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The way we work is changing–fast. And many companies are struggling to keep up with the pace of that evolution.
Updating processes, technologies, and business practices takes significant time and investment. But keeping employees at the top of their game is most critical of all. A company’s workforce failing to keep up with changes to business operations creates an opening for competitors to get ahead.
That’s where workforce transformation comes in.
What Is Workforce Transformation
Workforce transformation refers to the process of realigning a company’s employee base to ensure that their skills match the company’s strategic needs. Essentially, a company undergoing workforce transformation assesses its existing skills, identifies the skills needed to meet future goals, and maps out any skills gaps.
Once you identify those gaps, you can embark on closing them through targeted reskilling, upskilling, and hiring.
According to a Newsweek survey, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate at which certain workplace skills become obsolete increased by more than 70%. In many industries, technological shifts that were expected to take place years into the future came rapidly in response to our new reality. For example, B2B organizations that traditionally relied on in-person sales visits suddenly needed to shift to digital strategies.
Companies have always needed to be able to pivot rapidly to avoid falling behind. However, as the pace of technological change increases, these transformations are necessary more often and need to be done on a shorter time scale. Organizations, therefore, need effective workforce transformation programs to ensure they can align their skills base with the company’s future goals and needs.
How to Launch a Workforce Transformation
Effectively launching a workforce transformation requires careful planning. Consider the following steps.
1. Conduct a skills assessment.
Without knowing what skills you have in your workforce, it’s impossible to know what gaps exist. Consider using a multi-faceted approach to measuring employee skills, including looking at existing job descriptions and performance reviews, talking to managers, and surveying employees themselves. It’s important to regularly reassess skills, as they can change rapidly with employee turnover and as employees grow and develop.
2. Identify critical needs and goals.
While some specific technical skills may receive a lot of buzz, a company’s actual workforce needs are highly dependent upon its organizational goals. Before embarking on a workforce transformation initiative, company leaders should identify and prioritize the most critical skills to fulfill those goals.
3. Create a plan for skills development.
External online training programs (like those offered by
Company-led (internal) training programs
Temporary or “stretch” assignments in different departments
Traditional degree programs
4. Measure and adapt.
Like with any organizational effort, it’s essential to set and track success metrics. Regularly check in to ensure your transformation strategies are effectively deliver new skills and meet company needs. Since workforce transformation aims to adapt to new demands, regularly reassessing the match between employee skills and company needs is essential.
Addressing Challenges of
While workforce transformation is imperative, it also poses many challenges, which can include the following.
1. The overwhelming scale of the project
Overhauling an entire company’s workforce can be a massive challenge. That’s why it’s recommended to break it into small pieces and identify replicable processes to reduce the scale of the work.
Starting by identifying specific skills or business units to transform and carefully tracking and measuring the process and results throughout can help build the business case for a broader transformation. Plus, it provides an opportunity to identify company-specific challenges and best practices.
2. Lack of relevant data
Many organizations lack robust data on their own employees. Without that information, it’s impossible to know how to focus your skill-building efforts. Companies without strong metrics in place should consider investing in people analytics capabilities such as surveys and related tools. For Philip Morris International, detailed online assessments (especially for key leaders) were central to a successful transformation effort.
“It’s recommended to break it into small pieces and identify replicable processes to reduce the scale of the work.”
3. Need for organizational buy-in
Any large-scale transformation efforts can understandably cause employees anxiety. That’s why you should prioritize strong leadership and clear communication. This will ensure your workforce understands that these development efforts are meant for growth rather than to become a threat to their employment. Most employees are eager to develop their own skills; it’s simply a matter of effectively sharing goals and processes so that they understand what’s to come.
Workforce Transformation Examples
It’s always helpful to look at companies that have successfully completed comparable workforce transformations for inspiration. Notable examples in recent years include:
In 2024, Unilever embarked on an ambitious effort to prepare its 155,000 employees for the future of work. Their program aims to create a “future-fit plan” for every employee. They name employees’ goals, consider how their specific roles might change or disappear in the future, and identify the skills they need to gain to adapt to new positions. These efforts are combined with a broader initiative within Unilever to help employees find a sense of purpose in their work and build engagement and satisfaction.
