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Getting To Know You: Birgit Jackson, Commercial director Sharp Visual Solutions

In our ongoing series, AVTE catches up with Birgit Jackson to discuss all things inside and outside of work

When did your career at Sharp begin?

I’m relatively new to Sharp, I only joined in Spring last year. I was aware that they were doing some really exciting things in AV because I joined from a display competitor, NEC. It’s a brand I’ve always liked, I actually had a Sharp stereo growing up and of course a calculator.

How has the company evolved during this time?
Sharp received investment from Foxconn in 2016 which has meant we’ve been able to speed up our portfolio development. This has helped us to bring products to market faster and to invest more in R&D. We’re now fulfilling ambitions previously put on hold. Sharp is back. 

How has Sharp’s portfolio evolved?
We now have far more to offer the mainstream signage market. At ISE we launched two new smart signage display ranges with easy content management via System on Chip. We have also added more partners to our software partner platform, so we offer a full range of choices from independent signage software developers. We can now offer a complete package for every level of project.     

What products are proving the most popular at Sharp today?
BIG PAD, our interactive display range, is very popular – especially with corporate customers. BIG PAD is, as the name suggests, big, but we added smaller sizes – 40 and 50 inch – for huddle spaces and they are selling well too. If you add a BIG PAD for huddle you can turn any office area into a meeting room. We also recently launched a 4K 70 inch version. They are so easy to use. In designing BIG PAD we focused a lot on delivering a pen-on- paper experience, so that writing on the display has a similar feel to using a pen and paper. It’s accurate and it’s reliable. This takes away a lot of the fear people have about using a technology. People trust it.

What advice would you give to a business investing in AV? 

There are lots of benefits to adding a display to your meeting areas. However, not all displays are made the same, so it’s really important to test a variety of products. Think about how you’ll be using it and what you need it to do. Test the display with the people who will be using it. If people aren’t comfortable with technology then they won’t use it, so get their support from the beginning.

Outside of work, how do you like to spend your spare time?
Spending time with my family, yoga and running. I also really enjoy good food – which makes the running important!

Finally, tell us something about yourself, which might surprise people?
I actually studied physics at university, which always surprises people because I’m an engineer who ended up in marketing.