Microsoft’s new collaboration offering, the Surface Hub, is set to revolutionise workplace meetings, filling a void between technologies available to individuals, and those available for groups.
New Surface Hub devices will arrive in Australia next month, and we’re seeing a high level of interest among our clients.
But what is it about the new Surface Hub that is creating so much interest?
Technology has not kept pace with changes in the workplace
More than 50% of meetings now involve remote participants, and a large number of workers participate on mobile devices. Meetings in the workplace today are very different from those taking place even a few years ago.
To encourage collaboration, many workspaces are being redesigned with new areas, like huddle spaces.
While technologies like video conferencing have enhanced the meeting experience, they have their limitations. While they’ve enabled video, none has given participants a mechanism to truly collaborate, particularly those joining meetings remotely.
Surface Hub is the first of its kind
Microsoft’s Surface Hub combines the best of Microsoft hardware, software, and productivity services in a single package. Designed for the modern workplace, it integrates seamlessly with Microsoft platforms, to transform group productivity and enhance collaboration.
Surface Hub is designed to replicate an in-person large group experience for remote participants. It also enhances the productivity of a large in-person group meeting through the white board, Skype, office integrations, etc.
Microsoft goes as far as predicting this device will be as transformative for group productivity as the PC was for individuals.
A big call I’m sure you’ll agree, but let’s look at some of the features, and what they’ll deliver.
Research shows quantifiable benefits
A February 2016 report by Forrester The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Surface Hub estimated an ROI of 138% over 3 years, and a payback of about nine months.
Based on a survey of early adopters of Surface Hub, Forrester identified 5 key economic benefits:
- Pre- and post-meeting productivity improvements of 75% in the first year
- Room equipment cost avoidance of more than $8,000 or more per room, for equipment install or refresh
- Reduction in printing costs of about $9,000 in the first year – helping eliminate the need for printed materials for note-taking and annotation
- Improved sales of 20% for in-person sales meetings conducted in a Surface Hub meeting room
- Improved collaboration, higher quality of developed goods and services, and better and faster business decisions
Most attractive features for the enterprise
There are a host of new features in the Surface Hub device. I’d like to highlight 5 that seem to me to be the most significant for our enterprise clients:
- Enhances user experience and makes meetings more engaging and productive – reduces set-up times, makes remote users feel like they’re part of the conversation, and the large interactive touchscreen encourages collaboration
- Links seamlessly with Microsoft Windows platform – runs Universal Apps natively without the need for new coding, comes with familiar Microsoft apps like Skype for Business, OneNote, and Office
- Streamlines workflow and facilitates brainstorming – users can work simultaneously (including annotation) on content from a variety of sources
- Efficient and secure meeting wrap up – content is automatically shared with participants at the end of each meeting, and the device wipes itself clean
- Simplifies meetings – they can happen in any communal space, and people don’t have to wrestle with wiring, cables and switching between laptops
A number of the early adopters among our clients are already keen to install the new Surface Hub. They’re waiting expectantly for the imminent Australian launch.
While most reviewers focus on the technology features, it seems to me the main benefits are around powerful team collaboration.
In many client organisations, collaboration is now a key element of the IT strategy. An IT Manager said to me recently, “For a long time, collaboration was seen as a nice to have rather than a must have. Now it’s part of our IT strategy.
We look forward to working with clients to implement the new Surface Hub. Integrated with their existing Microsoft productivity platform, it will deliver an immersive and productive collaboration experience that delivers real benefits.
Stock will be limited at first, so contact Ensyst for more information about Microsoft Surface Hub delivery and pricing.