L’Oreal knew it couldn’t rely on its reputation alone to compete in a crowded cosmetics marketplace. It embarked on an ambitious digital transformation plan to reduce time to market from 18 to 6 months, in part by upskilling and reskilling workers to enhance their digital capabilities. L’Oreal has invested in training offerings to power this transformation. This includes virtual courses and a broad online learning platform available to all employees. In fact, in 2023, every L’Oreal employee worldwide received training.
At Allstate, like many insurance companies, the impact of technologies like AI is rapidly changing business operations. While the use of new technologies varies significantly based on employees’ roles, the company has made a concerted effort to roll out new people analytics technology and has invested in training. In 2023, Allstate employees completed 139,000 hours of formal training, and 7,000 attended the company’s Global Learning Week focused on development.
Workforce transformation is a complex undertaking, but experts say it’s well worth the effort. Companies that invest in adapting and staying nimble before the market forces them to will see improved performance and employee engagement–and be better positioned to tackle future challenges.
Ready to embark on your workforce transformation journey? Learn more about how Emeritus Enterprise can help you build a custom plan to upskill and reskill employees through online employee training programs.
You're reading What Is Workforce Transformation? Why It Matters And Getting Started
It is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but what is the definition of digital transformation? Digital transformation is the process of utilising new technology to create new business processes that can transcend over all your company departments to meet your changing business and industry needs. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin As part of your digital transformation you need to reimagine how you engage with your customers across sales, marking and customer service; and therefore, how your business operates overall. So, let’s take a look at the types of transformation available…Types of Digital Transformation
There are four types of digital transformation; business process, business model, organisational and domain. The mistake some businesses make is to only focus on process and/or organisational transformation; which means that as a company you are not accessing your full potential. Recognising and exploring the opportunities new technology can offer, in a multi-dimensional way will allow you to get the most out of your digital transformation. Below we discuss the four types of transformation:Business Process Transformation
A great success story of process transformation is when Domino’s Pizza performed a complete overhaul on their food ordering system. Dominos’ AnyWare allows customers to order their food from anywhere, off any device. This transformation meant they put the convenience of the customer first. Sales skyrocketed and in the US Dominos’ overtook Pizza Hut! From data to analytics and API’s to machine learning, technology can offer you new ways toBusiness Model Transformation
Examples of companies who have pursued transformation of a traditional business model are; Uber and Netflix. Uber reinvented the taxi industry and Netflix in the way tv/film is distributed. Fundamentally, business model transformation reinvents the way in which value is delivered in your industry. This is no small undertaking and will heavily rely on the leadership of a strategy team. Often this will be delivered alongside the traditional business operations so as not to cause disruption. Business Model Transformation can offer a company significant opportunity to grow.Organisational Transformation
To undertake a full digital transformation you will be required to redefine your companies mindset; an example of this is Experian. As a consumer credit agency, they reinvented their organisation by driving a major change in their employee focus from equipment to data, across the company. They made it compulsory for their staff to adopt digital workflow practises, but by doing this they were able to demonstrate the value of digital transformation.Domain Transformation
Domain Transformation can offer huge opportunity but often is an area businesses do not focus on. Many companies do not realise that new technology can open up entirely new business directions for their company. Take Amazon, they expanded into a new market with the launch of Amazon Web. In an area which was formally dominated by Microsoft and IBM, Amazon Web is now the largest cloud computing/infrastructure service in this field. Amazon Web Service is not an add on to Amazon, it is an entirely different company but collectively it represents 60% of Amazon’s annual profit.Achieving Digital Transformation Success
As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you a planning to fail.” Pursuing digital transformation might not be quite on the same level as forming the constitution of the United States; but the saying couldn’t be more correct. Building a strategy to ensure aReview, Analyse and Evaluate
