Interactive whiteboard and interactive products guide 2017

Interactive whiteboard and interactive products guide 2017
and Interactive
Products guide 2017
guide 2017
Audio Visual Guides
SMART Podium™
Copyright © 2002, 2008
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
MARK A. Adams
linda s. adams
All rights reserved.
This edition published in
Great Britain 2017
Permission is granted for this
publication to be given away
to colleagues and business
associates, provided that this
publication is NOT amended
in any form whatsoever. This
publication is NOT to be sold
under any circumstances.
Disclaimer: The purpose of
this guide is to give a general
overview and acts as a
guideline only. Information, to
the best of our knowledge, is
correct at the time of
writing. However, changes
do occur with some models
being discontinued whilst
newer models and features
come onto the market.
We accept no liability,
therefore, as to the accuracy
of completeness of the
information provided here. E.
& O.E.
No claims arising from this
guide can be accepted. It is a
guideline only.
Promethean ActivBoard
Interactive Whiteboard and
Interactive Products guide
Interactive whiteboards were first introduced around 1991. These large
interactive displays connect to a computer, whilst the projector projects
the computer image onto the board’s surface where users can control
the computer using a pen, stylus or finger.
Since the early days, interactive whiteboards have progressed from
single touch to multi-touch, and are used daily in both educational and
corporate applications. Interactive whiteboard manufacturers normally
include software with their boards, tailored to specific market sectors.
There is a growth in the interactive touchscreen panels market, and
some colleges and businesses are replacing their interactive whiteboards
and projectors with high definition large format touch screens.
Both these solutions use different technologies, and one advantage
to interactive (touchscreen) panels is that there are no on-going costs
with replacing projector lamps, as you simply connect the panel to your
computer. The choice is there to suit each application and individual
requirements. 03
Interactive whiteboards
Interactive whiteboards
SMART Podium® interactive pen display
Overview of interactive whiteboards
and interactive products
A matter of evolution - an overview of whiteboards...
This whiteboard and
interactive products guide is
mainly concerned with the
latest interactive technology.
Here we look at copyboards
(capture boards), interactive
whiteboards, whiteboard
systems and even how to
make your existing dry-wipe
whiteboards interactive.
We look at whiteboard
technologies, interactive
whiteboard software and
alternatives to whiteboards,
namely interactive flat panels
for education, training and
corporate applications.
When whiteboards first came onto
the market these were seen as a
big advancement from blackboards
and chalk. These whiteboards were
originally made of enameled steel and
were scratch-resistant and easy to
clean (wet-wipe) and did the same job
but looked neater and without chalk
dust all over the place. Once these
boards began to be accepted, marker
manufacturers introduced marker pens
and these boards became dry-wipe or
dry-erase whiteboards. The drawback
with both of these was that the only
way to save what was drawn or written
was to hand copy it onto paper.
Flipcharts were another solution,
on which the presenter wrote and
drew on large sheets of paper and
presentation notes could be kept
afterwards. These were especially
useful for brainstorming sessions when
ideas brought forward needed to be
saved (or there would be no point
brainstorming). However, if participants
want a copy, they have to copy the
notes by hand. Flipcharts, in various
formats, are still in use in offices and
hotel conference rooms.
Dry-erase whiteboards
The dry-erase whiteboards, however,
grew more popular, and today are
available in various formats and
surfaces, such as glass boards and
coated steel boards (durable surface
that accepts magnets) and semimatt whiteboards. The latter type
are ideal for projecting images, the
surface helps eliminate the reflective
‘hotspot’ from the projector light and
are designed to be used with short
throw and ultra short throw projectors.
Some semi-matt projection boards are
made from vitreous enamel and allow
some light dry-erase usage, whilst
other semi-matt projection boards
are only suitable for projection. Some
non-magnetic, dry-wipe boards are
designed to sit on wall tracks so that a
complete office or classroom wall can
become a writing tool.
Portable whiteboard systems
Small portable devices such eBeam,
turn a dry-wipe whiteboard or a plain
wall into an interactive surface. Where
schools and offices have standard
dry-wipe boards in situ, then such a
device can be more cost effective than
purchasing an interactive whiteboard,
and the device can be moved from
room to room as required.
SMART kapp® capture boards
Panasonic electronic copyboard
Some of the standard dry-erase
whiteboards evolved further so
that they could be connected to
computers. These then became
known as copyboards, for example,
the Panasonic Panaboard. This
works by loading the software that
comes with the copyboard onto
your computer. The copyboard then
connects to one of the computer ports
with the supplied cable. Everything
that is written or drawn on the
copyboard can be saved, edited and
These electronic copyboards look just
like regular whiteboards but have the
ability to print out what is drawn after
the presentation. The copyboard
prints onto A4 paper so that notes can
be handed out whilst delegates are
present or emailed after the event.
Capture boards
The copyboard has evolved further
with the introduction of SMART
kapp®. However, instead of printing
out your work, you can capture
sketches and notes instantly and
collaborate worldwide via the kapp
app. You write on the board with a
dry-erase marker, connect to the kapp
app, sync your mobile device with
Bluetooth and scan the QR code. You
can capture a snapshot of the board
and share your session and up to 250
people can participate via mobile or
desktop browser from anywhere in the
Sahara semi-matt projection board
Sahara D-Slide
flipchart easel
Attach an eBeam Edge+
to a whiteboard or plain
wall, and your computer,
to create an interactive
Interactive whiteboards
A projector takes the image displayed
on your computer screen and projects
it onto a large white projection screen
or a semi-matt projection board,
or an interactive whiteboard. This
allows everything that appears on
your computer screen to be seen by
everyone in the room.
