26
Oct 2018

Multi-touch Table prices – what costs to expect?

Multi touch table price

In trade show and event contexts, multi-touch tables are becoming increasingly popular as an instrument to present companies and their products and services both innovatively and interactive. But event agencies as well nowadays want to offer their clients digital solutions and take novel approaches in communication. Understandably, business companies and agencies usually first would like to get an idea of the multi-touch table market in general and the prices they have to calculate with. What budget do they have to set aside for a purchase of this order?

Online Research Yields Substantial Differences In Multi‑Touch Table Prices

A Google research on this subject very quickly teaches the prospective buyer one thing: getting a proper market overview is no mean feat, especially when it comes to even a rough price calculation. For one thing, the market is divers and hence confusing, furthermore, the price calculation remains obscure because clear total prices are hardly ever readily available online. Consequently, this requires individual inquiries with each and every one of the providers. On the other hand, there’s a plethora of different technologies and possible configurations available. The price span for the hardware only is immense, and – without any further research filters, specifications, or limitations in place – at first sight ballpark figures range between € 1.000 and up to € 30.000! Even for the roughest of budget calculations, that’s not very helpful. There’s no getting around the fact that before you do anything else, you should first find answers for some very fundamental questions concerning your business company and its requirements. In the next step, you can narrow down your online research and focus on specific criteria in your search for the right product.

Multitouch Tisch Preis

The comparison to the purchase of a new car here seems not too far-fetched: If I don’t have the slightest notion of what I want, walk up to the car salesman, and ask him, “How much is a car?”, at first, he will be unable to give me any useful answer. Most likely then he is going to proceed by asking, “Do you need a 2- or a 4-seater?”, “Does the vehicle’s maximum speed matter, or are you generally a slow and easy-going driver?”, or “Is it something extravagant and special you’re looking for, or will any car that takes you from A to B without problem do just nicely?”, and so on.

6 Criteria Determine The Price Of A Multi-Touch Table

To better assess the budget necessary for a multi-touch table, taking into account the following 6 criteria that are ultimately responsible for its price might be of help:

  1. Size of the multi-touch screen

In this case basically the rule of thumb “the larger, the more expensive” applies. A 43’’ screen that allows only a maximum of 2 people to work simultaneously of course is cheaper than a 65’’ screen accommodating 4 and more users at the same time. As of now, 55’’ screens offer the optimal price-performance ratio (in terms of size in inches and pixel density). Currently the Japanese company IIyama produces the most affordable screens available on the market – prices here start at € 2.000 (before tax) for a basic Iiyama “ProLite Projected Capacitive” 55’’ screen.

  1. Screen resolution

Here we could well launch into a lengthy lecture on the relation between a multi-touch table’s pixel density and its typical viewing distance, but we keep it short and simple instead: Full HD monitors with a resolution of only 1.920 x 1.080 px are outdated. The long and short of it is that the user can distinguish individual pixels and the appearance of the presentation is anything but appealing. You should therefore focus your research on models with U‑HD resolution (23.840 x 2.160 px) instead.

  1. Number of possible parallel touch inputs

The number of possible parallel touch inputs the “table-top” is able to process constitutes a crucial factor in the quality of a multi-touch table. Budget models with particularly low-priced sensors (such as the Iiyama models) can recognize about 10 to 20 touch inputs at the same time. For a basic application run on a relatively small screen this may well be enough, but for four pairs of hands or capacitive object recognition it doesn’t even come close to being sufficient. High-end quality sensors, for instance the ones by 3M, can process between 40 and 80 parallel touch inputs.

  1. Integrated PC

With multi-touch tables it’s the same as with any PC or Laptop – it’s all about speed, performance, and reliability. There’s nothing worse than a “jerky” multi-touch table that occasionally crashes. Therefore, this is the wrong spot to safe on costs! The PC should at least have an i5 processor with a reasonably sufficient RAM, SSD drive, and dedicated graphics board. Particularly with mini-PCs integrated into the screen itself caution is in order, as those usually fail to meet these requirements.

  1. Table corpus/frame

It’s the corpus or the frame, respectively, that turn a multi-touch screen into a multi‑touch table. They hold both the integrated PC and the screen.

In this context, not only aesthetic aspects are important but practical ones as well, and they should be weighed against each other and balanced carefully: how exceptional and “beautiful” is the table corpus supposed to look, and how mobile or transportable does it have to be at the same time? In any case, the table must be stable, durable, fire-proof, and it should have invisible cable ducts. At the same time, an attractive design and an appealing appearance are not to be underestimated – in the end, the table is supposed to attract many people by its looks. To sum it up, the pricing of this component first and foremost depends on the materials used –common materials available on the market are metal, MDF, and Corian.

  1. Customization and Service

There are both budget “off-the-rack” multi-touch tables and pricey individualized models. The surface color or printing may vary as well as the PC’s configuration. Also, different technologies for object recognition (capacitive, optic, RFID, etc.) can be used, offering the user additional modes of interaction besides manual input. And finally, the service as well influences the total sum: will mere delivery of the boxed hardware by a parcel service or logistics company do and you put the table together yourself, or do you want on-site assembly, set-up, and instruction?

(Note: there are many other factors relevant to the price of the hardware, e.g., the screen’s contrast and luminosity, the quality of the surface glass, and so on. But for the beginning, focusing on just a few aspects in your product research is helpful.)

What costs do I have to calculate?

After weighing all the various price‑determining aspects, the possible price range all of a sudden becomes a lot smaller and a look through the offers leads to the conclusion: the price for a professional multi-touch table for use in a trade show or corporate context lies between € 15.000 and € 25.000 (before tax). With a product like this you can be confident the hardware is built for 24/7 operation and no unpleasant surprises will occur. Multi-touch tables exceeding this price usually are highly individualized custom-made products, and cheaper models only make sense for semi-professional use with a low expected user frequentation. Mind you, this total price does not include the software yet! To find the appropriate multi-touch software hence requires another round of research.

By the way: when you check out the Chinese trading-platform Alibaba.com and you come across offers reading ‘Find High Quality multi-touch tables for € 1.000’, you should exercise maximum caution!

These products use only the cheapest of Full HD screens, which ostensibly reach a “4 carat (!) Resolution” by means of “interpolation”. Obviously, that’s utter nonsense. Touch recognition of these models works with outdated infrared (IR) technology, and the entire hardware gives every impression of belonging to a different (antediluvian) era. Any business showing up at a trade show with a multi-touch table like this is certainly not going to make a good and professional impression.

Conclusion

Similar to the purchase of a car, buying a multi-touch table requires some consideration in advance. You should therefore first define your own demands (What is it that the table is supposed to do for you, and how?) as exactly as possible and be aware that this purchase is an important investment in the future (and hence not to be taken lightly). Getting professional advice and taking your time for this decision are therefore certainly advisable. Most importantly, you should not fall for the next best shady used car dealer offering incredibly low prices.

Download Our Whitepaper For Free

If you’re currently in the planning phase for acquiring a multi-touch table, take a look at our Whitepaper “Multi-touch Table – In 8 Steps To A Successful Project”. With checklists and instructions, this guideline will assist you in every step of the way: starting from conception over picking the right hardware and software right down to smart content management – and ultimately to success.

Infographic: Multi-touch Table prices

Multitouch Tisch Preis Infografik

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