NEC Display Collaborates With Raspberry Pi For Next Generation Smart Displays

An increasing number of smart devices are headed to market as the Internet of Things (IoT) takes hold. That includes everyday appliances—perhaps one day your toaster will pull images from the web to bake scorch them into your morning toast—along with more traditional electronics devices, such as monitors and displays. Working towards the latter, NEC has teamed up with Raspberry Pi on a new generation of large format displays with smart functionality.

NEC in Europe said it will be sharing an open platform modular approach with Raspberry Pi, one that will enable a seamless integration of the latter's devices into the former's displays. Specifically, NEC is interested in Raspberry Pi's newest low-cost compute module, the Raspberry Pi 3, which ups the performance ante and features networking capabilities.

NEC Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi was originally developed to teach kids and students how to program and to encourage the maker movement. Its low price tag made the mini PCs accessible to a larger audience. Now in its third generation, Raspberry Pi is more powerful and capable than ever, which prompted NEC to want to embed the systems into its professional large frame displays.

"Our strategic initiative to team up with Raspberry Pi is an example of how we continue to ensure that organizations 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," said Stefanie Corinth, Senior Vice President Marketing and Business Development at NEC Display Solutions Europe GmbH.

Raspberry Pi's been working with NEC for over a year to incorporate its compute modules into the company's displays. The Raspberry Pi 3 features a 1.2GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of eMMC flash storage, though the specialized version going into NEC displays with have 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Digital signage is the logical application here, though Raspberry Pi says there are opportunities for interactive applications and other tasks.

NEC hasn't said yet what specific things its future displays will be capable of, though what's probably more interesting is what developers and tinkerers might come up with, just as they've done with non-integrated solutions.