I work for a large electronics manufacturer and the move to better displays for industrial equipment is happening, albeit slowly. As suggested above, it was often an engineer who was left to design the display too. This was usually of secondary importance to the function of the device itself. That's starting to change in our company where new products often get a UX team and a designer to upgrade the display and interface. Better, more detailed, more accurate displays are a competitive advantage, so I think we will see more of it in the future.
The other thing that will upgrade industrial displays is the Internet Of Things (IOT). Many of these devices -- metering equipment, sensors, etc. -- send data to the net. This has the effect of shifting the display from the device to the web and one of the screens we use everyday -- desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. Once the display is on those screens, it will look and behave like other sophisticated data visualization apps we have come to expect.
The device itself will probably retain a basic display to show that it is on and receiving/transmitting data, but the more detailed display will be pushed to the web. A consumer example of this is Fitbit's wristband: it has a minimal device display and a really detailed display on the web.