Recently, I have been using interactive displays as an alternative to the traditional white board projectors, or even interactive projectors. These are commonly found in board rooms, classrooms, and other meeting environments.

Interactive displays have become a very valuable tool for me in my work life. So what are they? In a sense, they’re a giant mouse pad. You can plug in almost any device you can think of including your PC, laptop, tablet, smart phone, Apple TV and connect it to this display. The display will then interact with the device as a large touch screen.

Let’s use a laptop as an example. When I connect my laptop to the display I need only two cables. HDMI and USB. HDMI for the video and USB to communicate the touch functionality. Now I am able to use my 70” display to mirror anything on my laptop and interact with it. If I have a PowerPoint presentation on my laptop I just use the display to browse to that file and open it. No more navigating from my laptop and running my presentation from its keyboard.

So now I have this giant mouse pad, which by the way has a built in white board. If I am giving a presentation I am able to take a screen shot directly from the display and then annotate on top of it. This creates a slide. There are no limit to the number of slides I can have at any one point. Then with a simple tap on the display I am back to my Windows desktop.

I do have this display set up in my office and recently a coworker brought his daughter in who is 7 years old. She walked right up to the display and immediately began drawing on it, changing colors, creating a landscape, and seemed to use it with ease. Did I mention she’s only 7?

There are so many advantages to using this display that it is really difficult to list them all. For example, during a presentation I can record everything I do on that display and save the file and then email it to everyone who attended and to those that did not. The interactive display I was using also records voice, so be careful what you say! You also have the ability to directly import videos and images into the white board and annotate on top of them and then save all of that information. You can even use the webcam and any software you prefer to host conference calls. No proprietary software needed. Remember this is running ANY software that you have on your device. In my case running Skype on my laptop will open on the 70” display.

Now, I would like to share how beneficial this giant display really is. I recently invited a guest to my office. He happens to be a head coach for a very large high school here in Katy, TX. I was giving him a presentation using the Newline display. At the end of the presentation he started asking about the display. I then launched into what I am sharing with you now. He immediately saw the need for this in his own profession. He was used to dark rooms with projectors and having his football players sitting in the dark after practice. We both agreed this could replace that at a very reasonable cost.

To date, he now has multiple campuses using these displays in locker rooms, conference rooms, and even down on the playing field. That’s right, not only can these interactive displays be mounted on the wall, they can also be attached to mobile carts.

Interactive displays are also very durable. I’ve yet to experience anyone breaking one (fingers crossed). If a football were to miss its mark and hit the display you don’t have to worry about it shattering. So now the coach has a better way to teach players and improve their overall game! The players can even get up and interact with the display and highlight what they did correct or any mistakes they made. At the end of that training day all notes and slides can be emailed to the players, saved as a PDF, or printed.

One concern the coach had was about keeping the board clean. Most interactive displays utilize a true pane of glass. That means you can Windex it, use soap and water, or just about any conventional cleaning method you can think of. It’s like cleaning your car windshield.

Another great things about these devices is that they can run a version of their own software, like Android, so it can be used without a PC. The model I use also an optional side load PC that can be installed directly in to the display, eliminating the need to bring your laptop with you and reduce cable clutter. It is also safe and easy for guests to walk up and use. There’s even side and front USB ports for easy access and multiple video inputs. You can also bundle this with a device which has its own SSID, allowing you to connect your laptop wirelessly from across the room.

Interactive displays are the future. No more worrying about connecting a laptop to an ordinary TV with no collaboration. No more replacing bulbs in projectors in dimly lit rooms. These displays have a typical life span that is ten times longer than a projector.

In short, anyone who is conducting meetings of any kind can benefit from having an interactive display in their lives. The company that makes the interactive display I use is based in Dallas, TX, so they are right here in the USA. They even manage their own manufacturing plants. No outsourcing! All-in-all, this device is a valued asset to our organization and many others.