Much Ado About Touch

Jen Üner

Touch is already a part of the Mezzanine user interface on tablets and smart phones, and it’s coming to display screens this fall.

 We recognize there’s a love affair with touch. We all use it on the smart phones in our pockets. Indeed it is a part of the user interface for Mezzanine, our flagship product for visual collaboration in the enterprise. On a smart phone or tablet, a collaborator in a Mezzanine session can control the shared digital workspace with familiar touch commands to move / drag / drop / pinch / zoom / slide / delete. For annotation with an iPad, it’s simple to pull up a color selector ‘paint box’ to enable annotation over graphics and video streams with a fingertip. Immediately, a collaborator can contribute a marked up graphic to a session’s workflow from anywhere in real time, even while seated at a conference table. 

This powerful touch capability is often overshadowed by the wand, Mezzanine’s remarkable gestural input device that is endlessly gratifying for commanding content across display screens occupying every wall surface from wherever you are in the room. Adding to this, we have heard time and again, “people just don’t want to get up in the middle of a meeting and go to a wall to do everything on a display screen. Standing meetings are not really all that common.” Plus, as soon as you stand in front of the display, you block sight lines to whatever is on the screens. 

So you can imagine our surprise at the immediate and enthusiastic reception we received at InfoComm for the beta demonstration of touch annotation and white-boarding directly on the display screens in the Mezzanine 200 Series. Our research had indicated that while touch screen white-boarding is a commonly promoted in the marketplace, it isn’t so commonly utilized in the workplace. So we decided to take a deeper dive on this, as we continue to study human behavior in architectural space for the development of our spatial computing platform, and we discovered two things we think are worth sharing.

  1. Yes, people will stand up in a meeting…sometimes. Collaborators will do this when they need to command attention to make a point. They don’t want to do it all the time for every little navigation or illustration, but there is certain and valuable ceremony in breaking the flow of table talk of the group by standing up and going over to the wall to illustrate a point. A part of a meeting might even involve multiple people at a wall, but it isn’t the whole meeting.

  2. Artifacts are important. After said group interaction – commanding attention, annotating content, drawing up a thing – there is an outcome: a new visual asset is created. This asset supports the point that was just made, and very often it will be useful to capture and access this visual piece again.

Taking both of these findings into consideration, we are optimizing touch annotation for the Mezzanine 200 Series, which is our scaled solution for the most intensive team collaboration sessions. Teams utilizing Mezzanine 200 to connect across office locations will enjoy the direct access to make a point with touch annotation right on the display screen, and the easy means of capturing the result directly into the session portfolio. To see this solution for yourself, so that you can evaluate its deployment across your enterprise, schedule a demo with us or contact one of our integration partners.


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