Impressions of the Surface Hub Part 1

I’ve been spending several hours with the Surface Hub, my initial impressions from my first two to three hours were:

  •  The hardware is well built, the touch capability is responsive and the UI of the device in general is well thought through and simple to use
  •  The Office productivity apps (Whiteboard, Edge, Onenote, PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Maps) which are pre-loaded with the Hub provide a solid experience and they certainly give an initial wow factor when shown on the hardware
  • The built in Skype for Business capability works well, the user interface takes a lead from the overall UI of the Hub and is well thought through and simple to use
  • You can Miracast between a Windows 10 device and a Surface Hub with the inking capabilities shared across the devices and all can be shared into a Skype for Business meeting

Here is an example of the Surface Pro connected to the Hub. With Edge support for inking you can draw on both devices and then save to One Note

  • Do not expect to replicate a room based VC system with the Surface Hub. The cameras are good enough to see people as a part of a collaboration experience but not good enough as a video only device. The wide angle 1080p 30fps cameras seem under specified – could 4k cameras have made a difference to the overall video experience? Receiving full screen video is good however.

All the above make the Surface Hub much more than a glorified white board. The paradox of the Surface Hub however is that its greatest strength (being a Windows 10 device) could also be one of its greatest challenges. With a touch screen laptop and a separate 23inch screen I have all the same apps and experience a Surface Hub can provide at the comfort of my own desk. To be in a Skype for Business meeting with sharing and collaboration I don’t need to get up and book a meeting room with a Surface Hub and I don’t need to learn how to utilise the Hub in a Skype meeting. So why should I use the Hub during my day to day office life?

There are clear and obvious business use cases for the Hub but I didn’t feel these were compelling enough for the Hub to start moving into general office meeting room plans.

After spending around 2 to 3 hours with the Hub I’d reached what a thought was a conclusion but it was only after I started to download Windows Apps from the Store the full potential of the Hub spring to life….more to come on this in the next couple of weeks.

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