MICROSOFT HAS used Computex as a platform to announce its new Windows Collaboration Displays.
If you've seen the Surface Hub, you're well on the way to understanding what these new displays are about - the difference being the floor has been opened up to third-party developers - in the first instance Sharp and Avocor.
Equipped with a whole bundle of sensors powered by Microsoft Azure IoT, Windows Collaboration Displays (WCD) will hook up to Windows 10 machines, and as well as providing a virtual whiteboard in the way of the Surface Hub. They will also use their built-in sensors to control the room environment by hooking up to the heating or aircon.
Unlike the Surface Hub, which is self-contained, the WCD range will require a host computer, making it less of a self-contained meeting room system and more of a ruddy great monitor on the wall.
It could even hook up to the meeting room diary and set the room up for a meeting proactively, before going on to "silent running" when it isn't in use to save energy.
The platform requires hardware to include far-field microphones (for Cortana) and a video camera (for conference video calls).
In addition, there'll be a high-resolution screen, multi-touch, stylus support, stereo speakers and a built-in coffee maker.
OK, perhaps not the last one.
Basically, the whole thing is designed to be a huge repository for using Microsoft's productivity tools like Office and Teams in a more group friendly way. If your office has already upgraded to Windows 10, it'll work out a lot cheaper too.
The Surface Hub clocks in at around £25k for the 84-inch version in the UK (how?) so any cheaper alternative to encourage a bit more inclusivity for smaller businesses is a good thing.
That £25k doesn't allow for the 2.1 per cent rebate you can get from TopCashBack. µ
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