Fujitsu Forum Exhibition

By Raverstead
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There was an exhibition area as part of the Forum event and much of it was dominated by servers, SANs and a large area by POS solutions and equipment. Clearly retail systems are a big application for Fujitsu. It’s interesting to see how cultural issues affect technology. A sales person started to explain Fujitsu’s latest self scanner technology, but that has been used by my local Sainsbury’s supermarket for four or five years!

Of course, we spent most time looking at the monitors. There were two new products to look at.

New Monitors add Touch and Comms Features

The first was a 21.5″ touch-enabled monitor, the E22 Touch. Resolution is FullHD 1920 x 1080, with 7ms response and 1,000:1 contrast. It has an “easel” type of mount to allow it to be pushed surprisingly hard without a problem. It supports 10 point touch and is fitted with a wide viewing angle panel that uses wide viewing angle “IPS-like” technology. The monitor has a non-glare surface and a lot of time was spent optimising the balance between the feel of the surface of the display and the anti-glare properties. Features include four USB 3.0 ports and audio that’s “good enough” for retail environments, eliminating the need for external speakers. The monitor has been shipping for around three weeks and the response from customers has been positive. It costs £270 ($420) ex VAT.

This was the first time that we had seen Fujitsu’s new unified communications monitor in public. The company already has an AIO that is aimed at call centre applications, but the technology has now been added to a monitor. Using a PC for communications makes a lot of sense in these days of VOIP, but phone ringing is not very helpful in call centres – visual signalling is much more useful. Therefore, Fujitsu has added a coloured LED on the top edge of the monitor that allows the user to indicate their status (e.g. do not disturb) and to flash if there is an incoming VOIP call, so that they can respond even if away from their desk.

The 24″ P24T-7 monitor is a FullHD unit with 16:9 aspect ratio and a wide viewing angle (MVA type) panel with 5ms response, 250cd/m² of brightness and 3,000:1 contrast. It also integrates a presence sensor to power down when nobody is near the monitor. Fujitsu has been able to use its understanding of PC power architectures to power down the complete system, rather than just the monitor. It will ship in January, when more information, including pricing, is available.

The company did look at adding everything for conferencing, including a camera and audio, but this made the USB very complicated.

We were slightly surprised that Fujitsu has not shown (and did not show at the event) any UltraHD monitors. It seems that the concerns over 30Hz support and also over font size and OS support mean that it has decided to wait until there is a new version of Windows before moving into that area. The company is concentrating on monitors where it can get a system advantage, such as the unified communication unit.

Round-Up

We spotted some E Ink-based Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) in the retail area. These were being shown by Lancom, a German maker of Wi-Fi access points, but the labels were from Imagotech of Austria and no more details were available. Lancom was promoting the fact that its access points could simultaneously support ESLs, access by customers as a service (Tesco in the UK said today that it would give free access to customers) and also support iBeacons. This made the roll-out of Wi-Fi in store more efficient because a single installation could be done.

Also in the retail area was a technology demonstration of an RGB LED being modulated between two colours so that light reflecting from an illuminated object would contain information about the object. It was being called a QR code light. One colour represents a 0, while the other represents a 1. Staff told us that a simple app for any smartphone is needed and that any mobile camera can be used. Staff wouldn’t tell us what kind of colour performance was achieved in terms of CRI or gamut. They emphasised that the system could clearly differentiate between an object that was being viewed and the background.

There was an intriguing demonstration of an Oculus Rift being used to show a journey around Munich on a scooter. At any point, by turning your head around, you could see all around. “Did it use a special camera?”, we asked. It turned out that an engineer from Fujitsu had put 6 cameras on a pole and created the video. Fujitsu was using the video to show the power of its workstations. The 10 minutes of video took 10-12 hours to render using Kolor software.

As last year, there was a presence from Nvidia. This year the company was showing how serious graphics applications could be run on a remote 1U Xeon-based C620 rack workstation, using a simple Futro L420 thin client at the user’s workstation. There was also a demonstration of Nvidia Grid virtualisation.

In the thin client area, there were several different set-ups including the high end S920 system which supports up to four displays and includes Windows Embedded 7 to allow some local multimedia processing.

We spotted an Augmented Reality application that is under development and uses a Kopin display. The display looked quite heavy and was shown mounted on a safety helmet. Staff told us that the final product would be smaller and lighter, although the mouldings looked quite finished to us. The application shown was an engineering one, where a service manual could be seen at the same time as the AR display.

We reported on the impressive demonstration of haptics on a tablet at the MWC in Barcelona and the company had the same demo in Munich.

The Stylistic Q555 was a new tablet, launched at the Forum. It is a 10.1″ anti-glare display-based device that runs 64 bit Windows 8 or 8.1 on an Intel Bay Trail CPU. Resolution of the display is 1920 x 1200 with 800:1 contrast, 400cd/m² of brightness and using IPS for wide viewing angles. Weight is 655g and it has optional 4G/LTE support. Battery life is claimed at 10 hours and the unit has keyboard and cradle options for productivity use.

There were no new notebooks in the public area (there was an NDA area at the show, which, we guess had some new ones) as the company, like others, is waiting for the new Core processors from Intel, which will be available in Q1. Fujitsu was highlighting its palm vein recognition system, which is integrated into a number of notebooks. This technology is said to be more accurate and unique than eye recognition and was being used in the retail area and in other security applications. The biometric information can be stored in a smart card, so that you have “two factor” security.