Behind the Scenes of the Microsoft Surface Hub

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The latest piece of technology from Microsoft is actually something that has been years in the making, beginning with a computer-science researcher and a concept back in 2002. Jeff Han is now an integral part of Microsoft’s new development, and is something that he has envisioned and executed for many years, building up to its exciting release at the Windows 10 launch in Redmond last January. Microsoft’s Surface Hub might be the biggest piece of technology, in terms of both size and innovation, but how did it come to be in existence?

What is Microsoft Surface Hub?

The Surface Hub appears to be a digital whiteboard, but it does so much more than that. It is a device that enables the modern workforce to collaborate effectively and provide a solution to improve productivity as a team. Its interactive display allows the combination of Windows 10, Skype for Business, Office and Universal Windows apps all under one device, built around a highly responsive screen.

Microsoft’s Surface Hub enables users to gain access to an advanced piece of technology that works to their needs, with a range of specific features that makes the experience seamless and professional. Users can share and interact effortlessly and can connect to various platforms such as Mac, Android and iOS. Microsoft had a vision to bring something new that could change the way you conduct your business, furthering productivity.

The concept of the Surface Hub

Jeff Han was a computer-science researcher who had been dabbling in the idea of a multi-touch interface, something that has been around since the 1970s, but put it on the backburner in favour of other experiments such as autonomous navigation, eye tracking and motion capture. By 2006, he had returned to multi-touch and showed his work at a TED conference. This video version of this conference was the first TED talk to go viral, which may add some precedence to how big his ideas were at the time.

Pre-iPhone era, this technology was mind-blowing; as a 2015 viewer, you’ll be fascinated by the fact that the audience gasp and cheer at Han performing now-familiar operations such as pinching a photo to resize it.

Power of persistence

After his fame off the back of TED, Jeff Han began a company known as Perceptive Pixel and sold expensive screens to everyone until Microsoft acquired the company in 2012.

Mike Anguilo, Microsoft’s corporate VP for hardware, claimed that conference rooms never change and are time capsules, with the standard projector, white board and conference phone. Microsoft have built a bridge from this into the modern working world, but as with anything that is new, it is never received smoothly and without problems.

Nothing is a guarantee and the Surface Hub has not come into existence without its ups and downs. Microsoft had also been working on multi-touch. The ‘Surface’, a Windows Vista computer that was built into a table with a 30-inch screen, was released four months after the iPhone reveal but unfortunately didn’t catch on as well as the iPhone did.

Jeff Han began talks with Microsoft because of pricing; after questions demanding when they were going to make the screens cheaper for the masses, the likes of Bill Gates got involved but it was in 2014 that things really began to pick up pace.

Cloud-connected mobile workflows

The new CEO, Satya Nadella, had a vision of emphasising mobility, the cloud and productivity and it was here that the Surface Hub found its place.

Designed and manufactured in a Portland suburb in the US, the vision of the Surface Hub goes above and beyond to provide group productivity and useful space for both you and your colleagues, even if they are halfway around the world. If you’re looking to learn more or buy a Surface Hub for your office, get in touch with a Microsoft Surface Hub partner at Viju.

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