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Why Sharp Advanced Multi-Board Offers Better Collaboration

Working together to share big data and big ideas, whether in the office, the classroom or the control room, is nothing new. However, the technology available to make sharing easier, is a quickly growing and evolving market and one where interactive touch displays play an increasingly-important role.

That's why Sharp developed the concept of Multi-Board. By simply linking up to three Sharp BIG PAD Pro PN80TC3 displays together you can deliver an interactive surface with an equivalent size of 540cm (212 inches) – about the same as 10 flipcharts in a row – with a resolution of up to 5760 x 1080 pixels.

Sharp’s Multi-Board initially launched back in September 2015 with the arrival of the Sharp BIG PAD Pro PN80TC3 but was restricted to single-user interactions. Since then Sharp has worked on developing Advanced Multi-Board, a new set of drivers to support the smooth and highly responsive P-CAP display technology for multiple users.

With Advanced Multi-Board you can have up to six people drawing, writing and using all different portions of the BIG PAD Pro screens, all at the same time, without interfering with what each person is doing.

The BIG PAD Pro Advanced Multi-Board setup uses Sharp's own UV2A LCD technology for better visual clarity. What's more, the Sharp Pen Software for intuitive writing, drawing and annotation has been enhanced, allowing for greater multi-user, multi-touch, multi-display functionality. We’re also continuing to develop compatibility with commercial applications to make sure that BIG PAD Multi-Board supports the same functionality as using a single display.

If you already own and regularly use the Sharp BIG PAD Pro PN80TC3 in Multi-Board configuration, you'll find that Advanced Multi-Board is readily backwards compatible with your current setup. All you will need to do is install and update your setup with the new Advanced Multi-Board drivers, as well as look to update Sharp Pen and Viewer software, to have the most up-to-date experience.

Advanced Multi-Board is unique to Sharp

Advanced Multi-Board is a technology unique to Sharp and we believe it’s currently the best solution for creating an extra-large touch service. Over the last couple of years, we've seen large interactive walls that put two or three projectors side-by-side and use edge-blending techniques to create a large image area, with which you can then interact using infrared or optical touch-sensors. We believe these solutions have either been too expensive or technically too complex for mass adoption.

Advanced Multi-Board succeeds not only in being more cost-effective but, more importantly, from an IT point-of-view is undemanding and easier to configure and setup. This is due to Advanced Multi-Board being essentially an off-the-shelf product that can be used straight from the box.

Interacting with a BIG PAD Pro setup using Advanced Multi-Board is a combination of making the most of the technology and optimising the physical space on offer. Our tests indicate that up to six people working together at one time is perhaps the optimum number. We're finding that six independent touches can be tracked consistently at any one time and that physically two people per display makes for a great way to interact and collaborate without feeling cramped or crowded out. However, we’re continuing to develop support for up to 10 users, to allow teams to find their best way of working.

Who is Advanced Multi-Board aimed at?

Sharp is a world-leader in touch display technology and we've seen the demand for touch displays of all sizes explode in recent years, now moving into larger high-end devices such as BIG PAD Pro using the Advanced Multi-Board driver.

For example, when it comes to brainstorming, collaborating and sharing ideas, it's been shown that bigger is always better and that's something that Advanced Multi-Board really allows you to make the most of. So, we can easily see it working in creative environments, anywhere that needs to show information and share it all at the same time.

Where we see interest and demand right now is in the corporate boardroom. This is where large amounts of data are being examined, worked on and shared. So, you need to have a large desktop surface just to show the data and then the touch of BIG PAD Pro with the Advanced Multi-Board driver allows you to work with others on one screen to analyse the data.

Another area where we see real need right now is in Command and Control environments, such as blue light or mission critical services. This is because you have a display and need to review a large amount of information in real-time. In this scenario, you need your enhanced Windows desktop just to get all that data and information simultaneously on the screen. Again, the interactivity allows you to analyse and work with that data to get the best out of it to make your decisions.

A third area where we see Advanced Multi-Board working in is education. Maybe not primary or secondary school, but certainly in higher education and universities for lectures. Traditionally, boards have been quite long for lecturers to use and by linking three BIG PAD pros together lecturers can create an interactive surface where you can really let rip with all the information, data and calculations that you may well typically get in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) higher education setting.

It doesn't end there, as by bringing a very easy-to-use solution to market we have a feeling that other new user experiences and requirements will emerge and become apparent. It might even surprise us. One of our most interesting BIG PAD partnerships is with the football software company Globall Coach, we hadn’t considered tactical soccer animation when we developed BIG PAD, but BIG PAD is the perfect display for this type of application.

If you would like to find out more about how Sharp’s BIG PAD Pro can make your business more collaborative, discover the full Advanced Multi-Board offering here. If you would like to arrange a demonstration to see how Sharp Advanced Multi-Board can help your business, please Get In Touch.


European PR Manager