Promethean ActivPanel interactive flat panel display 05
Interactive whiteboards
Promethean ActivBoard Touch
Promethean ActivBoard
Touch interactive
Many schools, hospitals and businesses use short throw or ultra short projectors
and interactive whiteboards. Interactive projectors are ideal where you have dry-erase
whiteboards in use, or there are interactive flat panel displays on the market...
Interactive whiteboard systems
When interactive whiteboards first
came onto the market, there were
initially two types; resistive which
worked by touch, such as the SMART
Board; and electromagnetic which
used a hard surface board, the
interactive technology being in the
special pen, such as Promethean
ActivBoard. Only one person at a
time, usually the teacher or presenter,
could interact with the board.
Normally, the projector was ceiling
mounted, anywhere from 1m to 3m
away from the interactive whiteboard.
This led to Health & Safety issues
with teachers and presenters having
the bright projector light shining into
their eyes. Projector manufacturers
came up with solutions, namely wall
mounted short-throw and ultra-short
throw projectors. The interactive
whiteboard would be wall mounted
and the short-throw or ultra-short
throw projector mounted just above
the board.
Next, we saw both these technologies
merged together with the result
being interactive whiteboard systems
where the interactive whiteboard and
projector are installed on a fixed or
adjustable wall frame. The adjustable
option allows for young children, adults
of varying heights and wheelchair
users to easily access the board.
Interactive whiteboards developed
further into dual-touch boards and
then multi-touch boards where 3 or
more people can use the interactive
whiteboard simultaneously.
Touch technologies
NEC UM Series wall mounted
ultra short throw projectors and
interactive multi-pen projectors
Let’s look at touch screen mobile
phones first as this is a good place to
look at different touch technologies.
Touch screen phones are used with
your fingers to select button areas
on the screen and these use either
capacitive or resistive touch screen
technology. You might be thinking
‘so what?’, but the experience of
using a capacitive or resistive touch
screen phone is different, so even with
phones you need to get an idea of the
Resistive works by sensing pressure
from your fingers or other objects such
as a stylus or an upside down pencil.
There are two main types of capacitive
technology; surface capacitive and
projected capacitive touch (P-CAP).
The latter can operate behind waterresistant or vandal-resistance glass.
Surface capacitive cannot be used
with a stylus as it requires a bare finger
to do the touching. This is because it
uses the conductive properties of your
finger to know where you are pressing,
rather than using pressure.
Projected capacitive touch uses finger
or stylus. The iPhone, for example,
uses projected capacitive touch screen
technology and you only need a very
light touch when swiping your finger
across the screen.
Now back to interactive whiteboards.
Resistive whiteboards with single
touch are almost obsolete, with very
few electromagnetic models available.
Promethean use digitizing technology
in their multi-touch Activboards, which
is a passive electromagnetic and
capacitive sensing interface that allows
you to operate the board with finger or
electronic pen.
Another two technologies used in
interactive whiteboards are infrared (IR)
and optical sensing (OS).
Infrared uses the same technology
as your infrared TV remote control at
home to create a curtain of light across
the board’s surface. You can either
use a finger or a stylus to operate the
board and the surface of the board
can be replaced if damaged.
Optical sensing uses cameras which
read microscopic dot patterns on
the whiteboard’s surface to know
where you are touching it. Some
manufacturer’s models use a high
definition (HD) camera in the pen, so
when you touch the board with the
pen, it knows where you are.
When you use your smart phone
and/or a tablet, you move and
resize objects using zoom and pinch
movements, similarly with when using
an interactive whiteboard. Some
whiteboards have 10 point touch so
that up to 5 people can use the board
Interactive whiteboards are available
in a range of sizes and aspect ratios,
with common sizes of 78” and 87”
diagonal, in a choice of aspect ratios;
4:3 (video format); 16:9 (widescreen)
and 16:10 (widescreen). When using
a projector with your interactive
whiteboard it makes sense to ensure
your projector can project at the same
aspect ratio as the whiteboard.
Interactive whiteboard
The software can be important too,
for example, SMART use SMART
Learning Suite for the education
sector, whilst SMART Meeting Pro
is for corporate and enterprise
applications; the boards being shipped
with a 1 year subscription for updates
and support, with subscription renewal
Promethean’s ClassFlow is free,
collaborative learning software that
simplifies the way teachers discover,
create and deliver interactive
learning and parents can share
classroom content too; whilst their
ActivInspire software allows teachers
to bring lessons to life on interactive
whiteboards and interactive panels.
InFocus jtouch Whiteboard - Full HD
interactive flat panel with whiteboard
‘Open platform’ interactive
whiteboards let teachers run many
other software programmes.
With the software running, you can
write or draw on the interactive
whiteboard with either your finger
or the supplied pen, depending
on the type of board, and save it
onto your computer. You can open
documents on your computer from
the interactive whiteboard by using the
supplied pen or double clicking with
your fingers, and then annotate over
images, photographs, drawings and
documents. In a corporate setting or
where a school wants to communicate
with another school using a
professional video conferencing
system or an IP camera over the
Internet, then remote colleagues and
students can view and discuss work
on the whiteboard and make changes
so that everyone can see these.
Interactive projectors
Projector manufacturers have also
developed interactive projectors, which
means you can project a computer
image onto a semi-matt whiteboard,
or even a plain wall, and interact by
using a special pen supplied with the
Laser projectors
Laser light source projectors, which
have a projector life of around 20,000
hours, with no replacement bulbs and
almost zero maintenance, are best
suited to projecting onto projection
screens in large venues rather than
used with interactive whiteboards.
