Microsoft launched the Surface Hub at the Windows 10 Preview event back in January 2015. Even though it was delayed twice and eventually went on sale for $2,000 more than the expected price, sales have exceeded expectations. The collaborative device, which starts at $8,999 for the 55 inches and $21,999 for the 84 inches, started shipping in March this year and has been purchased by more than 500 customers worldwide.
With regards to availability, Microsoft told Petri, “Demand for Surface Hubs is robust and exceeded initial forecasts. To date, we’ve shipped to over 500 customers worldwide, and that number continues to grow. We are ramping up production to meet this strong demand via our partner reseller channel as soon as possible. Customers are encouraged to speak with their sales representative if interested in ordering Surface Hubs.” If you are thinking of investing in a Surface Hub, we look at how to get the most out of the collaboration device when you eventually get your hands on it.
What is the Microsoft Surface Hub?
The Surface Hub is a combination of a team collaboration device, smart whiteboard, and conferencing system all rolled into one. With its focus on business collaboration, the Surface Hub comes with a custom version of Windows 10, a built-in computer, mics, cameras, and sensors. The Surface Hub can run any Windows 10 Universal app but won’t run desktop and tablet-specific apps.
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Apart from size and a $13,000 price difference, the 84-inch model comes with a 4th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, compared to the i5 in the 55-inch model. It also has a 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160, and when it comes to graphics, it has a NVIDIA Quadro K2200. Apart from these differences, both models offer the same functionality.
Availability of the Surface Hub
At this stage, the Surface Hub is shipping in 24 select markets only, including the U.S., U.K, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, UAE, and Germany.
Tips to get the most out of the Surface Hub
The Surface Hub is not a storage device
It is important to remember that the Surface Hub is a communal collaboration device and not a personal storage device. Once a colleague is finished using the Surface Hub, after a 10-second countdown, the collaboration device will be wiped and automatically resets itself for the next user.
Tip: While the Surface Hub can run any Windows Universal app, only necessary apps should be downloaded to the Surface Hub.
To ensure you don’t lose your work on the Surface Hub, make sure you first log into Microsoft Office 360. You can then select to save your resources to SharePoint or OneDrive. Alternatively, you can project your phone, tablet, or laptop screen to the Surface Hub (see tip below).
Project from a smaller device to the Surface Hub
When it comes to a business presentation with multiple presenters involved, the Surface Hub can easily switch between smaller devices, like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Using either the Connect app or Miracast, anyone in the company can easily project their device wirelessly onto the larger Surface Hub.
Conference calls with Skype for Business.
When you combine the Surface Hub with Skype for Business, you can conduct a conference call or training session with up to 250 people. In addition, you will be able to share documents, demo systems, conduct presentations, draw sketches, and more with all these people.
The limitations of Skype for Business require that outgoing calls are to other Skype Business accounts. If you need to have a conference call with non-business account holders, there is a workaround.