High Five with Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies

Raymond Soneira

RaySoneira is President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation, and is known for his wide and in-depth knowledge of the display industry and surrounding ecosystems. With the rest of his team, he produces display technology shoot-outs for the latest ‘big news’ products to hit the industry – including smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, TVs and projectors.

1. What do you consider are the five most important market developments in the last five years?
The re-emergence of displays to the forefront of consumer awareness and manufacturer marketing. This has led to displays no longer being perceived as commodities, as they were for much of the last 10 years.
Smartphones have come from being enhanced mobile telephones to incredibly powerful computer devices that are now the number one tool for a great majority of people. Hand-in-hand with this, the introduction of the iPhone 4 with its Retina Display was the product that started the current revolution in the marketing and appreciation of displays.
The introduction of tablets is bringing an end to the traditional PC world of the last 30 years. Displays in this area are advancing rapidly; the iPad 3 with its outstanding factory calibration, and colour and greyscale accuracy, is much better than any other consumer display we have ever tested for delivering outstanding picture quality. Most displays and HDTVs still produce rather inaccurate images, but competition is finally making that an important marketing issue.

2. What will be the five hot topics over the next five years?
The rise of OLEDs as they overtake LCD displays in mobile displays, monitors, and HDTVs.
Displays will become more widespread, appearing in more and more everyday consumer and commercial products – not just in electronic devices. We are already seeing that with refrigerators and toothbrushes, but I wish that my stapler had a display to let me know how many staples are left, and my taps to let me know what the water temperature is!
This will be accompanied by mobile displays and devices taking over from wired displays and devices, in the same way that wireless telephones have just about eradicated wired telephones. Similarly, digital signage displays will continue their takeover of paper signage – from billboards to storefront signs to in-store promotions and menus.
Mobile broadband will become ubiquitous and lead to the rapid fall of traditional cable and satellite TV service. In a parallel fashion, there will be a rapid decline in wired cabling for electrical devices (other than AC power) – some parts of my home theatre and lab are now a scary rats nest of jumbled wires. I hope my next generation will have very few wires.

3. What are the five most interesting upcoming technology developments that you can see?
Improvements in OLED technology, such as power efficiency, ageing rates, brightness, and colour accuracy will serve to increase uptake.
Improvements in metal oxide back planes will provide very efficient and low cost high resolution displays, and improvements in the application of anti-reflection technology for displays will make them increasingly readable in bright ambient lighting.
Battery technology will progress more rapidly as it becomes increasingly critical for the mobile devices everyone wants.
4K displays will hopefully not turn into another wild goose chase. I have pointed out that HDTVs are already what Apple calls Retina Displays; it is pointless to double the resolution, because people with 20/20 vision won’t be able to visually see any difference at normal viewing distances.

4. What are five things you/your company stand for?
Promoting the importance of displays and display technology, obviously! We also represent the objective scientific testing, evaluation and analysis of displays and display technology.
Educating consumers in understanding display technology, by writing widely-read articles for consumers on display related topics, is an important part of what we do. We also make consumers aware of specification exaggeration and abuse in the marketing of displays, with articles like ‘Display Myths Shattered’ and ‘Understanding Misleading Display Specs’.
Finally, it is very important to help manufacturers to improve their displays and display technology.

5. What are the five most important things or people in your life?
My wife, Julia, and daughter, Lauren, are my centre piece. My other relatives, too, who are spread out all over the USA. Modern communications and display technology have made it possible to interact with them in ways that have made us all feel much closer. Also our family friends, who help me recalibrate to the real world after working too hard too often.
My colleagues, like Bob Raikes, whom I have known and worked with for over 20 years. I don’t get to see him in person very often, but we have interacted and helped each other many times over the years…
Finally our family dog Iris, who died last year, is still remembered, loved and cherished. We are working up to considering getting another family dog.