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Make 2019 the year of collaboration screens

November 19, 2018

Make 2019 the year of collaboration screens

In our last blog, we looked at conference room camera technology to watch in 2019. Continuing our series, we again asked two of Ingram Micro’s in-house UCC experts—Curt Vurpillat and Chad Simon—to discuss the latest collaboration screen technology. If your customers are seeking new ways to work together more efficiently and effectively, here are some things to look for and products you might want to consider.

If you aren’t familiar with collaboration screens, think of a large (55 inches and bigger) display, often touchscreen, that usually has an onboard computer, integrated camera and microphones, pens/styli for writing, and built-in collaboration tools. These screens grew in popularity in the education market but have gained a lot of interest in the corporate setting. There’s a variety of different brands and models available today. Some brands you might want to look at include the Cisco Webex Board (formerly the Cisco Spark Board), InFocus Mondopad, Microsoft Surface Hub and SMART Board.

As you evaluate these solutions for your customers, here are some aspects to consider. 

Size and location—these solutions can be wall mounted or placed in a mobile stand, so you’ll want to ask your customers where they want the screens located and if they’d like them to be mobile. In either case, you should also account for space limitations and maximum viewing distance to select the correct size displays.

What’s under the hood—the onboard computers running these powerful devices will rely on some version of Android or Windows, which may or may not matter to you or your customers.

Interoperability—most of these units will connect seamlessly with a variety of PCs, laptops and mobile devices, along with the corresponding Windows, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems. However, you should still make sure whatever you select is compatible with your customers’ preferred devices.

Touch functionality—most of the devices offer various levels of touch interactivity; however, it’s possible to get a unit that doesn’t offer touch. When it comes to interactivity, brands and models will offer various levels depending on your needs. Some provide the ability to have multiple fingers, pens and erasers working on the board at the same time.

Voice, video and chat—if your customers already have an investment in voice, video and chat, you’ll need to ensure that the software is compatible with the collaboration screen. Some brands require you to use their tools, which may or may not be an issue.

Connectivity—all the devices come with an assortment of audio-video inputs and outputs, but you’ll still want to make sure you know what your customers are interested in connecting.

Additional costs/savings—some devices will require a monthly subscription to take advantage of certain features. Alternatively, some devices include a licensed copy of Microsoft Office, and some handle their own over-the-air updates, reducing the expenses of admin and upkeep.

If you’d like more information on collaboration screen technology and how it might be used to benefit your customers, contact Ingram Micro today.