Interactive flat panels
Sharp Big Pad, Full HD wireless touchscreen, wirelessly connects to
smart devices, for up to 4 users (10 point touch) for collaboration
Interactive flat panels (touch screens)
use different technology to interactive
whiteboards, and are available in
various resolutions including Full HD
or Ultra HD 4K (4 times the resolution
of Full HD). Some models, such as
InFocus jTouch Whiteboard and Sharp
Big Pad have whiteboard functionality,
and both SMART and Promethean
have interactive flat panels in their
range which use the same software as
their interactive whiteboards. 07
Interactive products
Interactive products
eBeam Edge+
Turn your dry-erase whiteboards,
plain walls or glass tables into
interactive surfaces
Portable devices are available on the
market that enable you to turn a dryerase whiteboard, a flat surface, glass
tabletop as well as LCD flat screens,
into an interactive surface.
Just think how useful this could
be in education or business. For
example, in a classroom where no
interactive whiteboard is available, the
teacher can use the device to bring
interactivity into lessons, and move it
room to room.
In a business scenario where
representatives visit client’s homes
to sell them insurance, pensions or
conservatories, all they need have is a
computer, a small portable projector,
(or an LED projector which requires
no replacement lamps) and a portable
device, such as eBeam Edge+ for a
complete interactive solution.
Instead of the client, and possibly the
rest of the family, huddling round the
representative’s computer to see what
is being demonstrated, the computer
image can be projected onto a wall.
Then by attaching the portable device
to the wall with Blu-Tack, not only
can the client view a larger image,
but annotations can be made directly
onto the presentation and saved to
computer, for distributing by email.
This solution is also ideal for business
people who visit client’s premises to
update them on their products and
services. They are unlikely to know
whether the client has an interactive
whiteboard or projector in their office,
therefore having their own portable
interactive solution could be a major
business asset.
eBeam Edge+ Wireless
minutes with eBeam Edge+ and your
existing projector. You can then directly
interact with anything you project
and share the results with remote
Equil Smartmarker
The best known portable whiteboard
systems in the UK are eBeam and
The eBeam Edge+ USB, eBeam+
Wireless and eBeam+ Complete,
the latter including marker pack
accessories. An Edge+ Bracket
lets you use your eBeam on any flat
surface as well as LCD flat screens.
Your whiteboard, cubicle wall or glass
tabletop can be become interactive in
Equil Smartmarker allows you to
stream your notes in real time. You
slip a marker pen into the sleeve and
whatever your write, and whatever
device you use, your team can
collaborate together.
Touchscreen tablets
and interactive tables
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) where
people bring their own smartphones,
phablets and tablets in the workplace
is a growing trend.
NEC InGlass
display screen
You only have to look around
schools and universities to see the
latest technology being using by our
generation of digital natives.
As smartphones seem to be getting
bigger and tablets smaller, we saw
the emergence of the Phablet (a
smartphone where the size is between
that of a typical smartphone and tablet
computer). Samsung Galaxy Note,
for example, is a device born of these
Interactive (touch screen) tables are a great way to engage and entertain visitors on
exhibition stands, in hotel lounges and public areas where people sit around coffeesize tables.
The NEC InGlass large format multi-touch displays, with Ultra HD resolution, are
ideal for 24/7 usage and have an OPS Slot for optional Slot-in PC, ideal for running
digital signage software presentations. Designed for tabletop use, optional legs are
available. InGlass Touch technology has a completely flush surface enabling edgeto-edge designs with no bezel.
Samsung touch screen tablets
So how do you transfer data from your
smartphone or tablet to an interactive
whiteboard or LCD display screen?
Awind wePresent is a Wireless
Presentation System that makes your
PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone and
display screen communicate with each
The wePresent can be connected to
any TV, display screen or projector with
HDMI or VGA connection, and can
project up to full HD resolution.
Up to 64 people can take turns
in wirelessly presenting from their
Windows® or Mac computer,
smartphone or tablet.
Promethean interactive table
For the education market, SMART and Promethean both have multi-touch
interactive tables in their portfolio.
The Promethean ActivTable allows up to six students to use the table
simultaneously and access a wealth of ready-to-use educational activities, tools
and resources.
When the wePresent device is
switched on, it generates a code
so the presenter can control which
devices can communicate with the
display screen.
As the wePresent device effectively
creates its own wireless hub, this may
be of interest to military personnel,
who are unable to access Internet
websites on their systems.
wePresent is a wireless presentation
system for wireless screen sharing
from any device.
You can share content from your tablet
or smartphone onto a display screen,
making it an ideal tool for classrooms,
meeting rooms and huddle spaces.
WePresent 09
Interactive products
Interactive projectors
NEC ultra
short throw
NEC interactive solution
with eBeam software
NEC interactive
solution fits onto the
U or M series projector
An alternative to having a
projector and an interactive
whiteboard (or projector
whiteboard all-in-one system) is
to have an interactive projector.
With an interactive projector you can
project onto a semi-matt projection
board, a projection screen or even a
large plain wall. These projectors come
with an interactive pen and software
for you to write, draw or annotate on
the board or wall using digital ink.
Interactive projectors with short-throw
or ultra short-throw lenses are ideal for
use in cubicles, exhibition booths and
mounted above whiteboards.
Short throw projectors help eliminate
shadowing and you will typically see
throw distances of 0.48 - 0.65:1
meaning that the projector can be
positioned between 0.48 of metre
and 0.65 of a metre to achieve a 1
metre wide image. Wall brackets are
normally adjustable so you can place
the projector in the optimum position.
Ultra short throw projectors virtually
eliminate shadowing and keep the
bright glare of the projector light
out of the presenter’s eyes. Typical
throw distance for ultra short throw
could be as little as 0.3:1 You can
buy whiteboard systems where the
projector, wall mount and whiteboard
are all in one.
Most interactive projectors are
networkable (RJ-45), making it easy
to project your presentations from a
network connected computer via a
local area network (LAN) cable, or if an
optional WiFi module is available with
the projector, wirelessly. A WiFi module
also lets you wirelessly share text,
images and graphics from devices like
computers, smartphones and tablets.
With an interactive projector, you
use the interactive pen and included
software to control your computer
mouse functions and can write or
draw and annotate over computer
programmes with digital ink.
Depending on the make and model of
interactive projector and the included
software, you can create tables and
charts, edit objects and use rich 2D or
3D graphical tools.
To encourage collaborative learning or
working, some brands of interactive
projectors, for example, Sony, have
dual pen interactivity, allowing both
the teacher and student or presenter
and delegate to write on the screen
NEC have an interactive solution with
eBeam software for their U and M short
throw series of projectors.The interactive
solution, which fits onto the top of the
U or M series projector, is suitable for
both education and corporate markets
has an online meeting sharing function
that facilitates distance learning and
supports presentations for meetings via
the Internet.
Epson have smart information sharing
in their interactive projectors, which
give an image size up to 100-inch
diagonal, so that you display content
from a range of sources then save as
PDF to USB memory key or network
location, print or send via email. Devices
you can connect to in order to display
content can come from a tablet, PC or
USB memory stick, and the interactive
projector can print, save or email.
Epson provide a corporate solution with
an all-in-one interactive meeting room
system to enhance collaboration and
productivity by combining ultra-shortthrow projection, interactive whiteboard,
paper flip chart all in one device, with
dual pen functionality. You then project
onto a projection screen or wall and
annotate with the interactive pen.
Epson interactive projector is an all-in-one interactive meeting room
With this solution businesses can save
presentations and minutes directly
to USB memory and print memos
instantly from the projector.
Epson interactive projector can also be
used on a table top as an interactive
meeting room system for team-based
collaborative project work.
Epson interactive projector used on a table top for collaborative projects
Optoma UST interactive projector
Optoma’s 320 range projectors
(available in XGA, WXGA and 1080p
resolutions) have 10-point finger-touch
interactive technology which allows
several people to work simultaneously
on the screen without using a pen. It
is easy to draw and annotate on the
projected image, open Microsoft office
files or web browsers and interact with
the content without even touching a
computer. They have an intuitive fast
and simple set-up with virtually no
maintenance or calibration.
SONY interactive projectors 11
Interactive products
Video conferencing systems
AVer video conferencing systems shown here viewed on an interactive whiteboard
Share work on your interactive whiteboard with remote
colleagues or students through video conferencing systems...
In education and training,
you can share learning using
video conferencing technology.
This is low cost and an easy
way to collaborate over any
distance in the neighbouring
classroom or schools, college
or university. In business you
can save thousands of pounds
on transportation and hotel
accommodation by using video
conferencing to hold meetings
with remote colleagues.
one place to another, for example,
from your boardroom to your client’s
boardroom, or classroom in the UK to
a classroom in Spain. A multi-point
system lets you communicate via
video conferencing with more than one
location at the same time, for example,
a 4-site video conferencing system.
An issue some schools experience
is when only a handful of students
choose to do particular subjects, for
example, A-Level French. When this
An interactive whiteboard is a valuable
complementary tool that you can use
with video conferencing systems.
A video conferencing system can be
an all-in-one easy to use system, such
as AVer EVC150, which comprises
a codec (to make the connection), a
HD camera, microphone, IR remote,
power and cables. A point to point
system means you communicate from
happens a school cannot justify hiring
a teacher especially for this purpose.
Rather than cutting off access
altogether, and disappointing these
students, lessons can still be delivered
by having one teacher teaching small
groups of students in 2, 3 or more
other schools, the same subject via
video conferencing systems.
Video conferencing is also ideal for
local authorities to use for inset training
days as it ensures teachers in local
schools have the opportunity to
keep up-to-date with the latest
teaching practices at the time
without them having to travel.
The AVer portable all-in-one
conference camera is ideal
for small workgroups and
is versatile with Near-Field
Communication (NFC) and
Bluetooth connectivity and is
compatible with Skype, Skype
for Business, Google Hangouts,
Webex, Vidyo, etc.
AVer VC320 portable all-in-one conference camera
A document camera (also referred to
as a visualiser or digital presenter) is
a special video camera designed to
display documents and 3-D objects
onto an interactive whiteboard or
monitor. It is called a ‘document
camera’ as you can place documents
such as A4 printed handouts, papers,
magazines or maps underneath them,
so that they are displayed on screen.
Document cameras can also display
small objects such as insects, flowers,
leaves, coins and watches.
A document camera can either
be connected to a projector and
viewed on a projection screen or be
connected direct to an LCD monitor
or interactive whiteboard. When you
connect your PC or laptop to the
document camera, images can be
saved for editing, emailing, importing
into PowerPoint presentations, etc.
Microscope attachments are also
available with some document
cameras so that you can display
microscope slides on screen.
Document cameras are available with
gooseneck arm or folding arm, flatbed
models or ceiling mounted.