Before you even start planning your digital transformation it is vital that you review, analyse and evaluate the processes, policies and habits of each department your transformation will affect. You need to have a clear view of what each departments problems are and challenges they face before you can solve them. The next step is to perform a similar evaluation of your business ‘as a whole’ to identify the overall aims for your transformation. Knowing your organisations current situation and being able to evaluate it with honesty and transparency will provide you with the insight you need. Understanding where you are now, where you want to be and recognising those steps that might form part of your transformation, will provide you with a good foundation to start to plan your project.Clear and Constant Communication
From the project team, to management, to the wider employee body; communicating and making everyone feel like they are fully informed is key. Ensuring that your team can identify and overcome any challenges that may arise will help to keep your project on track. If each person has a thorough understanding of their role, along with all the necessary information to fulfil their tasks and has clear sight of the targets in place, your project should avoid any obstacles. All this is achieved with great communication, so make it your top priority.Continuity and Consistency
Your digital transformation is going to take time and you may encounter problems that mean you have to adapt your plan. Ensuring you keep your long-term goal in sight through each stage and approach challenges with care and consideration should keep your project on track. Just like in the fable ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’; sometimes those that are slow, consistent and show continuity win the race in the end.Sell your idea to everyone and bring them along on the journey
Start at the top with your C-level executives and ensure they fully understand both the immediate and long-term positive benefits of a digital transformation. Providing examples of case studies where a transformation has been successful will also help to explain your vision. Once they are onboard, they will become crucial in selling your transformation to those that will use your new technology the most.Change Management
Change Management should be ongoing throughout your transformation. There will be alterations that need to be made or challenges that cause setbacks, and they need to be managed to ensure they don’t cause delays overall. This will help you to keep in control of your important target dates. When your digital transformation is coming towards the end you need to allow for a period of adjustment. Your employees across all departments involved will require training and you customers or suppliers may need time to engage with your new technology. If your Change Management has been successful, when you get to this transition phase you should have plenty of time for your users to embrace andChoose the right technology provide for you
Deciding which technology provider to team up with is a huge decision, as you need a partner that will guide you along the steep learning curve that is your transformation. A good partner will offer insight from their previous experiences, as well as guide you in terms of timelines and project goals. Your partner should provide your team with training and support which will help to ensure your new technology is embraced across all departments. Embarking upon a digital transformation is an exciting concept. New digital technologies connect people and machines to enable businesses to deliver a service that wasn’t even imaginable back in the age of the rolodex. Finding the right transformation for your business and investing in it will not only revolutionise the way you operate, it will future proof your company.Author:
One of the first questions a lot of businesses have about local SEO is: Do I really need it?
And I get it. You’re busy – your time, budget, and energy are precious resources.
Do you really need another thing to keep up with?
If you want to attract in-store traffic, online or phone orders, appointment bookings, clinic visits, or other business from local consumers, the answer is a definitive YES!Who Benefits From Local SEO And Why?
All types of businesses that interact with and service customers in a specific region can benefit from local SEO.
This includes retail stores, service businesses, restaurants and hotels, hospitals, banks, construction companies, and more.
Here are a few examples.Lawyers And Law Firms
One of the biggest benefits of local SEO for these clients is that Google shows a call button directly in the local search results on mobile phones.
So when a potential client pulls out their phone and does a search for [(type of) attorney], they will see targeted results for their particular location.
When done right, local SEO will push the attorney to the top of the search results for that location, and the dominant call to action will be the “call us” button.
The reason why this is such a huge benefit is that anyone who has been in an accident or has another issue will be on the phone attempting to find attorneys who offer free consultations.
This one avenue offers a way to get in front of those consumers exactly when they need an attorney.Doctors And Medical Practices
When someone is searching for a medical professional, they’re often searching for a [doctor nearby] or a [doctor near me].
Most people don’t want to go out of their way or travel several hours to visit a doctor. They want a nearby doctor who can see them regularly.
If you reference the screenshot below, using the search [doctors near me], there are several benefits of this large local pack result.Plumbers
When someone has an emergency involving plumbing, are they going directly to a store?
No, they usually go to Google to search for [plumber near me].
