Martin Kent, territory manager, HANNspree UK

A piece of the Raspberry Pi

Could the marriage of Raspberry Pi and Touch Displays be the future of the Human Machine Interface? Martin Kent, Territory Manager, HANNspree explores

Raspberry Pi is most commonly associated with IT learning and hobbying, but as an increasing number of developers take their hands to creating new IT concepts using the tiny computer and demonstrating how it can be applied to replace existing, more expensive IT solutions, it is really only a matter of time before the demand explodes.

As the cheapest computer in the market today, Raspberry Pi is already sought after by students, start-ups and tech enthusiasts, all experimenting with the inconceivable possibilities presented by the technology and likely chomping at the bit to unleash its potential on us all. And the potential is undoubtedly extensive. Raspberry Pi is an effective and cost-effective solution for a vast range of sectors, especially thanks to its simplicity and portability.

The ability to ‘take it anywhere’ and utilise it as a plug-and-play setup really resonates with the growing number of workers becoming more mobile more often, as well as the general shift to becoming more mobile in our everyday busy lives. From simply accessing data when needed, to creating a working office or learning space anywhere that there is Internet available, Raspberry Pi offers a modern, pocket-friendly device of convenience, and who doesn’t want a more convenient device nowadays? Not to mention the extremely low price tag!

Next generation
The evolution of Raspberry Pi is being driven by young minds that completely understand what the market wants. They are determined to make a durable, workable and budget friendly product with immense compatibility options available for everyone. These young, principled masterminds will help enable schools, businesses, retail stores and many others to realise that with Raspberry Pi, they have the opportunity to invent their own bespoke IT solutions, and scores could opt to do so, rather than turning to big brands to meet their expectations. In doing so, they stand to save a pretty penny.

Taking into consideration price, bespoke design, competitive support and the installation requirements of Raspberry Pi, it’s understandable why this technology is becoming increasingly attractive to solution providers. In fact, the capacity for installations is somewhat limitless, bound only by a lack of imagination. Thanks to the numerous packages housed within the Raspbian OS, it is very simple to create solutions and all allow complete developer oversight. This flexibility could wipe out the need to seek dedicated solutions and is the main USP to encourage a ‘create your own’ mentality. The Pi brand has also enabled access to a range of alternative operating systems to its own Raspbian OS to ensure customers have the freedom and flexibility of choice when it comes to exactly how they would like their product setup. This bold move has made Raspberry Pi even more attractive to the technical world which has been somewhat stifled by the limitations instilled by existing computer developers.

A great example of how developers are honing the potential of Raspberry Pi, is the marriage of Raspberry Pi with Touch displays, which is fast-tracking the birth of future Pi solutions. The tandem of these two technologies is increasingly being utilised to create hardware such as POS and POI and demonstrating how the human machine interface (HMI) can be more achievable and affordable. We fully expect Raspberry Pi to become the future choice for HMI developers and as the touch applications of Pi surge for hardware hosting the human machine interface to become a lot more prominent across an array of sectors – especially those that would have previously deemed the concept too costly.

Growth and demand
Selling Raspberry Pi now will ensure you capitalise on the growing demand, as well as the many consequent profit-earning opportunities. The rising popularity of Raspberry Pi and the invention of new applications for the technology will almost certainly boost sales for display vendors and their e-tail customers. We have already seen e-tailers begin to offer a Pi and touch display package (with the peace of mind that the touch display is ready to work out of the box). At HANNspree, we recognise the future potential of Raspberry Pi and perfected driver development for Raspberry Pi compatibility, ensuring that no setup or configuration is required for immediate full touch control.

As with most new technologies that have the potential to completely turn an industry on its head, Raspberry Pi has to date been met with reluctance. It is notoriously difficult to introduce a technology that is so ‘different’ to the norm, but as the possibilities for Pi application grow, so too does interest and acceptance, and with a young generation of conscientious IT entrepreneurs in the wings already familiar, if not expert, with the tech, we believe it is not a matter of if, but rather when, Raspberry Pi will dominate the IT sector.

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