A document camera is a powerful tool
for many applications, here are some
• Courtroom jury can observe pieces
of evidence in detail without handling
the actual evidence.
• In the science lab, a teacher can
face the students while explaining
a point with an example, such as
showing an insect or plant.
• Conference centres can connect a
document camera to a large screen
display to present any written material
or graphics clearly to the delegates.
• Ceiling mounted visualisers for
use in hospital theatres. medical
training and for product or cookery
In the business world, images can be
fed from a document camera into a
teleconferencing system. This could
be useful for companies that have, for
instance, a prototype of a product,
who wish to point out the benefits with
colleagues over the video conferencing
system or Internet, so that documents
and 3-D images can be viewed and
Lumens conference room cameras
Video cameras, such as Lumens
VC-A70H, with wide pan, tilt and
zoom, allow multiple user defined
preset modes for use in a variety of
applications including lecture capture,
video conferencing and broadcasting
Unlike a video conferencing system
which includes microphone, camera
and codec, a video camera (also
referred to as a conference camera),
is usually wall or ceiling mounted and
connects to your computer and display
screen or interactive whiteboard. Most
video camera models are compatible
with major video conferencing and
lecture capture codec.
Lumens conference camera
Lumens VC-A70H 4K video camera
Lumens document camera
AVer document camera
Lumens VC-A60S video camera 13
LCD touch screens
Interactive flat panels
interactive display
Where you have been using interactive whiteboards for
several years, the ceiling or wall mounted projectors may
be nearing the end of their useful life. So do you replace
them, or choose a whiteboard projector system, or opt
for interactive projectors or select from the many LCD
interactive flat panels (touch screens) available...
With so many choices, it
can be difficult to decide.
Students and business
colleagues have smart
phones with touch screens
and are used to using touch
to make phone calls, surf
the web, access files and
even playing games...
Interactive touch screen tablets are
really just a larger version of the
screens used on smart phones.
Large format displays (LFD) with
interactive touch (touchscreens) are
larger versions of phone and tablet
screens, and therefore, students and
business colleagues alike feel quite at
home using this technology.
LED touch screens are LCD touch
screens that have LED back-lights
and in addition to having lower power
consumption and thus saving energy,
their build is of a slim design.
Many display manufacturers offer
touch screens (also referred to as
interactive flat panels) in their range.
The advantage of using LCD
interactive touch screens is that
no shadow occurs and there is no
on-going cost in replacing projector
bulbs. As the majority of LCD touch
screens offer Full HD (high definition)
then images are clear and bright. Ultra
HD (4K) have 4 times the resolution of
Full HD, thereby giving more detail on
Some touch screen displays come
with interactive whiteboard software
tailored for the education market, and
you may also have better warranties
such as 3 year onsite warranties for
These touch screens are available
in sizes from 15” diagonal up to 84”
diagonal (at time of writing). Image
size with a projector and interactive
whiteboard could be up to 98”
diagonal (depending on the size of the
whiteboard), or up to 300” when using
a projector and projection screen.
With the introduction of LED/laser
hybrid projector lamps and laser
projector lamps, some makes
and models of projectors need no
replacement lamps and have a life of
up to around 20,000 hours. Again,
depending on manufacturer and
models, there are LCD touch screens
that are designed for 16/7 and 24/7
use. These are ideal in public places
such as airports and large 24 hour
retail stores and restaurants for way
finding and customer interaction, for
example, ordering a catalogue or
selecting menus before moving to the
counter to collect an order.
ViewSonic® ViewBoards with models 55” to 84” diagonal,
some models for 16/7 usage and optional PCs for signage
Collaborative learning and team-based
working are new ‘buzz-words’. With
multi-touch (more than 3 people using
the touch screen simultaneously), this
encourages collaboration.
Unlike interactive whiteboard, which
all include software designed for either
education or business applications,
interactive flat panels do not always
include software. Some manufacturers
such as Promethean and SMART
both include software with both their
interactive whiteboards and interactive
flat panels. Manufacturers such as
BenQ offer educational warranties with
their interactive flat panels.
Some models of interactive flat panels
have whiteboard functionality and
software, for example, InFocus jtouch
Whiteboard, with BigNote software,
has built-in whiteboard with multiple
colours, shapes and images that
allows you to save your whiteboards
as image files. You can install your
display in landscape or portrait mode.
Other displays offering interactive flat
panels (touch screens) with whiteboard
functionality or software are Samsung
E-Board, ViewSonic ViewBoard,
Clevertouch Plus LED.
Speakers are not standard with flat
panel interactive displays, and may
be offered as accessories. Soundbars
that attach to the front of displays
are becoming more popular. There
are display models for 16/7 and 24/7
usage. Some displays such as InFocus
Mondopad come with an HD cameras
for higher education and corporate
video conferencing applications.
SMART Board® interactive flat panels with
SMART Learning Suite or Meeting Pro software
InFocus jtouch Whiteboard 15
Touch screens
Touch screens
with gloves on, then you will find
that it doesn’t work (unless you buy
special touch screen gloves). This is
because your finger is insulated within
the glove. This is the main draw back
of capacitive technology. You have
to either use a body part, or a special
stylus (that conducts electric) to use
it. You will also find that if it is raining
and you try to use your smartphone
that you have trouble if the screen
gets rain drops on or your fingers
are wet. This is because liquids and
moisture interferes with the capacitive
technology. That said, your phone will
be very sensitive and responsive and
allows you to use multi-touch gestures
(using more than one finger at a time)
to control the phone with ease.