The Google search results provide an easy way for someone to call a plumber directly, read reviews, and access local plumbers immediately if they have such an emergency.Who Won’t Benefit From Local SEO?
While we would love to see everyone benefit from local SEO and sell these services to more clients as SEO professionals, the reality is that some businesses just don’t lend themselves well to local SEO efforts.
Businesses like online only ecommerce shops, businesses that don’t want to share their local information, and private online sellers who want to keep their information private are likely not great candidates for local SEO services.Local Search Still Needs Organic SEO
Local search rankings appear in the form of the Map Pack on Google, but your site’s organic ranking is an important factor, as well. This helps Google understand your overall prominence, which is one of the three main categories of local ranking signals.
SEO tricks and tactics are long gone, and search has evolved exponentially.
Nowadays, user experience signals, E-A-T, high-quality content, high-quality links, and much higher quality UX rule the game.
But make no mistake: There are still locally enhanced factors of SEO that you need to get right, including:
Finding the right keywords and topics to target as part of your campaign.
Making sure your technical SEO is top-notch.
Ensuring the highest quality content possible.
Earning links to make your website stand out enough in Google’s eyes.
Double-checking and implementing your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information is accurate across many linking sites.
Optimizing for local ranking signals.
With a local focus, many of your standard organic SEO methods may change slightly compared to the more traditional methods that are used for ranking.Local Search Can Be Voice Search, Too
Now that people have more access to devices like smartphones, Amazon Echo, and Google Home, voice search has become a preferred way for many to find local information.
It’s easier to say “find a doctor near me” or “find a plumber near me” for most people than it is to type.
Thus, it isn’t surprising to see a rise in local queries based on conversational voice search.
If your industry is service-oriented, try out keyword variations that include questions.
Semrush’s topic research tool, chúng tôi and AnswerThePublic all provide ways to see questions people are searching for, along with their search volume.
This is an excellent way to target keywords that have local intent.
If your industry is a local brick-and-mortar, service-related business, like a restaurant or an attorney or lawyer, try keyword variations with a conversational tone and focus.
You may be surprised by the search volume you can achieve when you do keyword research in this way.Local Search Is Mobile Search
We know that a sizable portion of local searches happen on local devices, and that mobile-friendliness is a Google ranking factor.
What do these facts and the mobile-first index mean for your local SEO strategy?
Google has done the work of optimizing Map Pack listings for mobile searchers. But it’s up to you to create that user-friendly, convenient experience on your website – and to ensure Google understands that via good technical SEO.
Search Engine Journal’s Roger Montti shares an overview of what that entails in ‘7 Ways a Mobile-First Index Impacts SEO,’ part of SEJ’s free Advanced Technical SEO Guide.Local SEO Needs A Dedicated Strategy
But, that doesn’t mean it needs to take up a lot more of your time.
In the next chapter, you’ll find a nine-step checklist to guide your new or improved local SEO strategy.
Then, we’ll dig into the various aspects of it and you’ll find experts tips and tools to bring it all together.
Download the full guide for free here.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal
Want to improve your appearance in search results? Then you need to know how to implement schema markup.
Getting started with schema can be confusing – it can be a very technical process.
But any SEO can implement schema correctly without the help of a developer.
Here’s what you’ll need to implement schema microdata:What You Need To Know About Schema
It’s important to understand where enhancements can be made for your specific industry. Staying focused on what enhancements will actually show up with the search results will help you prioritize what type of markup to concentrate on first.
Don’t get hung up on getting every bit of information that might be listed in the chúng tôi library when doing your research.
While having markup markup on your web page as possible is ideal for all the search engines, it’s also important to understand exactly why you wanted to implement schema in the first place and not lose focus from that primary business objective.
Common enhancements that motivate site managers to implement schema:
Image is shown with my search result
Aggregate ratings shown with my search results
Upcoming events shown with my search results
Address to be known by the search results
There is definitely a lot more that can be done. Keep reading for specific and common enhancements later in this post.How to Implement Structured Data Using HTML
If you use a content management system (CMS) that allows you the functionality to switch to a text editor then you can easily add in markup tags to give your HTML content. If you’ve never done this before, the process is very simple.
