Touchez | NEC Screen Event 2016

This year’s NEC Screen Event was held in the Millbank Tower. It must be difficult trying to find a different space in London that is exciting to visit year upon year, we do not mean this in a negative way more as to the challenge to organise an event of this statue year upon year in an exciting environment. This was our fifth visit in a row, and the ones held in the o2 arena (2012) and the Velodrome (2014) were the most exciting ones to visit. The o2 because it was dark and the screens were king and the Velodrome due to its location and also due to the space to walk around.

Upon arrival visitors were encouraged to go into a small theatre to view a 3 minute movie which involved projection mapping, what was painstakingly obvious was the blending showed some horrible lines on the background, a little more thought regarding to that specific aspect for a better finish wouldn’t go amiss.

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Space-wise the Millbank Tower’s 28th and 29th floor at times felt cramped to walk through and actually view what was on offer from a comfortable distance, in most cases you would stand in the walkway trying to take a good look with people passing by. The increasing heat didn’t help either and the elevators resembled a sauna at some times.

The screens as usual LUSH, but our grievance was the content fatigue that has crept in. In the retail area one company showed the very same RFID application  they had shown the year before at Vinopolis’ NEC Screen event 2015.

Control rooms again just haven’t changed much, except the conflict scenario showing the world was about to engage in some heavy duty skirmishing (sadly confined to one single screen), let’s hope it doesn’t come to that fellas.

We would have loved to see some scenario involved with mapping and multitouch in conjunction with live data and the interaction with it. From a scenario p.o.v. it all felt rather meagre. Multitouch would speed reaction times and increase analytical progress as well.

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Multitouch technology itself  was on some tables and a wall or two. One table allowed sending the content to a 2×2 wall. Nifty but a cable does all the work and standard multitouch software packages already have this feature enabled. Bit more RFID/NFC interaction with mobile handsets taking brochures home would have livened it all up a tad more. The design of the tables itself….mwah.

Lunch consisted of a lunch box and this also meant that visitors wanted to sit down, and even though there were some seating areas it just wasn’t enough. Many stood at the bars to eat their lunch. The wraps were tasty though!

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The Baanto multitouch technology allowed for direct interaction without another layer of glass in front of it which ought to be a plus. While we gave it a try it worked ok, A positive was the fact that  that the wall was right next to a set of windows with plenty of daylight coming in and it did a decent job, not as responsive as in light controlled conditions but decent.. But from a UX p.o.v. one would have to ask whether working with content on a wall with thin bezels, which were not mounted flush is a more pleasant way to interact with, than on one solid piece of glass in front of it. Personally I’d stick with a glass front until this is fine tuned.

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Having panels not flush mounted is a big no, but what was more off putting was cable management, plenty of situations where cables were just dangling underneath screens. This sounds pedantic, but AV is where it ends and what is the point putting screens up that cost a fair bundle and then have the power lead not fastened behind the stand or screen and just hanging loose underneath.

We personally would like to see some more dare with content at the next event as we have “seen it all before” is becoming a fact . We are also well aware that this industry and its clients are conservative, but at the same time there is plenty of content about that could fill those screens and immerse the visitors a lot more.

See you next year!

 

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