In one of the better kept secrets in the AV industry for some time, NEC Display Solutions surprised 99% of its partners – both Grassfish and DisplayNote have been working on this in secret for the last six months so were obviously not surprised, Ed – with an announcement of an open platform modular approach (officially called OPEN MODULAR INTELLIGENCE or OMI) that enables a seamless integration of Raspberry Pi devices with some of NEC’s new displays.
OMI and the Raspberry Pi collaboration was seemingly first discussed 18 months ago and they have been working on it on the quiet for the last 12 months.
With a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, the latest Raspberry Pi 3 compute module boasts significant performance and networking capabilities and despite many (industry) detractors, the board is no longer just a basic computer for coding in education, but has evolved into a reliable, intelligent device. Yesterday’s announcement also made mention that NEC will also offer a customised compute module to meet the specific performance demands of the display industry (16GB RAM was touted as one of the enhancements here).
NEC’s new OMI platform, encompasses both OPS and the new compute module slot and partners were shown two new displays (the V and P series) that had both slots available.
This technology collaboration, which is no doubt the first officially between a display manufacturer and the Raspberry Pi creator, is aimed at helping expand NEC’s market opportunity, demonstrating the options it can offer across a wide range of markets and applications.
Stefanie Corinth, Senior Vice President Marketing and Business Development at NEC Display Solutions Europe GmbH told us “Our strategic initiative to team up with Raspberry Pi is an example of how we continue to ensure that organisations in any sector have the most advanced technology in place to meet their application needs. Our open platform approach provides display intelligence at any time, thanks to our modular and interchangeable design. Integrating the Raspberry Pis with our displays will provide businesses with advanced technology suitable for digital signage, streaming and presenting to enhance the overall visual experience at an affordable price point.”
Dr. Eben Upton, CEO at Raspberry Pi Trading, who appeared during the live launch of the solution, said “When we started Raspberry Pi, we had one main goal of helping people learn about computing and how to make things with computers. However, we’ve been fortunate enough to have sold 10 million Raspberry Pis so far and the commercial success has led to the third generation of a more mature and powerful technology which can be used with NEC’s intelligent display. Our work on the Raspberry Pi mini-computers is driven by the huge community of developers whilst NEC’s work is driven by industry needs, enabling us to meet the demands of the AV and IT industry. Overall, this collaboration shows NEC’s confidence with our ability to provide a platform that can be used in a variety of environments.”
With NEC’s new series large format displays with Raspberry Pi connectivity due to be launched in January 2017 onwards, we would expect to see them all over the NEC Stand at #ISE2017.
We want to give credit here to NEC Display Solutions who, both in Europe and America, pioneered the screen slot-in PC back in 2007, then took that concept and re-worked it together with Intel to create OPS. After sitting on the sidelines whilst all of the commercial screen manufacturers tried to figure out if a proprietary System on a Chip (SoC) architecture was the way to go, have – some ten years later – once again come up with a clever solution that should make all the other screen manufacturers look up and listen and most probably shake the market a little.