Let’s use Devil’s Teeth Baking Company in San Francisco as an example of a local business to see how to markup the business name, address, and phone number. (Yes, I do eat here.)
There is currently no schema markup for this page, but the address is clearly shown in the hero image on the home page:
The HTML text code displays the following:
We can enhance this homepage content by adding a few HTML tags to tell the search engine the address of this business using the existing content on the page.
This might seem messy, but if you take the time to digest it, we really just added two div tags and a few span tags and put in the properties like a local business, telephone, street address, region, image and postal code names within those tags.
The end result if you put this code snippet into Google’s structured data tool is this:
As you can see my LocalBusiness markup has a warning for the price range. Seeing as I did not have the price range from the hero image I used for this example, I omitted it.
Whenever you implement schema, keep tabs on errors. When the structured data markup tool detects errors the SERPs will not show any of the schema markups with an error. But warnings will still populate the other schema tags you have in place.Process to Find the Right Markup
The above example had the goal in mind to mark the specific information on the page to have LocalBusiness information that search engines can understand. This markup will help the search engine understand that locality of the business with the intent to hopefully perform better in local search. That is a simple enough business objective.
You can determine what markup is needed for your business by taking into account what your business does, and where your audience is.
If you serve customers from a physical address then a local business markup should be included in your page.
If you sell products online, then your product pages should have the correct product markup.
If you host events then you would want to markup the event information with the correct event markup.
You can markup your entire page and the more your do, the more it will assist the search engine to understand your content better, which is the job of any SEO. Markup is also going to help you stay on top tomorrow’s world of voice search.
You can easily find the specific schema markup you need on chúng tôi and sift through the full list of what you might need and what schema microdata is available.Copy, Swap, and Paste from chúng tôi Examples
This is a simple method that is easy to use. Look up the markup you need through schema.org’s site search. I will show this process with an example of a product markup.
Follow the link above and at the bottom you should find 3 examples of content being marked up on the bottom. They are divided into 4 tabs for each example.
We will look at example 2 because this example is the most in depth for a product markup.
This product markup has everything you would probably need to enhance your search result as it includes the product name, the aggregate rating, the price, and will alert the customer that this product is currently in stock. All of these elements, by the way, will show up in a product image search on a mobile device.
If you run an e-commerce site and want to use this markup, you would simply copy this code and swap out the areas with information related to your product. This is simple enough to do, and you can check your implementation using the structured data testing tool. Run your code implementation through the tool and check for errors.
Tip: Try running the code first and opening up the areas Google has already identified.
So, if you’re confused about how to swap out specific elements, just find the elements that directly apply to what you’re looking for. The tool will split your code into two views: the left side will be for your code, which you are free to edit. The right side is the schema validations that you can use as a guide to toggle through the code. This process is straightforward, find what you need and swap!
This is the simplest method to implementing structured data if you have no technical background in working with HTML.Using the JSON-LD Examples
I like to use the JSON-LD example because it is less intrusive than the HTML markup.
A lot of SEOs are adamant about not using hidden HTML content. The JSON-LD markup allows you to markup your web page without it being seen by the end user as it is done in JSON code and not visible HTML.
With this, you are able to add all the markup needed and not hinder the visual look of your web page with unnecessary text.
Take this code and try editing the existing JSON-LD example within the script tags and pasting it into the text editor of your content management system.
I prefer this implementation over HTML markup because you won’t stir up the wrath of your web designers with this method.Learn From Your Competitors
If you notice a competitor having a better search result than you do than analyze what markup they are using by placing their URL into the structured data testing tool.
You can run any page through Google’s Structured Data Tool to see how they are implementing their structured data. If you use the exact same schema markup that your competitors use, then your web page will also get those rich enhancements.
