Display technology has evolved from the early days where the only display you encountered was a TV, the monitor on your desktop computer or at the cinema, to something that is an integrated part of our daily lives. Displays literally surround us, but few of us reflect on their prevalence. Your car, fridge and coffee machine are most likely equipped with a display in addition to the classics: TV, mobile, laptop and projectors.
In this article we will look at trends for display technology in a number of industries: media and entertainment, automotive, surveillance and security, scientific research and visualization and mobile devices. Plus a skewed look into the digital cinema realm.
- Display trends in the media and entertainment industry
- Display trends in surveillance and security
- Display trends in automotive
- Display trends in scientific research and visualization
- Display trends in mobile devices
- Are we racing for resolution or quality
- Before we leave…
Display trends in the media and entertainment industry
There is a global desire to enjoy, learn and be entertained. And while the use of digital displays has long been a trend in the entertainment industry, the era of more personalized and in-person experiences is upon us.
Exhibition centers, theme parks, sporting arenas, museums, cinema lobbies are swamped with digital signage. Until recently, the focus has been on a combination of wowing the audience while still being informational – and of course highly commercial. We are now entering a phase where personalization (and even facial recognition, say goodbye to privacy!), aided by touchless technology, bluetooth, RF and other wireless solutions will help customize a person’s display experience in the entertainment industry.
display trends in surveillance and security
Surveillance cameras has always thrived in a space between utility and privacy. Cameras have progressed from being grayscale, low-resolution with a frame-by-frame speed that would make a tortoise look amazing, to today's top-notch systems where you can see details in high quality footage.
While facial recognition has been and still is a hot topic, it has been paired with heavy computing power and big data sources. However, systems has also analyzed how people move and even use that as an identification tool.
Control rooms and security systems benefit from larger and better screens and interactivity. But a trend that seem to be rather mindboggling and on the rise, is neither display or camera-driven. Here we encounter biometric systems using lasers not only for identification of facial features, but also your entire cardiovascular system. If we search for a positive application: Biometrics can be used in hospitals to identify unconscious patients and even warn about allergies.
display trends in automotive
Your mobile phone is basically an incredibly powerful computer that you can also use for calls. But your car is not a display that also has four wheels. Yet. A few years ago the term CASE (Connectivity, Autonomous, Sharing/Subscription, and Electrification) emerged and this is, of course, still very much valid in the automotive industry.
All electromechanical switches and controls have been replaced by touchscreen displays in high-end cars, from adjusting the air conditioning to adjusting the external mirrors. Regarding mirrors, the future car will most likely not have an external rear-view mirror – there will be cameras and displays instead. This will serve two purposes, first and most importantly the viewing angle will be better but there will also be fuel savings. Not so applicable to smaller cars, but for trucks and buses this can be substantial.
The choice of display technology for most of these installations and use cases has been LCD, but it seems that OLED and AMOLED is the tech of choice moving forward.
display trends in Scientific research and visualization
The hottest display technology trends within the scientific research and visualization communities are immersive installations, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and XR (Extended Reality) allowing you to blend virtual and physical worlds together using AR and MR in live environments to create fully immersive experiences.
Holograms have not been forgotten, but do not occupy a large sector in the market. However, with the introduction of interactive holograms, there are new applications and emerging interest in the technology. Traditional 3D is still part of the tool-box, with use cases for large-scale visualization and caves, for example.
There is also a growing set of solutions to experience the metaverse. The “metaverse" is often refered to as a fully immersive internet, where we access and experience augmented and virtual reality, interacting with virtual worlds (or digital twins of real cities, buildings, etc) via avatars and cutting-edge digital technologies.
Stay tuned for more on the metaverse.
“The global xR market was valued at $31 billion in 2021 with expectations to grow to $300 billion by 2024.” Statista, 2022
display trends in mobile devices
Is the foldable display the mobile phone's best invention or is it a painful fad? I expect that you have seen Samsung Galaxy Z Fold (or Flip)? It is a device that operates like a phone when folded and expands into a mini-tablet when you unfold it.
I had the rather unpleasant experience of trying the first version of Fold for a while, and I admittedly hated it. Passionately. It did not help that I was coming from an Apple universe.
But Samsung steadfastly kept evolving the range and it's now at version 4. Version 3 was rather fantastic, and 4 looks even better.
And just behind Samsung, there are companies like Microsoft, Huawei, Oppo and countless others. App development for foldable devices is also increasing due to more companies adopting the foldable technology, making them more effective and user-friendly.
Another trend that is still strong is the bezel-free phone designs, where the entire surface works as a screen. This is a trend that has been growing since its inception back in 2016-17. Apple has been making their workaround for the camera calling it Dynamic Island.
Are we racing for resolution or quality?
What? Yes. No. We are racing for flawless interactivity, immersive systems, more and more wow, and personalization. As display technology evolves fast along with edge computing, extreme computing powers and IoT, we are facing new challenges and new use cases regularly. But the most hyped technology today is the metaverse and how it can be used from entertainment to research.
Before we leave…
I mentioned 3D earlier regarding visualization, but will Avatar: The Way of Water, scheduled to be released on December 16, 2022 revive 3D from its deathbed in commercial cinemas? The original Avatar 2009 movie brought 3D to the masses. The success of the film also made the electronics manufacturers crazy, releasing 3D televisions that nobody really wanted, and causing 3D films to increase in popularity. For a while.
Avatar: The Way of Water is distributed by 20th Century Studios and, yes, it will be released in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D formats in addition to Dolby Cinema and standard IMAX.
Food for thought. Or not.