We are entering a new phase in the development of collaborative technology — a phase that is generating serious excitement for business owners. While this kind of technology used to represent a somewhat awkward attempt to support the collaborative vision of business, more recent developments have brought precision, power, and performance to the design concepts.
This means developers are no longer making hopeful moves in the dark in an effort to support the needs of businesses. Instead, they are providing users with the capabilities they need directly, in a way that suits the user as they move towards both long and short term objectives. With the Surface Hub 2S, Microsoft has demonstrated their commitment to remaining on the cutting edge when it comes to collaborative tech.
Let’s take a look at this Microsoft Surface Hub 2S in more detail, and gain a better understanding of the advantages it can provide to businesses of all kinds.
What is the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S?
On a basic level, the Surface Hub 2S is an interactive whiteboard with a touchscreen and stylus mechanism for operation. It offers the power of a PC under this framework, making the device similar to a very, very powerful — and very, very large — tablet computer.
Immediately, it becomes obvious that the Surface Hub 2S is not designed for personal use or even low-level commercial activity. The dimensions of the device immediately preclude its use in such capacities and instead position it for use in higher level collaborative tasks and spaces.
So, the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S is a large scale interactive touchscreen PC, designed with collaboration in mind. The initial model will be equipped with a 50-inch screen, making it possible for the machine to provide serious clarity and picture quality even in larger spaces.
Key Specifications for the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S
We touched on the fact that, upon release, the new Surface Hub 2S will feature a 50-inch screen, providing plenty of room for creative team leaders to achieve great things with the device. However, this will be expanded in 2020, when the 85-inch version of the Surface Hub 2S is released. Needless to say, this will provide even greater levels of capability for users, allowing them to really push the boundaries of what is possible with this kind of technology.
This version of the 2S is expected to ship to selected customers in early 2020, ahead of a wider release.
Despite these impressive dimensions, the device promises to be lighter and more svelte than its previous incarnations. The 50-inch version tips the scales at only 28 kgs, which is 40% lighter than the Hub’s currently available model. The upcoming release is also 60% thinner than the current model, which is somewhat impressive when you consider how much is going on under the hood.
So, how exactly does the skinnier, lighter version of the Surface Hub provide its consistently high levels of performance and power to users? After all, initial reports show that the more slimline design has come with no compromise in terms of practical specs, and the Surface Hub 2S is actually capable of 50% greater levels of graphics performance than its predecessor model.
This is achieved thanks to an 8th Gen, quad-core, Intel Core chip, which is as yet undisclosed. The chip is supported in its efforts by 8GB of RAM, as well as a 128GB solid-state drive. The RAM does not represent a major surprise — after all, agility and flexibility are key tenets of tablet and interactive hub computing, even at higher levels of CPU usage. However, the 128GB SSD is more impressive and is helping to usher in a new phase of capability for these devices, with serious levels of storage.
The graphics themselves are provided by a UHD Graphics 620 GPU.
The Surface Hub needs to come equipped with more than a few tricks and tools if it is to support business owners in the right way. One such tool is the 4K conferencing cameras, which come as optional extras on the device. These cameras are paired with the Hub via USB Type-C connectors and utilise magnets to secure them to the body of the device.
In testing, these cameras were able to achieve a crystal clear, 1080p resolution on live video, with no lag or delay. During testing, it was also found that the audio remained clear and precise, despite relatively high levels of ambient noise at both ends. This is of critical importance if the device is to serve its intended purpose out there in the world of business.
Portability and flexibility within the space are also key concepts of the Surface Hub 2S, and this needs to be supported by the hardware. To achieve these elements of functionality, Microsoft has made a battery available with the Hub. This is a crucial step forwards, and the APC by Schneider Electric battery is capable of powering the Surface Hub 2S for two hours of usage on a 90-minute charge. While two hours of battery life does not seem like much compared to other devices we have become used to using, it does represent a key step in enhanced function and flexibility and is helping Microsoft’s design team to reconfigure the spaces we work in.
The Surface Hub 2S is designed to be the latest link in an ever-expanding and evolving chain of development. As such, it is not intended to be isolated in the here and now, but instead to be a stepping stone to the future of the Hub device as well as the future of collaborative tech in general.
To secure this, the Surface Hub 2S features a modular design that can be upgraded and altered as and when required. The modular design focuses on the computer hub, a component which is removable and — theoretically — should enable users to simply replace this hub when an upgrade is available, negating the need to buy an entirely new unit.
The upgraded version of the hub, the 2X, has not been officially scheduled for release yet, but Microsoft has hinted that it is expected to launch in 2020.
Core Concepts of the Surface Hub 2S
Of course, the physical dimensions and core specifications of the Microsoft Surface Hub are important, but what is arguably more important is the way that the device fits into the space around it. This is the philosophy of the device and the conceptual basis for its physical design. We’ll take a look at this in more detail below.
Redefining the Physical Space
We have examined how the Surface Hub 2S will be able to operate using battery power, with no compromise on functionality, albeit over a reduced timeframe. This is part of the way in which Microsoft is seeking to redefine the physical space and how we work within this space.
Thanks to supreme portability, the Surface Hub is not bound by traditional constrictions within an office space. It can be maneuvered into different spaces and used in different ways en route to achieving total flexibility. Further dimensions are added with the addition of cameras, which open up the physical space to remote teams based in different areas around the globe.
Seamless Collaboration as Standard
We touched upon the power of the audio and visual feed, and also on the additional dimensions that cameras add to a physical space. However, all of this comes to nothing if teams are not able to integrate their efforts and work together in an effective manner. As we have seen, the strength of the video and audio playback connection — even during live broadcasts — is very high, enabling seamless interaction with users both in-house and deployed out in the field in a remote location.
But in order to provide a truly seamless connection, the Surface Hub must be able to offer more than this. Users need to be able to do more than simply chat with one another. They need to be able to execute the sorts of functions they would be able to if they were sitting face to face in the office. This means support for remote solutions such as screen sharing, cloud-based document sharing and collaboration, and project management software. This compatibility, matched to the powerful processing hardware contained within the Surface Hub’s chassis, enables truly seamless collaboration with minimal additional effort.
A managed IT services provider like Productiv can help you deploy the Surface Hub within your existing collaborative, digital strategies. Get in touch with our team to learn more.
No Compromise Collab
A key conceptual feature of the Surface Hub 2S is its reluctance to compromise. The developers understood that the device would need to be portable — i.e. not tied down to plug sockets and cables, nor too heavy or bulky — without affecting functionality. They also understood that remote teams and in-house teams would need to work together without anxieties surrounding miscommunication or repeated labour.
As you explore the functions of the Hub 2S, you will notice this. You will recognise how each integrated and collaborative piece of functionality is designed in such a way as to be both wholly independent, and ready for collaborative use. This means, when you quickly need to demonstrate something to your team using a particular app, this is possible. Meanwhile, if you need to launch a complex program of collaboration, this can be achieved without delay.