Microsoft has begun to ship the Surface Hub. The extra-large replacements to digital whiteboards ship in two variants. Available in two humongous sizes, the 55″ and 80″, the Surface Hubs are intended to boost collaborative productivity and offer a smooth integration between virtual office and traditional note-taking.
— Surface (@surface) March 25, 2016
Brian Hall, general manager of Microsoft’s devices marketing division, confirmed that the Microsoft Surface Hub has finally begun to ship to customers who had pre-booked the same. Though these are named Surface, after the powerful, portable and versatile laptops offered by the company, these touch-based devices are in no way meant to accompany wherever you go. These rather humongous devices are available in 55″ and 80″ sizes, and are meant to be mounted on a wall, preferably in the conference room, where staff and board meetings are common. The company, too, states that the devices are geared more towards businesses and other establishments that need collaborative tools, noted Hall.
“We have built Surface Hub as a group. We have been building our Surface products with Surface Hub. Even more importantly, we have seen how innovative businesses and partners have embraced this opportunity to pioneer new ways for groups to work together. They have been our inspiration.”
Prices for the Surface Hub start at $8,999 for the 55-inch display, while the 80-incher will set you back by $21,999, reported Bilbaoya. Though these prices may seem steep, the innards and the functions these devices offer could easily offer savings that more than make up for the initial investment.
Hall added that these devices are already being used in a variety of environments that need active collaboration. Quite a few of these Surface Hubs are already setup and functioning in a number of organizations, including the European School of Management and Technology, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Barlit Beck, SHoP Architects, AstraZeneca, and more, reported Digital Trends.
As an example of the versatility, Hall noted that the hospital has already discarded their whiteboard system used to manage schedules of doctors and staff. Using Surface Hubs instead, allows dynamic integration with the backend attendance systems, giving even higher degree of control of job allocation and ensuring all of the staff members get enough breaks. In a corporate environment, Surface Hubs are already working wonders in meeting rooms and other collaboration spaces. Some offices have claimed these devices have boosted remote attendance and post-meeting productivity by about 75 percent. As a direct advantage of dynamic editing tools inbuilt into the Surface Hub, the devices have made pen and paper obsolete, saving a huge bundle in printing costs.
Speaking about the software, a typical Microsoft Surface Hub runs on a custom edition of the company’s latest unified Operating System (OS), Windows 10. The devices come preinstalled with Universal Windows Platform-based apps such as Skype for Business, Office, and OneNote. However, their usage is exponentially increased by the touchscreen function.
The Surface Hubs are essentially an insanely large Windows 10 touchscreen tablet, powered by powerful hardware. The 55-inch model sports a 1,920×1,080 resolution with 120Hz refresh rate, a 1,300:1 contrast ratio. The screen contains an optically bonded sensor capable of 100-point multi-touch input. 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD are coupled with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, and Intel HD 4600 graphics.
— Actualidad Gadget (@agadget) March 26, 2016
The 80-inch model ups the screen resolution to 3,840×2,160, and a contrast ratio of 1,400:1, with the same refresh rate. The only difference from its smaller sibling is a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, and Nvidia’s Quadro K2200 dedicated graphics chip. Both the devices come with a variety of communication ports as well as two built-in 1080p cameras, a microphone, two powered pens, infrared, imaging, and depth sensors, and include accessories like the wireless All-In-One keyboard.
Offices have always dreamt of having a versatile whiteboard that offered dynamic manipulation, which would be reflected, in real-time, on the devices used by the attendees. Now that the Microsoft Surface hubs have begun to ship, it is finally possible.
[Image via YouTube]