Microsoft is officially in the AV market, launching an 84” LED-lit LCD display called the Surface Hub. Surface Hub is integrated with the brand-new Windows 10 that launched today and is a multi-touch 4K resolution 84-inch display that it’s aiming to have AV integrators (yes, you read that right — a source told us that Microsoft will be at ISE in Amsterdam signing up AV integrators as dealers) install into boardrooms, meeting rooms and classrooms.
But the Microsoft Surface is a bit more than the average 84” LCD sold by Sharp and the other big-screen monitor companies out there as, for starters, it’s integrated with a full-on computer running Windows 10. But, in addition, it includes on-board NFC so it can identify the person using it and automatically set itself up (they claim that this NFC version is compatible with Apple, Android and Microsoft phones), includes input mics so you can talk to it and tell it want you want it to do (“Surface, change to the laptop-input”) and cameras for integrated Skype for Business and, wait-for-it, compatibility to third-party videoconferencing systems via Microsoft Lync.
And, of course, it’s chock full of features as it’s an electronic whiteboard — including a stylus (in fact, you can use two simultaneously, if you’d like) and, when you touch the screen with the pen, it automatically switches to whiteboard mode- figuring it out all by itself. Oh, and it’s BYOD capable as it accepts and displays four screens simultaneously.
But, it’s not just an 84” that Microsoft is showing at ISE; they’ll have a every size you can imagine from 55” – 84”.
A few things that will be interesting to ponder at ISE when you enter the Microsoft Stand in Hall 8 (8-K355) are:
- Since this monitor figures out what you want to do — or, you can talk to it, do you need a control system in small rooms where it is installed?
- Since it’s integrated with multi-touch and white boarding, does SMART just become the Kapp company?
- Is the fact that it uses Windows 10 a help or hindrance (we are a MAC company, so we aren’t Windows fan-boys — so you tell us).
- Now that Microsoft is in the AV market looking for integrators, do you think that ISE 2015 will mark the show where it all changed FROM AV to IT?
Tell us what you think what impact Microsoft’s entry into the AV market will have on audiovisual systems integration, overall? If any.