Special-Edition Viewpoints Address The Pandemic Crisis

In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, pathways and opportunities in technology commercialization are undergoing dramatic transformation on many fronts. In an effort to address Explorer clients' urgent need to understand both the near- and longer-term impacts, we are providing a special set of analyses about the pandemic's impact on technology commercialization that will replace the standard May and June 2020 Viewpoints publications. (Read the full announcement about these special analyses.)

  • The May 2020 documents identify a wide range of key forces that will likely have a major influence on prospects for six consequential technology domains, imagining a plausible range of alternative outcomes that these forces could have during the coming five to ten years. These outcomes serve as building blocks for creating effective responses to the pandemic.
  • The June 2020 documents will provide a scenarios-based analysis for each of the six technology domains, with emphasis on how the key uncertain forces might interact and influence commercialization pathways in alternative postpandemic futures.

Because the developments we describe affect multiple technologies, we have organized our standard Technology Areas into six technology domains. We encourage clients to engage with all six special-edition Viewpoints to gain a broad view of potential changes and opportunities in technology commercialization. Please contact us if you do not already have access to all six technology domains, and we will be happy to provide you with the remaining articles in the collection.


About This Technology

Electronic displays are ubiquitous and form an essential part of the modern world. Well over 1 billion people use the internet, which they access using a device with an electronic display. Liquid-crystal-display technology is the dominant choice for televisions and computer monitors and has enabled the rapid development of lightweight portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Few competitive technologies exist, but organic-LED-display technology is commercially viable in small devices and premium televisions. Niche and emerging display technologies include quantum-dot LED displays, MicroLED displays, micromirror projectors, and head‑mounted microdisplays for augmented and virtual reality.

Use of electronic displays has spread across multiple industries, thanks to their thin profiles, low energy consumption, and portability. For example, one of the foremost applications for electronic-display technology is the television. Modern technology enables manufacturers to create televisions that are thin and lightweight. Also, the demand for ever-larger televisions has helped to drive down production costs, because the capacity to produce one large glass panel can also cheaply produce several smaller ones. Electronic displays are prevalent in many areas, to the extent that hundreds of millions of people now carry smartphones with them each day. The dominance of relatively inexpensive-to-produce displays has led to rapidly increasing sales of tablet computers with street prices of less than $100. In addition, electronic displays are partly responsible for enabling computing in parts of society traditionally frozen out because of previously high display costs.

The increasing adoption of OLED displays by mobile-handset and handheld-device manufacturers will help to push technology development forward, leading to more affordable large-area OLED displays. In addition, the emergence of e-paper displays in applications such as electronic signage, smart cards, retail-counter tags, electronic-document readers, and other paper replacements adds to the diversity and will be a boost for the overall display industry. These developments, along with complementary research into fundamental display electronics, will ensure that electronic displays continue to be a familiar and important part of people's business, entertainment, and daily lives.