If you can’t tell by now the structured data testing tool is essential to doing any of this correctly.Common Markup You Should Use
Let’s go through some common markups that will enhance your search results.Product Markup
In StockRecipe Markup
Recipe InstructionsEvent Markup
Event Start Date
Event Location Name
Event Address Locality
Event Address RegionKey Takeaways
Using schema is essential to any successful SEO strategy. Schema is only going to become more important as people increasingly use voice search.
Search engines like Google tell us exactly which bits of information they think is the most important to markup, based on how they design the look of the search results. By seeing what enhancements are made and what exactly will set off an error message we can tell that Google has collected all the data they need to let us know what is commonly being searched for.
Featured Image: Created by Author
In-Post Images: Screenshots by Author taken July 2023
A glance at your Mac’s Activity Monitor will reveal a process called WindowServer at the top section of the list. It is one of the many system processes that your Mac cannot do without.
In this explainer, we’ll walk you through the nature of the WindowServer and what it does on your Mac. We’ll also cover reasons why the process is always running in the background, and what to do when it becomes a CPU hog.
Table of ContentsWhat is WindowServer on Mac?
WindowsServer is a central component of the Mac operating system that’s responsible for projecting the visual interface of applications on your screen. The WindowServer also manages other important system graphical user interfaces (GUI) like the Dock and Menu Bar. Every single thing that comes on your Mac’s screen was made possible by the WindowsServer.
macOS starts WindowServer automatically when you log in to your Mac. The process will stay active in the background, powering the graphical/visual interface of all applications until you log out or shut down your Mac. Asides from providing graphical support to applications, some background applications without a user-facing interface also rely heavily on the WindowServer.Is WindowServer Safe?
WindowServer on Mac is a harmless system process. If anything, it helps applications and other system processes function correctly. You should only worry about WindowServer when it overburdens the CPU, raises fan noise, or slows down your Mac’s performance.
You may be tempted to force-quit WindowServer if you find it using an insane amount of CPU resources in the Activity Monitor, but you shouldn’t. You can’t use your Mac without this process running in the background.
Force-quitting WindowServer will close all active applications, refresh the operating system, and log you out of your Mac. When you sign back in, macOS will automatically launch WindowServer in the background again and the cycle continues. That goes to show how important the process is to the proper functioning of your Mac.
Despite being a safe system process, WindowServer sometimes causes your Mac to malfunction. In the next section, we explain why that happens and how to nip WindowServer’s high CPU usage in the bud.What Causes WindowServer High CPU Usage (And How to Fix)
Naturally, WindowServer’s CPU and memory consumption will depend on the number of active applications using the process on your Mac. However, the following factors can result in high CPU usage issues:1. You Have Too Many Items On Your Desktop
Remember that everything on your Mac’s display was put there by the WindowServer. The more items (icons, files, folders, etc.) there are on your desktop, the more processing power required by WindowServer to keep them there.
If WindowServer is using excessive CPU power and there are over 50 items on your desktop, delete unnecessary files and icons. Better yet, move them to a single folder on the desktop.2. Too Many Active Apps and Windows
Having too many active apps and windows may also cause WindowServer CPU usage to skyrocket. Close unnecessary windows and applications that you aren’t using.3. A Buggy Program Is Causing the Problem
If WindowServer’s CPU usage shoots through the roof only when you launch a particular application, the app most likely has a bug causing it to malfunction. To pinpoint the app causing the problem, close all active applications and relaunch them one at a time. Use an application for at least 3-5 minutes and check the WindowServer usage in the Activity Monitor.
If an application abnormally spikes WindowServer’s CPU consumption, update the app and check if that fixes the problem. Otherwise, contact the app developer to file a bug report.4. Your Gaming Mouse Is Another Potential Culprit
Some Mac users noted that using a gaming mouse on their devices caused WindowServer on Mac to use a lot of CPU power. Disconnect any gaming accessory connected to your Mac and check if that reduces WindowServer CPU usage.5. Visual Effects and Animation
macOS ships with a “Transparency” feature that blurs the background of active windows against your desktop picture. While this feature adds some sort of aesthetic effect and visual to app windows, it could cause the WindowServer to consume high CPU power—particularly when you have too many windows open.6. Multiple Virtual Desktop or External Monitor Setup
WindowServer consumes more CPU power and memory if you use an external display. The process uses even more processing power to transmit visuals to multiple monitors. If you use multiple displays with your Mac, disconnect one monitor and see if that reduces WindowServer CPU usage.
