The Visualist Blog

Displays are for Everyone – another milestone on the way to creating a global infrastructure of accessible displays

Today we announced the availability of Solstice Small Group Edition, the same wireless collaboration software but at a dramatically reduced price for settings when no more than four people will be sharing a display at the same time.  I think it’s an important milestone on the path to changing the way we interact with our displays.

In a society that is deploying millions of displays in our homes, public spaces and entertainment venues, it’s a shame how few of these displays are being used for collaboration and interactive education.  Today, the way that many flat panels are being used in classrooms isn’t much different from the projector or even from the old slide carousel.  The problem isn’t that schools don’t want to discover new ways to use displays, they certainly do – it’s more about the way displays are traditionally viewed as a one-way medium.

Next time you are in a conference room, a classroom, or even a hotel lobby, ask yourself how many displays there are that are being used to spray information at you – and how difficult it would be to actually use those screens for yourself. What if you could use your smartphone to stream video of your biology fieldwork onto the display in the classroom? What if you could gather a group of colleagues in a collaborative nook and begin sharing your documents to the screen for a collaborative meeting?  This is the vision of Solstice – it’s what drives our development team to create innovative wireless media sharing and collaboration software, and drives our resellers to find great customers who are adopting it in higher-education, corporate enterprises, and even hotels.  Today – we’ve furthered the vision of Solstice with the introduction of the  Small Group Edition – Solstice SGE.

Solstice SGE lowers the price-point for settings where no more than four users need to connect to the display at the same time. The lower price, with complete functionality, will increase adoption of Solstice and will make display accessibility commonplace. Users moving throughout a campus or enterprise will be able to expect the same user-experience regardless if they are collaborating around a screen in a library collaboration nook, or are taking part in a 50-person active learning environment. Students can participate in learning environments in ways that just weren’t possible before or were just too cost prohibitive to even contemplate.

This is really exciting to me, because for displays to become truly useful in a modern educational setting, they must become a more open and collaborative technology platform than they are today. Plugging your laptop into a video cable at a podium and running through a single set of PowerPoint slides for 50 minutes no longer makes sense. Instead, images, videos, websites and documents should be shared from anyone in the room under the direction of the educator.

With the new version of Solstice, I expect we’ll begin to see even K-12 classrooms take advantage of collaborative media sharing to unlock the pixels that they already own.  The new price point means that Solstice can transform how displays are being used in small group study rooms as much as it is already being used to transform larger classrooms.  Check out today’s press release announcing Solstice SGE. And if you haven’t seen Solstice yet, see how it works in this video. If you like what you see, request a free trial.

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