There are basically two types of
capacitive technology - projected
capacitive sometimes known as PCAP,
and surface capacitive. The latter
tend to be used in large touch screen
panels, whilst projected capacitive is
often used in smaller screen sizes.
The iPhone® and iPad®, for example,
use projected capacitive technology.
touch screen
In this article we look at the
uses of touch screens and
also the different technologies
available to make touch
screens “touchable”.
From the first version of Windows and
with Apple computers, a mouse has
been used to control the mouse cursor
on the computer’s screen. Then touch
screen monitors became available,
which then allowed the mouse cursor
to be controlled by touching the
screen with either a finger or stylus
instead. Programmers could then
create programs/applications with
large buttons on screen and hide the
mouse cursor altogether when using
their programs, if necessary. Then
we got multi-touch, which allows
additional control by allowing more
than one finger to control the screen at
the same time. Movements such as
pinching the index finger and thumb
on the screen allowed the resizing of
pictures, etc.
Touch screen technologies
This is primarily a guide to touch
screen monitors to be attached to a
PC and other computers.
The majority of us with mobile phones
have moved to smartphones with
Android or the iPhone®. These also
have a touch screen interface, without
any sign of a mouse cursor in sight.
There are many different technologies
that are used to make screens into
touch screens. We are assuming that
many you reading this has a smart
phone, so let us start by looking at
the technology used in many phones
which then gives us a yard stick for
comparing the other technologies.
Capacitive technology
The majority of smart phones use
a capacitive technology. What this
means is that the screen has a small
electric current over the surface and
when you touch it with your finger
a circuit is created as your finger
conducts electric currents. If you have
ever tried to use your smart phone
OK, so hopefully you now (if you
have a smartphone) have a grasp of
capacitive technology. The next major
technology, that has been around for a
long time, is resistive technology.
Resistive Technology
Resistive touch screens are made by
having a hard but slightly flexible top
layer, then a small gap and another
layer underneath. When the flexible
layer is touched, it presses through
to the layer underneath so that the
touch screen knows where the screen
was pressed. The great thing about
Projected capacitive
(PCT or P-CAP)
this is that you don’t need a finger
like in the capacitive technology. You
can use practically anything to touch
the screen including gloved hands
or any kind of stylus. This is single
touch technology. On the downside,
since you are continually flexing the
front layer when touching it, then the
lifespan, i.e. the amount of times it can
be touched, is a lot lower as effectively
you have a moving part. The capacitive
technology is a lot longer lasting in that
Infrared (IR) Technology
Many of the first interactive
whiteboards on the market used ether
electromagnetic (pen) or resistive
(touch) technology. Infrared uses the
same technology as in your infrared
TV remote control at home to create
a curtain of light across the board’s
surface. You can use either a finger or
a stylus to operate the board and the
surface of the board can be replaced
if damaged, unlike resistive, which if
damaged is unusable.
Optical Touch Technology
Optical touch (or optical sensing)
technology has cameras in the
corner of the screen and a reflective
strip, so that it knows when you are
touching the screen. Some screens
have two cameras and others have
four cameras, one in each corner.
The bezel (surround) on optical
sensing touch screens is a little bigger
to incorporate the cameras. One
advantage of optically sensed touch
systems is that it can function with
light scratches and surface wear,
as can projected capacitive. Touch
is activated by bare fingers, gloved
fingers or a stylus.
Optical sensing technology is ideal
when handwriting annotation is
required. In the training room, an
optical sensing technology LCD touch
screen can also be used in the same
way as an interactive whiteboard.
Obviously, you would need touch
screen software.
In hospitals where regular cleaning
takes place, care is needed with the
cleansing of optical touchscreens as
the cameras in the corners tend to
collect dust.
Some universities and science
museums have installed “graffiti
walls”. These are basically large touch
screens that people scribble on by
controlling applications like Windows
Paint with their fingers to draw on.
Now the technology used by the touch
screen does make a big difference
here. Drawing a line with your finger on
any capacitive screen is fine, however
if you try to annotate this gives you a
jerky line. Optical sensing would be a
better choice, especially as sizes are
currently available up to 82” diagonal.
You would also need an annotation
package such as Windows Paint or a
bespoke annotation package.
Infrared Acrylic Projection
Infrared acrylic projection also uses
cameras to detect the positions of
touches on the screen. This is a
multi-touch technology and is used
in Microsoft PixelSense (Microsoft
Surface) and allows multiple users to
use a screen at the same time.
Dispersive Signal
Dispersive Signal Technology (DST)
from 3M™, radiates bending waves
to Piezoelectric receptors around
the edge of the screen. It is mainly
used for annotation applications and
tabletop touch screens. You can put
your hand on the table touch screen
and it recognises that and would
not act as a mouse until you tapped
the touchscreen. The disadvantage of
bending wave is that it is not suitable
for drag and drop routines and external
vibration will interfere with the touch
operation. These are not affected by
dust or scratches on the surface of
the screen and allow any object to be
used to touch the screen including a
stylus. Table touch screens are used in
primary and early learning centres where
several children can touch and move
digital objects around, whilst in bars and
restaurants table touch screens can be
used to display menus and drinks for
customers to place orders by swiping
across the table.
Single, dual and multi-touch
A single-touch screen is one that will
only detect a single position being
touched at one time. If you touch this
type of screen with more than one finger
then it will get confused. With Windows
based computers this allows the control
of the mouse cursor, and the mouse
cursor will follow your finger around
the screen. You can use some touch
gestures such as tap (tap the screen
once with your finger to perform a single
mouse click) or double tap (where you
tap the screen twice in one location to
simulate a double mouse click).
