By Corey Moss
OK, I figured it’s about time to put a certain end to this madness, with all of the collaborative display boards that are introduced to the AV market during the year along with the multitude that are brought to the trade shows. While I wasn’t physically present at ISE, I know that a slew of interactive displays and whiteboards were brought to the show – most notably Cisco with the Spark Board and InFocus with the Mondopad Ultra (which launched in late 2016). I say most notably as they seemed to generate the most buzz, however you can certainly pick from the 50 or so that did actually show up. I say 50 or so, it could have been 100 for all I know.
We know how it all began. We know how it all progressed. What we don’t know is where it all truly ends.
However let’s try to figure this out here, eh?
First, the Cisco Spark Board made its grand trade show entrance at ISE 2017, though it actually launched in January at a major Cisco event presided over by Rowan Trollope, SVP & GM, Internet of Things (IoT) and Applications Division. The coverage of the Spark Board at ISE was actually, well, Cisco-esque to say the least. It begs the question though of course in terms of why, as opposed to every other solution brought to market over the last year or so, the Spark Board is the way to go? It’s a device that combines videoconferencing, digital presenting, and digital whiteboarding into an all-in-one unit. OK, that’s what we get in many of the others. What’s added to that though is the fact that it’s powered by its Cisco Spark cloud-based collaboration platform, one that’s challenging well-known applications like Slack, HipChat, Microsoft Teams and others. Cisco’s advantage just may be their interactive collaborative display board, to go hand-in-hand with the app. If you are a Spark user that is.
Rowan Trollope presentation from Cisco launch of the Spark Board
As for when I refer to how it all progressed, you (along with myself) likely think of the InFocus Mondopad. Yes, SMART was the originator (thus, how it all began) with the SMART Board, however while it fit well into education, they could never truly figure out how to make it work in the business space. InFocus did that when they introduced the Mondopad, and it took over that market almost immediately, along with the education space. Other companies like Sharp existed in the space (and still do), however InFocus is the only one that has truly built upon generations of interactive touchscreen display solutions with Mondopad, JTouch, Big Touch and Q Tablet. Here’s their full line of collaborative touchpanel products including the new Mondopad Ultra.
Next, the Microsoft Surface Hub. Microsoft brought the Surface Hub to ISE in 2015 and it immediately gained notoriety with the international attendee public, making its way next to InfoComm, where again Microsoft attracted great numbers of attendees to their booth. Although they faced the “challenge” after InfoComm through early 2016 in terms of shipping mass product to their partners across the world, it proved to be an outstanding year for Microsoft and the Surface Hub after all was said and done. Now the Surface Hub is brought to the major trade shows by their partners as well as solutions providers (like Pexip).
Then, there’s the Google Jamboard – marketed as the collaborative, cloud-first whiteboard (BenQ America is their exclusive distributor partner). Brought to market with a certain fanfare in late 2016, the Jamboard looks to be a product that will fit well into the small meeting and huddle room environment. My perspective even takes it to the open office setting where it’s conveniently wheeled around on its stand from one impromptu meeting location to another. For those companies that are standardized on G-Suite by Google Cloud (formerly Google Apps for Work), this no doubt presents a win for them.
Finally, where you talk about honorable mention let’s consider NEC with the InfinityBoard which was announced in late January. Why? Because they’re NEC of course – and when don’t you consider NEC as a player in any market they’re involved in.
Then there’s one that employs IBM Watson-powered technology – however that’s a story for another day.
That’s it. If you want to add any more to the equation that’s up to you. For me, this is already enough to choose from.
With almost 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent Tech – online publications (Convergent Tech Blog and Convergent AV) and consulting. Corey writes for the publications and hosts/produces podcasts – ‘Convergent Tech Blog Discussion’ (on Convergent Tech Blog) and ‘The AV Life’ and ‘The Edge of AV’, both on Convergent AV. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.