If the problem continues, return to the Mission Control menu and uncheck Displays have separate Spaces.
Note: Disabling “Displays have separate Spaces” in Mission Control will reduce WindowServer’s CPU usage, but your external monitor may go blank if you use an application in full-screen mode.WindowServer on Mac Simplified
Hopefully, you now know what WindowServer is and why the process runs in the background at all times.
HDMI 2.1a is the latest HDMI standard, supporting higher video resolutions, frame rates, and bandwidth capabilities. It also comes with a stack of new features which offer drastic improvements for gamers, including reduced screen lag and stuttering.
In this article, we’ll explain what HDMI 2.1a is and then dive into its features so you know what to expect from this new technology.
Table of ContentsWhat Is HDMI 2.1a?
High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is one of the standard audio/video interfaces allowing video transmission from a source device to a display.
With the expected release date earlier in 2023, HDMI 2.1a is HDMI’s new standard. It boasts a suite of upgrades, including support for higher resolutions, improved frame rates, HDR video, and much higher bandwidth capacity.
HDMI 2.1a uses the same connector as previous HDMI versions and has backward compatibility.What Are the New Features of HDMI 2.1a?
HDMI 2.1a has a stack of new features that improve the quality of video and gaming, such as support for much higher resolutions and refresh rates.
Higher resolutions: HDMI 2.1a supports 8K 60Hz and 4K 120Hz, as well as 5K and 10K resolutions (for commercial AV).
Dynamic HDR: Dynamic High Dynamic Range (HDR) offers an increase in contrast and visual quality. HDMI 2.1a supports multiple formats for both static and dynamic HDR metadata, including HDR10+ (the dynamic version of HDR10). This is big news because unlike existing HDR formats such as Dolby Vision which are proprietary (meaning manufacturers need to pay licensing fees to use it), HDR10+ has no licensing fees.
Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM): Generally, tone mapping is performed by the display. SBTM is an HDR feature that uses the content source (such as the game console or computer) to perform the processing behind tone mapping. This helps the display perform better with varying SDR, HDR, and dynamic HDR inputs.
Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable: The new HDMI 2.1 specification comes with a new cable specification that has an increased bandwidth capability of up to 48Gbps (up from 18Gbps with HDMI 2.0).
HDMI Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC): eARC replaces the previous Audio Return Channel (ARC), providing greater audio optimization for multiple connected components. It supports high-bitrate audio formats up to 192kHz, 24-bit in uncompressed 5.1, 7.1, or 32-channel audio (including Dolby Atmos). With eARC, users can connect all devices to their TV then run a single HDMI to their soundbar for lossless, high-quality audio, which simplifies setups.
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR): One of the new enhanced gaming features, VRR reduces screen lag and stutter for smoother gameplay by allowing the gaming console to deliver frames as fast as it can.
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM): ALLM automatically sets the ideal latency setting depending on the video source. For gaming consoles or computers, low latency mode will be set to enable lag-free viewing. For video, low latency will be disabled so that video quality is optimized.
Quick Frame Transport (QFT): Another gaming feature, QFT helps reduce latency by increasing the speed of transporting frames via the cable. This reduces the display lag and improves responsiveness.
Quick Media Switching (QMS): QMS uses VRR technology to allow instant changes between videos with different frame rates. This helps to eliminate A/V blackouts that were common with previous HDMI versions.
HDMI cable power: HDMI 2.1 cables can transfer power to supported devices, meaning a separate power cable is unnecessary.
For more information, see the HDMI specifications page on HDMI.org.Is HDMI 2.1a The Future of A/V?
HDMI has quickly become the industry standard A/V interface. Compared with other interfaces like DisplayPort, HDMI supports a far wider range of devices. But do you need to upgrade as soon as possible?
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