Next-generation screen technologies such as transparent displays, or those that render 3-D images without glasses, are becoming practical tools for small businesses. While they haven't caught on with consumers just yet, they can be used by businesses as interactive digital signage, an eye-catching presentation tool at a sales kiosk or simply as something compelling for your customers to watch while they're waiting in line.
To be sure, cutting-edge displays tend to be pricey -- as much as $10,000 or more for higher-end models. Sticker shock aside, considering that $400 can buy a high-quality traditional LCD TV, prices on these devices should drop quickly.
Here are three emerging display technologies to keep an eye on for your business:
Displays such as Samsung's just-announced, 46-inch LCD translucent panel display can display text, images or other content on an otherwise transparent glass pane, giving it a more organic look. The price has not yet been announced.
These transparent displays can be used as part of a storefront window or retail product showcases. And they can be programmed to show just about anything: advertising, prices, menus, kiosk presentations, store announcements and more.
Glasses-Free 3-D Displays
Get 3-D without the glasses with Sony's latest. The Japanese company unveiled a number of these displays this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. Philadelphia-based Stream TV Networks also showed off some of its glasses-free 3-D displays at CES. Prices have not been announced yet.
Glasses-free 3-D displays can be effective as point-of-sale tools on a floor or waiting area, providing customers with engaging interactive media in a checkout line, when waiting for orders or filling out forms.
Keep in mind that there are still limits to this technology. Viewers must stand in a specific spot relative to the display and can't move around much to get the 3-D effect. Small businesses should plan on working with an experienced professional display integrator to manage the deployment of these displays.
Not all next-generation displays are high-tech or cost thousands of dollars. A basic content-streaming device can help liven up retail space, draw in customers and offer basic information including promotions or Twitter handles.
Feedair, which is due to be released in March and cost about $50 for one-time fee, is a basic text-streaming screen that looks like a pocket-sized stock market ticker. It can attach to a cash register, cubicle or waiting room to wirelessly deliver reminders, messages, tweets or other text to customers.
How have you experimented with interactive displays for your business? Let us know in the comments section below.