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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Williams

Bigger, Brighter, And More Beautiful Than Ever Before: Projection in 2024

I’ve been immersed in projection solutions for over ten years.  Throughout that period, some industry pundits have predicted the slow death of the technology, suggesting this would be driven by the growth of LED panels, along with the reduction in price that comes with mass adoption.

 

What I’ve actually seen is a market for projection in 2024 that has never seemed more buoyant.  It is bigger, brighter, and more beautiful than ever before.  And I can predict only positives for its future.

 

Of course, there’s been a huge growth in flat screens, particularly LED panels over that time, a trend that is set to continue.  The global flat panel market is forecast to grow by $2.28 billion during 2021-2025 (source Technavio).



Interactive flat panel display

 

Flat panels are ideal for ‘standard’ applications

Yes, projection has lost out in the meeting and classroom environments that used to be its bedrock.  My early days at AVM were filled with enquiries about 2m manual screens and 3000 lumens projectors.  Today, when you need to communicate to a relatively small group in a relatively small space, flat panels win.  Throw in a need for interactively, flat panels win.  Only recently I was quoting a customer for a straightforward training room application, and I recommended they go with an LFD as the best option to achieve their objectives.  You don’t need to service a display screen or clean its filters.  Stick it on the wall and it will do its job.

 

But move towards more creative applications and projectors win hands down.

The future focus for projection is, I believe, where there’s a need to create experiences. Record sales of high brightness projectors are evidence of the huge number of applications that can only be achieved through this technology.  In this modern, digital age, consumers’ expectations are so much higher than ever before.  Even a simple shopping trip needs to feel like an experience.  And quite honestly, against this background, the possibilities for projection seem endless.  This is where I see the growth over the next decade - because projection is the only feasible solution in the following examples.

 

Projection in 2024 still wins with huge, bright images in auditoriums

One of the more standard applications where projection still wins over panels is in large auditoriums. In such environments you are looking at an audience of several hundred, or even thousands.  Visibility for everyone, wherever they are sitting, is crucial.  This means you need to go large! Yes, LED screens can do the job but the difference in cost at this level is still huge, and a high-quality projection screen and super bright projector will give the best quality/cost balance.

 

Immersive experiences for visitor attractions

Visitor attractions, from museums to zoos to historical landmarks and more have adopted the use of projection mapping to devise creative and spectacular ways of telling a story.  In such applications the focus is always on the content – the technology delivering it needs to be invisible and projectors are the only way to achieve this.  Projection mapping in this market has exploded.  Recent showcases of the work of artists Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt have been touring the country. In London you can experience a Martian invasion or come face to face with dinosaurs.  We’ve just been working on an immersive experience for the National Museum of Wales.  The possibilities for this type of entertainment seems to only be limited by the developers’ imaginations.

 

Simulation experiences for training

Simulation is another growth area.  I’ve recently been involved in a project that uses immersive simulation for elite sportspeople to support their training. I’ve heard of uses in medicine and aerodynamics.  In such scenarios, the objective is to create a projected world that is so detailed and real that the participants can believe they are in a live environment.  To deliver the technical aspects of such a programme, you need a well specified projector with a high processing and rendering capacity.

 

Virtual meetings, for example MTR (Microsoft Teams Room) environments

We all know that conferencing platforms such as Zoom, and Teams have gained traction at an incredible pace thanks to COVID.  I’ve specified projection for a military application for an MTR with edge blending across nine projectors and screens.  Each attendee in the meeting is projected by one of the projectors onto one of the screens.  This gives the ability for all participants to feel that they are really in the room together, even though they are in fact many miles apart. 

 

New ways of experiencing cinema

The advent of streaming has not been the death knell to the silver screen that some predicted.  The cinema market in the UK has been steadily growing since 2012.  After an understandable collapse during lockdown, it is well on its way to recovery and forecast to continue growing.  But here, as in other areas, customers are looking for more.  The projection market has responded with specialist projectors with RGB laser light sources and specially developed lamps.  As for screens, whilst IMAX has been around for a while, now you not only choose your film, but also your cinema experience.  Developments such as ScreenX, 4D, and SuperScreen are widely available through the big chains. Sophisticated blending is needed to create the projected image for these different screen formats.

 

Experiential marketing

Five years ago, I hadn’t heard of experiential marketing.  It’s the language of Gen Z, the upcoming generation of consumers, and they typically demand authentic digital experiences and close brand relations. Research shows that they prefer spending money on experiences rather than buying material goods.  Gaming conventions, music events, product launches and the like are all opportunities where brands who are targeting these young adults are using experiences, often with the visual drama that projection mapping brings, to market to them.  And with a shorter attention span than ever, the experiences really need to wow. 

 

Imagery around public events

Another growth area for projection is at public events – think of the opening and closing ceremonies of the last Olympics for example.  Content that supports celebrations, such as the mapping of the Queen’s image onto Stonehenge during the recent Jubilee celebrations, and indeed for sadder occasions, brought home by the recent passing of Her Majesty.  Within an hour or two of the news breaking, her image was being projected onto the Sydney Opera House.



A public event using projectors to light up a stage

 

So, projection is far from dead

One of the real drivers behind all the above is the way communication is changing.  As consumers in a media driven world, we expect bright colours, dynamic images, and clear, vibrant detail. Many organisations are looking to communicate with multiple people at once.  At one time we would be together in small groups to receive information.  Now we can be anywhere and still be part of something collective.  Or we can be part of group of thousands and consume the same experience as everyone else in the crowd.  But it’s not just change on a huge scale that is happening, there are more modest examples of it too.  I’ve recently sold two x 8000 lumens projectors to an artist who saw them as an opportunity to showcase his work to a greater audience. 

 

As for what’s on the horizon, I think the technology will continue to develop in ways that my non-technical brain can’t yet envisage.  We’ve already seen Digital Projection separate the light source from the main projector.  The intention is that the head will be so small that you can have a 10,000 lumens projector that is about the size of a grapefruit - with the rest of the projector up to 100m away.  This will bring huge benefits in terms of the physical logistics of using high brightness projectors. I’m so glad that my job is centred in projection because I really feel that for the future, the sky is the limit.

 

 



Danielle Williams

Business Development Manager, Projection Expert

Audio Visual Material

 

 

 

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