Dual-touch is where a touch screen will
allow two (but no more) positions on
screen to be touched at once. If you
think about using a Windows based
notebook computer (before the latest
versions) then when you used a touch
pad on a laptop computer it just controls
the cursor’s position on screen. This is a
good example of dual touch as most of
these will allow dual touch gestures. For
example, the pinch gesture where the
thumb and the index finger are placed
on the screen at the same time and then
‘pinched’ together. This also allows the
zooming out when viewing something
like a website page.
touch (SCT)
Optical sensing
Infrared (IR)
Images courtesy of 3M and Mentor Distribution 17
Touch screens
Multi-touch is where you can use 3 or
more fingers at a time. For example
the three-finger drag is where you
touch the top of the screen or a touch
pad with your 3 middle fingers (slightly
spread) and then drag these around
the screen and the selected object will
be moved with it.
The standard interactive whiteboards
use a projector to shine the image on
the screen.
Touch screens, also referred to as
Interactive Flat Panels (IFP) may have
6 point, 10 point, 20 point touch or
more. This allows a number of touches
simultaneously, for example, three
people dragging information with the
index finger of each hand would need
at least a 6 point touch display screen.
Short throw and ultra short throw
projectors solve the problem of light
shining in your eyes and you can
purchase an interactive whiteboard
with short throw or ultra short
throw projector on a fixed or height
adjustable stand. Projectors also use
expensive projector lamps that will
require changing every few thousand
hours of use. However, there are
laser light source projectors on the
market, ideal for higher education
and corporate, which require no
replacement bulbs, have a life of up
to 20,000 hours and almost zero
Touch screens with
interactive whiteboard
Large format LCD / LED Interactive
flat panels are available with touch,
pen, eraser and pen annotation
software, for example, InFocus jTouch
Whiteboard, which has interactive
whiteboard software.
Interactive whiteboard (IWB) software
allows you to use the touch screen
in the same way as teachers do
with interactive whiteboards in the
classroom. It allows you to write over
the top of information displayed on
screen and then save your annotations
to a picture file on disk which can then
either be printed or emailed. This is a
good tool for brainstorming sessions
and meetings.
Manufacturers who have interactive flat
panels with whiteboard functionality
in their range include InFocus jTouch
Whiteboard, Sharp’s BIG PAD,
Samsung E-Board and ViewSonic’s
ViewBoard. These interactive flat
panel displays with interactive
whiteboard functionality allow you to
draw, take notes and save your work,
ideal for both education and corporate.
Interactive flat panel displays can be
a good choice for schools rather than
going for the traditional whiteboards.
BenQ interactive flat panel
If a teacher or child using the
whiteboard turns around, they may
end up looking into the projector’s light
which can hurt their eyes.
The main thing to weigh up is the
cost of an interactive projector and
bracket compared to an interactive
whiteboard, projector and projector
bracket, both with on-going cost of
replacing projector bulbs, compared
to a large (60” diagonal or over)
interactive flat panel display with
interactive whiteboard functionality.
Other factors come into play, such as
ultra-short throw, room space, product
durability, quality of the interactive
software and budget. Don’t forget that
interactive whiteboards are just big
touch screens, even though you tend
to use touch or special pens and the
manufacturer’s interactive whiteboard
software. It’s the software that comes
with them that makes them useful for
class and meeting rooms.
downside to this is that because the
pens are electronic, they tended to be
expensive to replace and if you lose
the pens you can’t use the whiteboard.
The plus side is that you can replace
the surface if it gets damaged as the
electronics are in the pen and the
whiteboard’s surround.
Interactive whiteboards tend nowadays
to use Infrared or Optical Sensing
technology. With whiteboards, the
quality of the software that is shipped
with them makes all the difference,
rather than the actual technology used.
You may find that a particular hospital,
university or business has all one make
of interactive whiteboards so that
you only need to learn one piece of
whiteboard software. ‘Open platform’
lets you run many other third party
software programmes.
Any other touch solutions?
Portable devices such as eBeam
and mimio turn dry-wipe boards
into interactive whiteboards. Some
manufacturers have interactive
projectors in their range, so you
can project large images onto most
surfaces such as plain white walls.
Touch screens in reception
Let’s imagine that you decide it is a
good idea to have a touch screen
on the wall in your reception area to
promote your products or services.
Earlier models of interactive
whiteboards used either resistive or
electromagnetic technology. The latter
used special pens to transmit a signal
to the receiver in the whiteboard. The
Your IT manager (or outsourced
IT company) may create the
software, which can be made with
Microsoft PowerPoint®. PowerPoint
presentations can be created with
buttons (so that someone using a
touch screen can easily press them
with their finger) that allow the user to
navigate between different PowerPoint
slides. You can use videos, PDF’s,
pictures, etc., in PowerPoint slides, to
create a good information system quite
Clevertouch Plus LED
Philips Multi-touch monitors
Interactive whiteboards
The IT manager could look at other
commercial touch screen software or
by programming it with software such
as Microsoft Visual Basic, but this may
be quite costly either in terms of the
cost of software or the time it takes to
write a program.
Next, a computer base unit is needed
to play the touch screen presentation,
which could be an old model laying
around (it would need Windows®
operating system) or you could use a
digital signage player.
Some signage players have Windows
Embedded software, which is a
cut-down version of a full Windows®
operating system and is normally
found in small mobile devices such as
signage players. Windows Embedded
Pro 8.1, for example, is designed
specifically for building automated
solutions and embedded devices,
such as kiosks, medical devices and
digital signage solutions.
