Microsoft wasn’t shy about unveiling the Surface Hub at yesterday’s event. This 84” computing device was on stage, front and center from the get go. The Surface Hub was designed for the meeting room, where groups of people work together to share ideas and make decisions. It’s always easier to visualize something when you can see it in front of you, and that is what Microsoft aims to achieve with the Surface Hub.
“We want every meeting to be great, where things just click. Where ideas flow and work gets done. The problem is, technology hasn’t been designed for the way we want to work together.” - Microsoft
The Surface Hub comes with a 55 or 84” 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate. That means the display refreshes every 8.33 milliseconds making for buttery smooth visuals, animations, and transitions. To make the experience even better, Microsoft will ship the Surface Hub with fourth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors.
You may have noticed that the Hub comes with two cameras on either side of the display, these cameras are full-HD and work together to produce a super wide-angle image of virtually the entire room so that those watching will have everyone in sight. The cameras can also follow speakers and focus on them as they walk around the room. An array of directional microphones similar to the ones used in the Xbox Kinect sensor also support speakers to ensure that their voice is heard loud and clear while background noises are eliminated. Other sensors let the Surface Hub know when people are nearby, so it instantly wakes up and is ready to go.
“With advanced technology for the modern workplace, and the flexibility to turn any room into a collaboration space, Surface Hub integrates beautifully into the modern workplace, enabling productivity in any kind of space where people come together to get things done, from large conference rooms to informal huddle spaces. The interface is simple and consistent from room to room, making it easy for anyone to walk up and start using, even if they are visiting from another office or another company.” - Microsoft
Powered by Windows 10, Microsoft built the Surface Hub to offer the best possible digital tools for brainstorming and collaboration. It has a “OneNote-based Whiteboard” that users can work on simultaneously. Content on the Hub can be shared wirelessly via Miracast-connected devices so meeting participants can view and manipulate the content on their own devices. With such an intuitive tool, collaboration becomes seamless, instant, and barrier-free.
“The integrated design means it’s as easy to deploy as it is to use. You only need to plug in power, connect to Wi-Fi and you’re up and running. And carts and stands will make it easy to move from room to room.” - Microsoft
Windows 10 and its unified store allows developers to create apps on the large screen in mind for devices like the Xbox One and Surface Hub, opening a new door of opportunities to thrive on. As for consumers, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until Microsoft is ready to bring large screens to homes. After all, the company already has most of the main ingredients to make that happen.