Sometime in 2019, Microsoft will release the successor to its Surface Hub, the Surface Hub 2.
Able to be tiled on a wall, rotated from landscape to portrait, mounted on a wheeled stand and more, this new collaborative computer looks very impressive indeed, as you can see for yourself in Microsoft's video, which is embedded further below.
The company's chief product officer, Panos Panay, has written a great blog post that tells us all about this new device, with that blog post reprinted below.
"Today’s most effective businesses have a team-based, collaborative culture and place an emphasis on enabling creativity and productivity. In fact, companies that promote collaborative working are five times as likely to be high-performing.
"It’s not just that how we work is changing, it’s that where we work is changing too. The environment around us is shifting — towards open offices, huddle rooms, and team work spaces — in fact, in three years, half the global workforce will be mobile.
"It’s an exciting time to be in the devices business, because the creation of new form factors and software experiences will not only lead us to work in new ways, but also in new spaces designed for collaboration.
"There is a need for a device built for teams and designed for these new environments. To help people collaborate whether they are in the office, at home, or travelling the world. To move beyond just passing along information, to a world where they are collaborating real-time, in an efficient, and intuitive way."
Panay then states: "Today, I’m excited to introduce that device, the next generation – Surface Hub 2" – with the video directly below.
Promising to let you "unlock the power of the team", Panay continues:
"Surface Hub 2 was designed from the ground up to be used by teams – to get people out of their seats, to connect and ideate, regardless of location. The new Surface Hub 2 is sleeker, more agile and more affordable to fit any workspace or work style. The gorgeous 4K+ 50.5” multi-touch display creates an inviting canvas to co-create, harnessing the power of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Whiteboard, Office 365, Windows 10 and the intelligent cloud.
"The 4K cameras that rotate with the device, integrated speakers and far field mic arrays allow everyone in the meeting to feel as if they are right in the room with the rest of the group, while our standard Surface 3×2 aspect ratio means everyone has more usable space to create and collaborate."
As you'd expect, Surface Hub 2 is billed as "Perfect for any space".
Panay adds: "Surface Hub 2 scales and adapts to your space through tiling up to 4 screens together in portrait or landscape view. Dynamic rotation allows you to use the best orientation for your content to help people work in the way that best suits them and the people they are collaborating with. It is also significantly easier to move around your workspaces than its predecessor.
"We’ve teamed up with workplace expert Steelcase to create a system of rolling stands and easy-to-use mounts to help Surface Hub 2 customers be truly mobile, gain a new perspective and capture their ideas wherever they do their best work."
Surface Hub 2 in landscape view
Joining Bill Gates' famous "magic of software" statement is "The magic of tiling".
Panay explains: "Tiling is one of my favourite features on Surface Hub 2. Seeing four of the beautiful Surface Hub 2s lined up together has undeniable visual effect and will have a profound impact on what groups can accomplish together, allowing users to display multiple pieces of content side-by-side. Imagine how much your team could get done being able to work simultaneously across Microsoft Whiteboard, PowerBI, PowerPoint, and a full view video call."
Surface Hub 2 in tiled configuration
So, what about moving "beyond meetings, to real-time teamwork?"
Here Panay proudly proclaims: "We’re passionate about creating experiences that allow the technology to fade into the background, so people and teams can be as productive and creative as possible. The original Surface Hub advanced this mission, making it possible to join a meeting or open a whiteboard with one touch. Now Surface Hub 2 takes it even further with multi-user sign in.
"This feature is a truly magical experience. Using multi-user sign in, multiple people can authenticate in the same Surface Hub 2 workspace, allowing them to simultaneously access their documents and ideas, merging them with the ideas of their teammates – and making collaboration as natural as meeting at a whiteboard".
Two people in an office with Surface Hub 2 and Surface Laptop
So, heads up – Panay advises that "The future of collaboration is coming"
Panay concludes: "We started on the journey of empowering teams with the original Surface Hub and the value it provides has resonated with businesses worldwide. We’ve sold to more than 5000 customers across 25 markets. Over half of Fortune 100 companies have purchased Surface Hubs to improve team’s efficiency and how they collaborate – breaking down barriers and creating real business value. We believe our customers will love Surface Hub 2 even more.
"In 2018 we will begin to test Surface Hub 2 with select commercial customers. It will be available for purchase in 2019."
More information on the Surface Hub 2 is here.