At an event in New York City today, Microsoft debuted the Surface Hub 2S to the press. It’s the company’s latest office collaboration platform with a 50.5-inch 4K touchscreen display, a 3:2 aspect ratio and a webcam. It’s battery powered for when you want to wheel it away from a wall.
This feature makes it mobile, and Surface head Panos Panay said this will make the work displays mobile in a way that laptops made desktop-powered computing more portable. It comes with a stylus for whiteboarding, as well.
It uses a suite of Microsoft 365 apps and has Microsoft Teams on board. There’s a whiteboard app for sketching out ideas. .The 4K camera has a 90-degree field of view, and the speakers include tweeters and a subwoofer in the back
For now, the Surface Hub 2S is running the same software as the existing Surface Hub, so it’s simply more more beautiful and more powerful. The more advanced version, the Surface Hub 2X, is scheduled for 2020 with rotation, the ability to be used as tiles to make a larger screen and support for multiple user accounts. Users can upgrade with a computing cartridge that fits in the back of the Surface Hub 2S.
“People are spending more time right now collaboration than they ever have before,” he said. ”This is worldwide.” People, he suggested, are the biggest asset. Hearing intonation, seeing facial expressions, no matter how a group is spread out, makes teamwork more effective. In a demonstration meeting, presenters invited the Hub to a meeting, just like a member. Each user showed up in 1080p on the display.
Microsoft partnered with office design, collaboration and furniture company Steelcase, and the event was held in the latter company’s offices.
James P. Keane, CEO of Steelcase, discussed the challenges of innovation and making people work differently with cultures focused on teamwork, as well as the technologies that enable it, like cloud computing.
“Space is a bit of an anchor,” Keane said. He said Steelcase built new spaces, some in warehouses. Those included less fixed furniture that could be moved around with people. But it also need to focus on the needs of individuals within those teams, But the one that worked most with Microsoft’s new Surface Hub 2 was the meeting room, allowing for “active collaboration”
Keane introduced Steelcase’s Flex Collection, furniture that moves on wheels, walls for privacy and whiteboards that can be dragged around, all pointing to an office with furniture that doesn’t stay in one place. Among those is the Steelcase Roam, a stand designed for the Surface Hub.
Among the other items in the collection, even the standing desks can move. For individuals, there are boundary devices, as well as larger ones with sound-absorption to make makeshift rooms.
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