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Beyond the Board: Interactive Whiteboards Go Mobile

May 15, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by AVNetwork

A recent report published by market research firm Technavio predicts that the interactive whiteboard market will grow by just over six percent by 2020. But in the age of BYOD, what can these systems really offer to those working in collaborative environments in education or the enterprise?

If they address BYOD, they can help to expand learning and presentations to address remote students and participants, according to Chris Feldman, product manager of solutions and accessories at NEC Display Solutions of America Inc. While he concedes that the main feature sets these systems typically provide--such as highlighting, annotation, and recording capabilities--have remained the same for some time, "what is really making the environment change is where we have the collaboration or interactivity portion of it moving outside the room," he said. "Now we're empowering professionals and students to move the devices they're comfortable with in and out [of the collaborative space]." In NEC's case, this comes in the form of incorporating DisplayNote (NEC Edition), an app that allows teachers and presenters to share content and create a more collaborative environment. "By making it mobile, and by putting that device in that person's hand so that they can take it with them, and they can save what they've done, and they can look at it later, it's really creating an experience that doesn't end when the meeting ends, which increases productivity and learning."

At Ricoh, the interactive whiteboard has shifted from being a simple tool to something more participatory. In teaming up with IBM, the manufacturer has developed the upcoming Intelligent Workplace Solution, which couples its interactive whiteboards with IBM's Watson. In this scenario, Watson "listens" to the proceedings, and then provides real-time data and analytics to help guide teams through whatever it is they're discussing. Aside from taking voice commands and making notes, Watson is also multi-lingual. "Interactive whiteboards with a cognitive element ... have several breakthrough features to watch, such as natural language technologies that respond to commands, take notes and actions, and even translate into other languages and display them on the screen," explains Paul Foschino, senior manager in the visual communications group at Ricoh USA Inc. "Complex meeting functions like logging attendance based on a simple swipe of a badge, tracking key agenda items to ensure all topics are discussed, and even being able to capture the relevant side conversations that happen naturally when collaborating are also innovative ways that these interactive whiteboards will contribute to meetings." All this to say, interactive whiteboards are getting more interactive: "[they're] transforming from being devices to being active meeting participants."

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