Then the touchscreen itself is needed.
This will look like any other LCD
monitor but will also have a mouse
cable that goes back to the computer
base unit. This cable sends back
where the user has touched on the
screen, so that the computer knows
where the mouse cursor should be.
You can now start searching the
Internet looking at different touch
screens which will usually range in size
from 15” to 98” diagonal. A good 17”
on the reception desk may do the job
costing from £260+VAT. Whilst a 42”
touch screen used for way finding in
a large reception area will cost from
£930+VAT upwards.
The size of the screen is really going to
be determined by your budget. So you
narrow it down to the size and screens
you can afford. Then you come to the
choice of different technologies.
Sharp BIG PAD interactive display
Which technology do I
choose for the reception
area touch screen?
In this example, as your visitors using it
will be in a nice warm reception waiting
area and using their fingers, then it
really doesn’t matter. Go for one within
your budget, as large as you can
afford and with the best warranty. Look
for a warranty with 3 years (or better)
and with the highest number of pixels
in your price range.
The other thing to watch out for is the
cable type. We mentioned that you
need a “mouse cable” going back to
the computer. You need to make sure
the touch screen uses USB, which
will work with all your computers,
unless you specifically need serial and
understand the difference.
Keep in mind that touch screens
are not vandal proof and should be
installed in areas that are monitored.
By monitored, we mean areas where
there are usually members of staff,
such as in a reception area.
Some touch screens have reinforced
glass and although the glass is vandal
resistant the actual product isn’t. Even
the touch screen kiosks you may
have seen in shopping centres are not
completely vandal proof. Here too, a
shopping centre is a monitored area,
often with security guards and CCTV.
You can buy protective overlays but
these do not work with touch screens.
There are LCD touch screen kiosks
sealed for weather resistance with
protective glass to deter vandalism,
ideal for unsupervised public areas.
What if I want a video wall
of touch screens?
Video walls are made of multiple
screens either close together such as
a 2x2 video wall which has 4 screens
Elo Touch interactive display
(or a matrix of various size screens).
The computer or video image is then
spread across all of the screens. The
downside is that there is a small gap
between screens. When you watch
the news on a TV channel, you often
see presenters standing in front of a
giant screen, but when you look at the
screen you can see lines which are the
gaps between the screens that make
up the video wall. The size of the bezel
(surround) determines how big a gap
you get between the screens. Some
manufacturers have LCD screens which
are almost seamless (bezel-less).
I need to wear surgical or
disposable gloves
If you are installing touch screens
in areas such as a biology lab in a
university teaching hospital, then you
would need to choose the technology
carefully. Using a touchscreen to
control a computer, instead of using a
keyboard and mouse, in areas where
medical style gloves are needed, then
out goes surface capacitive technology
as gloves will not give the conduction
that they need. In this situation, you are
left with Resistive, Projected Capacitive
or Optical Sensing Technology. Optical
Touch and Projected Capacitive are
normally in screen sizes 32” to 98”.
Surface Capacitive touch technology
allows only single touch and is used on
small screens up to 32” diagonal.
Surface Capacitive touch technology
has been around for a long time
and is mainly used for public access
applications and contaminant prone
environments. This is because it is
largely unaffected by contaminants
such as grease, dirt and water. Whilst
this is good in biology labs or medical
teaching hospitals, the disadvantage is
it supports only finger touch (no gloves)
or a tethered pen and a severe scratch
can affect operation in the damaged
InFocus jtouch Whiteboard 19
Mounts and trolley solutions
Mounting solutions
Whiteboard trolleys and lifts
Loxit whiteboard wall to floor lift
Loxit whiteboard wall lift
Loxit Dipper fixed height
whiteboard trolley
Fully adjustable whiteboard trolleys,
wall lifts and floor to wall lifts are
available to hold projectors and
whiteboards during your presentations.
Whiteboard wall lifts and floor to
wall lifts are ideal where you want a
permanent installation, yet still need
height adjustable.
Loxit whiteboard lifts are designed
for a whiteboard and projector up to
1500mm throw with either 500mm or
750mm of travel, depending on model,
and a universal projector mount.
Loxit trolley based lift
People with disabilities and special
needs may find using projectors with
interactive whiteboards and other
equipment difficult to use. The height
adjustable trolleys and lifts are ideal as
these can be adjusted either manually
or electronically (depending on make
and model) to suit individual needs.
Obviously, mobile trolleys are useful
for sharing equipment as they can be
used room to room, and/or stored
away in a lockable location when not
in use.
The Loxit Dipper is fixed height, yet its
base is designed to allow wheelchair
users close access to the whiteboard.
This mobile set-up can be transported
around a building and the maximum
height of a board is 1800mm to enable
the Dipper trolley to pass through
standard UK door height of 1950mm.
Loxit fixed and mobile stands for
42” SMART kapp board (portrait)
and 84” SMART kapp board
Flat panel mounts and trolleys
Peerless SR598
flat panel trolley
for 55” to 98”
MediaMast Trolley
Peerless SmartMount®
universal flat wall mount
Unicol Rhobus Powa-Lift RHPL100HD
trolley for screens 71-98” diagonal
Unicol single
ceiling mount kit
Unicol Powa-Lift AVMT71 trolley
for screens 33-70” and heavy duty
version AVMT91 for screens 71-98”
Unicol dual
ceiling mount kit
AV storage
TOP-TEC multi-media trolley
TOP-TEC TabStore trolley, TabStore
Charge and TabStore Charge & Sync 21
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