So it is blog day for me here at Horizon, and my marketing team, (being on top of the news as they always are), sent me a link to a great article in Life Hacker that asks the question:
The author Angus Kidman draws his own conclusions, so I thought I would offer mine up as well.
The article references a couple different Microsoft applications being used to collaborate in a planning session. Excel and SQL are mentioned specifically as being improved upon by the use of a large touch screen. This application is a lot different than the picture gallery applications we most commonly see on large touchscreens out in the marketplace today. Given that, I think a touch screen could be very valuable in a planning session of this kind, but, the buyer should consider a couple of items before moving forward in selecting one.
1)Parallax. This is a fancy word to describe what happens when you touch a piece of glass that sits in front of your monitor. The bigger the gap between the touch screen glass and the monitor, the less accurate the touch is. Certain touch screen technologies require a bigger gap between the monitor and the touch glass to eliminate electrical interference from the screen. Overlays are aftermarket touch screen devices that strap onto an existing monitor, and also introduce a large degree of parallax in most cases. Before you save money on an overlay or a cheaper touch screen technology for your large display, make sure that you are not sacrificing too much accuracy. Nothing can be more frustrating than repeatedly trying to select a cell on an Excel file, and continually selecting the one above, below, or beside the one you intend to activate.
2) Resolution. More is better, right? Not always. You want to choose a large touch screen that has high enough resolution to not make your small fonts on excel look like a pixelated version of the guy from Coleco Vision’s Pitfall. You also want to make sure that the computer you use to display your data can support the NATIVE resolution of your display. If you use a 1920x1080 monitor, your computer should be outputting that same resolution. If it is not, the display has to scale the image up or down to fit. This means you can end up with an image that is blurry and either stretched or squashed to fit the screen. This isn’t ideal for pictures, but it is really a bad idea when dealing with text and data. There are some touchscreens in the UHD or 3840x2160 resolution, (we’ve made some for aerospace applications and interacting with high resolution satellite imagery), but they are not right for every application. If your source cannot output that high of a resolution, the screen will be scaling images up.
3) Number of Users. In collaborative environments, large touch screens can allow multiple users to gather around and work together to analyze data. They can also allow for multiple people working on the screen at once, if the application supports that of course. If you are using Windows 8, you 6 points of touch may be enough for 1 or 2 users. 12 points or more would typically be recommended if more than 2 people that may use the touch screen simultaneously.
I guess there is a short version of this answer as well. Would I prefer planning on a Giant Touch Screen? It depends on the screen. If it fits all the considerations above, I’d give a resounding YES!
Author Bio | Mark Coxon | Horizon Display
Mark started his technology career at IBM in 2000 before migrating into AV integration in early 2002. He currently works at Horizon Display, an interactive multitouch hardware and software provider. Mark lives in Orange County with Lesley, his wife of 11 years and his 3 children.