Interactive Flat Panel Sales to U.S. Schools Expected to Increase

Associate Editor

More interactive flat-panel display devices will be popping up in U.S. classrooms over the next five years, as the market changes, according to the latest report by Futuresource Consulting Ltd., a U.K.-based market research and forecasting firm.

InteractiveFlatPanelDisplay.JPGInteractive displays refer to both interactive whiteboards, which require a projector as part of their technology, and flat panels, which do not.

About 60 percent of U.S. classrooms have interactive display devices now, for a total of 2.1 million deployed. By 2019 the presence of interactive displays of some sort in U.S. classes is expected to jump to 71 percent. Whiteboards, which predated flat-panel displays, have been the market frontrunner, said Colin Messenger, a senior market analyst for Futuresource Consulting. In the U.K., all classrooms are equipped with a whiteboard, he said.

“In 2015, we forecast a much faster shift to interactive flat-panel displays,” Messenger said. Last year, flat-panels made up only 15 percent of 2014 U.S. school sales. In the U.K., where about 58 percent of school interactive display sales are flat panels, some classrooms are now being equipped with multiple displays, said Messenger. 

Flat panel display.jpg

The projected rise of flat-panel displays in schools comes at a time when the overall U.S. market for interactive displays actually declined. Futuresource’s expectation is that the total U.S. market for the devices will remain relatively flat over the next several years. (See graph above.)

Schools’ investment in 1-to-1 mobile devices and the technology infrastructure to support connectivity diverts funds and focus from front-of-class displays, according to Futuresource. However, the demand for flat-panels in the next few years is likely to grow, despite schools facing difficult choices about which school technology to buy, as older displays need to be replaced, Futuresource said.

“Interactive whiteboards last, on average, about 10 years,” said Messenger. A decade ago, 30,000 whiteboards were sold in the U.S., which means those are reaching “replacement age.” 

Futuresource predicts that the prevalence of interactive displays in schools will begin to have an impact on the corporate market, as students graduating into the workforce bring their knowledge of the capabilities of these devices into businesses.

More information about the study is available here.

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Photo: Students at Pheasey Park Farm Primary School in Birmingham, U.K. work on a math problem using an interactive flat-panel display. (Colin Messenger/Futuresource)

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