compared with IFPDs
  • Not ideal for very large spaces or audiences

Summing It All Up

The type of collaborative display that is best for your largely depends on your goals, your needs, and the level of interactivity you require. When you have a situation that demands high levels of interactivity and engagement, for example, teaching a class of kindergarten, then an interactive display has everything you need to create an engaging lesson pack with activities to keep the students focused and learning. On the other hand, if you need to give a quarterly presentation to your C-Suite, where interactivity is not a priority, then a wireless presentation isplay is an ideal solution.

Whatever solution you choose, there are now more opportunities than ever to create visually stunning, engaging, and interactive content for the meeting room or classroom. To find the right visual solution for you – whether it’s an interactive display, a wireless presentation display, or something else entirely – we’re here to help! Connect with us and even schedule a customized demo to see first-hand what solution will work best for you.

(From the editor: This article was originally published on ViewSonic Library.)