Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Visual Trends to Watch in the Era of the ‘Digital Hub’

By Jeff Volpe

Every space can be a digital space. The pandemic and the critical need to work, learn and play from home forced this realization as the shift to anywhere operations accelerated – a shift that was already taking hold thanks to the rise of cloud, mobile and advanced digital connectivity. Today, most of our interactions are digital and home has emerged as the ultimate digital hub. It’s where we share, create and consume content – all through a digital lens. 

This pattern will only continue now that the world’s largest remote-work experiment has proven that, with the right collaboration tools, individuals and entire workforces can be productive whether offsite, on-the-go or in the office. In fact, research suggests that this new, fluid, work-from-anywhere model is here to stay. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2023, 40% of organizations will move to blending virtual and physical experiences to increase productivity and expand customer reach.  

The home has become the hub for all aspects of our digital lives, with visual displays serving as critical windows for connecting, collaborating, creating and sharing content. From multipurpose desktop monitors, to portable monitors for on-the-go productivity, to large format interactive displays for virtual conferencing, teaching and presentations, visual displays have never been more essential.

Here are some of the top visual trends to watch in 2022.

1. The rise of the multi-functional home hub for creating vibrant work, school and entertainment experiences  

People have gone from operating on one single device to multiple, interconnected devices. Portable and secondary screens that supplement a laptop or PC have become synonymous with anywhere productivity. At the same time, there have never been more visual display options to suit every conceivable work, e-learning and entertainment application. The starting point to choosing the right monitor is to be clear about what you want to do and how you plan to use the monitor. 

For example, are you primarily creating and reviewing documents? Spreadsheets? Do you flip constantly from one document or app to another, or work on two documents simultaneously? Are you doing creative work that requires color accuracy, or video work that requires high refresh and response rates? Will you be collaborating with colleagues using video conferences and interactive whiteboarding applications? Do you keep work and down time separate or would you like to be able to use your display(s) to watch videos or wage battle royalegames in your downtime? What devices will your monitor need to be able to connect to? 

While there is no one-size fits all visual solution for every application, the right visual display is now within reach for everyone. 

Must-Haves for Building an Effective, Multi-Purpose Digital Home Hub:• USB-C for seamless all-in-one connectivity

More and more, computer and electronics manufacturers are building USB-C connector technology into their products. It’s easy to understand why. USB-C is able to transmit audio and video, provide high-speed two-way data transfer, and deliver power across a single cable. As a result, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other connected devices can be charged directly from the display, maximizing versatility and mobility.

• Ergonomic options

Consumer research firm Comparitech reports the average American spends more than seven hours a day in front of a screen. We’ve all seen pictures of people stacking boxes or books underneath a monitor to get it to an appropriate height. It’s not effective or elegant, plus it can cause injuries. In fact, dysfunctional office design accounts for nearly one-third of all work absences. A comfortable ergonomic work space will help improve productivity, comfort and ensure you maintain a healthy position. For example, an ergonomic monitor that allows you to adjust height, pivot, tilt, swivel, flip to a 90-degree position or otherwise adapt to the type of work you are doing can help reduce fatigue and injury. Monitors with flicker-free technology or integrated blue light filter technology help protect your eyes from the bright blue light waves radiating from conventional screens. 

• Collaboration tools

Today video conferencing is a mainstay of productive hybrid work and meetings. The latest enterprise and desktop monitors include video-conferencing features such as built-in webcams, microphones and speakers, and provide the ability to collaborate in a way that feels organic. Look for models that include integrated cameras that capture high-definition video and can be adjustable so you can find the perfect angle for any meeting. Integrated HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA ports are other features to look for, making it easy to connect wherever you are. 

2. The multiplicity of display options

There have never been more visual display options available. To maximize productivity, one of the choices people have to make is whether to use a dual monitor setup or a single ultrawide monitor. The answer: it depends on your needs and preferences. Dual monitors double your screen ‘real estate’ and allow for easy, fast multitasking (i.e., toggling between screens) boosting productivity. Alternatively, an ultrawide monitor works well for people who prefer a single view and find it easier to resize windows to accommodate split screens instead of using two monitors or flipping between a laptop screen and secondary monitor. As well, ultrawide monitors utilize a 21:9 aspect ratio as compared to the traditional monitor screen ratio of 16:9, creating a cinematic experience when viewing movies and gaming. For today’s multipurpose home hub, where monitors are used for work and play, this is a great option.

3. Enhanced interactivity for educators and students.

Digital learning is no longer the sole domain of the school – it can take place anywhere. But now that students are back in school, educators are more prepared than ever with EdTech tools that allow them to level-up the digital classroom for inclusive learning and improved outcomes. For example, interactive flat panel displays, portable monitors, cloud-based interactive whiteboards that can be accessed from a tablet or any device, and are being used to create student-led, individualized and active learning environments. This trend will continue as more digital tools are used, making e-learning from the classroom or home even more effective for digital collaboration. 

4. Immersive gaming experiences

The popularity of casual gaming and the rise of esports in recent months is undeniable. The numbers tell the story: Digital Video Games sales are on pace to hit US175.10B in 2022 and US$239.7B by 2026.  Esports and content creators generated more than US1B in 2021 and this year the growth trajectory is expected to continue to accelerate. Casual and professional gamers alike are turning to curved screens, ultrawide screens, and dual display setups with high resolution and fast refresh rates to create the immersive, high-performance experiencesthey are looking for. Beyond size and setup, to achieve next generation performance, gaming monitors should also be able to support the features of next-generation gaming consoles. Look for high resolution 4K monitors with hyper-responsive refresh rates, ultra-low response times, and HDMI 2.1 connectivity to provide rich colors and clarity, as well as lightning-fast action. 

5. Productivity on the go

Hybrid work has ushered in the era of anywhere operations. This means freeing people from work, learning and gaming from a static location, to allowing people to move anywhere with purpose. To enable optimum mobility, portable monitors are a great option for productivity on-the-go. Look for models that weigh less than 2lbs, feature built-in stands, are equipped with dual USB Type-C ports and are available with touchscreens for enhanced collaboration.

Regardless of the hybrid work, e-learning or home entertainment application, today many of interactions have shifted to digital. Choosing the right visual solution for your digital space has never been easier or more important to creating extraordinary views into your digital world.

Jeff Volpe is President, Americas for ViewSonic, a leading global provider of interactive and collaborative visual engagement solutions for enterprise, education, consumer and commercial markets. 


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