- Surface Hub has the most integrated and natural experience in a digital whiteboard yet. We’ve been wowed by devices that cost $100,000 or more, and underwhelmed by lower cost devices that try to deliver the breadth of what Microsoft is offering here. Sensors that detect your proximity to light up the screen, automatically launching the whiteboard application when you pick up the pen, and wide angle cameras that show you clearly when you’re right up against the screen are nice touches. Microsoft also has an advantage over other vendors with custom versions of OneNote and Skype for Business optimized for Surface Hub in a custom Windows 10 shell.
- Surface Hub isn't in a new category; it's a leading example of a complete solution. Some digital whiteboards lack videoconferencing, can’t run different Windows applications, or don’t allow multiple participants to share content. Pure videoconferencing solutions miss on two of these points. Surface Hub does all three, but so have some other competitors for years — see the MondoPad, for instance. We provide an overview of these tools and their key features in our report Whiteboard Applications Meld Presentation With Collaboration.
- Companies looking at Microsoft for the conference room have two options. Microsoft’s reference architecture for Lync Room Systems (sold by Crestron, Polycom, and Smart) also combines digital whiteboards with videoconferencing. Buyers will have to make the comparison between these purely Lync-optimized solutions and a more flexible Windows 10 experience in Surface Hub that can run multiple applications on the same screen. No announcement on pricing yet, but we also expect these devices will cost more than Lync Room Systems.
- Whiteboard Applications Meld Presentation With Collaboration
- How Smart Companies Use Smart Meeting Room Technology
For more insights on Microsoft's announcements at today's event, including HoloLens, view my colleagues blog posts: