[CONTENU PARTERAIRE] In 1991, SMART Technologies created the first SMART Boards (also called interactive screens). Very quickly, user practices change. SMART Technologies invents visual collaboration. These large solutions are aimed at the world of education and business. Explanations with Marc Geoffroy, Education Consultant for SMART Technologies.
Why are your interactive screens used?
We offer a business solution to connect and collaborate face-to-face and/or remotely. Indeed, we do not limit ourselves to a classroom or a meeting room. In person, users work directly from the surface of the interactive screen, instead of the traditional black or white board. They can then interact with different elements : data, documents, videos, images, PowerPoint files, augmented reality, even 3D documents (especially when it comes to architects).
Our tools are also designed to include people who work outside the office or school. Employees working from home thus contribute to the ideation process. They participate in the meeting or brainstorming session as if they were there. As for the students, they can answer the teacher’s questions remotelyor take part in quizzes. The activities possible with our interactive solutions are ideal for awakening the youngest!
What technologies are you implementing?
The components inside the interactive screens are able to detect a pen, the palm or the back of the hand, the finger… The transition from the traditional board to the digital board should be simple. To write on the interactive screen, just pick up a pen and start writing! Our solution is based on the expertise brought to both hardware and software. Our material is of a very high quality, capable of withstanding shocks. We are also vigilant about security, data protection (GDPR) and encryption.
In the field of education, our interactive screens are designed as educational tools. The visual also makes the lessons more fun and effective. Tangible objects (like cubes or small stamps) are recognized automatically, so the teacher can create engaging activities for their students. We’ve developed the SMART Learning Suite to make teachers and students feel comfortable and enjoy working differently.
It is composed of two software. One, SMART Notebook, is for face-to-face, while the other, Lumio, is for a hybrid way of working, whether students are at home or anywhere in the world. In the Orléans academy, for example, college students work on a weekly basis with Swedish students. The same bases are used in the world of work. The material made available is conducive to engaging in visual collaboration practices.
How do you adapt your interactive screens to user habits?
The most difficult job is to ensure that a digital tool (complex, since it has protocols and standards to be respected) is as intuitive as possible. Our team of engineers and developers therefore seeks to understand user habits through observations, their reactions, interviews or specific studies. This analysis is necessary to constantly adapt our tool to their gestures and their different practices..
This is how we have developed various sensors. Those located at the top of the board detect the presence of individuals in the room. When employees enter the meeting room, the interactive screen then enters a phase of preparation for use. It comes out of standby as soon as a person takes a pen from the pen tray. The screen lights up, and participants immediately have access to the various features.
Can you give us an idea of the features available?
SMART Technologies interactive screens allow you to perform three gestures at the same time: move a document, write and erase. They can be done by several people at the same time. This is a technology specific to our SMART Boards. The other boards on the market only offer the possibility of performing two gestures simultaneously.
At the same time, there are many features! A teacher can take over his content from one year to the next (documents, PDF files, videos, images, etc.) and annotate them immediately thanks to our special ink, the SMART Ink. The annotations do not fade from one use to another, which is specific to our SMART boards.
As we said above, our interactive screens also bring added value to the courses. A board can send fun activities directly to students to carry out on their tablets or any other device connected to the Internet. It can also be used to create a collaborative workspace, to collect individual students’ copies or their written contributions.
The features are just as rich for the working world. Some of our clients have even managed to divide meeting times by two ! Brainstorming is more effective, because several people work at the same time on the board and on the same project, display various documents at the same time, collaborate remotely… This model applies to manufacturers during the design of a product, or in the development phases. It can make it easier for train manufacturers, car manufacturers, or even aerospace companies to work.
What are the advantages of your interactive screens?
Visual collaboration generates change management. Businesses are changing, and our solutions help professionals adapt to them. The benefits of visual impact in the school environment have been proven by scientific studies carried out in Anglo-Saxon countries and in France. Engagement is stronger for teachers, students or trainees. Ditto for a team of employees, since they work more and more in project mode. The interactive screen allows a better understanding between all the departments of the same company. This joint work reduces the communication time between each actor.
In your opinion, what are the next challenges to be met?
Education is our first market. This field has understood the interest of interactive solutions in the classroom and at a distance. During the Covid, teachers using our interactive screens managed to finish their program despite everything, and some even early! So here we are in a market that is maturing. The next challenges are multiple: the dissemination and homogenization of the practices necessary in the field of education, the preparation of students for the world of work, for use in constant adaptation with technology, or even helping to strengthen the field of their socio-emotional skills in addition to the subjects in the curriculum.
As for the company, visual collaboration was introduced there in 2012 with the first interactive digital screens. It is regaining importance with the arrival on the labor market of Millennials and new generations, who have new desires, such as hybrid or totally remote work. In addition, the concept of workspace has changed. The rooms are now equipped with different functions. Visual collaboration stands out as a bridge between generations, and as an effective way for everyone to collaborate.
How do you envision the evolution of your technology?
One of the big trends to come is the ability to work on user-generated data, whether it’s artificial intelligence or big data. The analysis of this data will be essential to provide them with ever more appropriate assistance.. Both the business and education sectors benefit or will benefit from these advances.
Finally, it is easy to imagine that technical developments will take place, to offer the best processors and sensors imaginable. We have already been able to vary our offer, in particular with sensors for temperature, air quality, etc.. The latest generation interactive screens are also equipped with new microphone arrays, able to make out what is being said from the back of the room. They are able to recognize badges, but also objects, which opens up a whole field of exploration to pursue the transformation of the traditional board into an informational transformation tool.
This content was produced with SCRIBEO. The BFMBUSINESS editorial staff did not participate in the production of this content.