Maverick: “Surface Hub is a Game Changer”

Microsoft’s flagship large-format Windows 10 device, the Surface Hub (Microsoft Announces Surface Hub as a Collaborative Display Tool), is being ‘launched’ worldwide next month.

Surface Hub is a single collaborative display, with an internal PC running Windows 10. It features 100-point touch (fingers and pen); speakers; dual 1920 x 1080 front-facing cameras; a four-element microphone array; and Microsoft Office programmes such as Word, OneNote and Excel. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and various ports are also featured. I talked to Jon Sidwick, VP of Europe at TD Maverick (European distributor for the Surface Hub) about the device.

“It is a game changer for the channel”, Sidwick enthused. I pointed out that there are already a wide selection of large-format collaborative displays available. Sidwick said that yes, there are many FPDs with speakers, cameras, touch, etc. – but none that do everything the Surface Hub does. The closest competitor is InFocus’ Mondopad, “which does about 70%”.

Commenting on the set-up, Sidwick said, “As long as you have a power plug and a Wi-Fi connection, you have a collaborative solution”. He also stressed the Hub’s ease of use, saying that it is “just like a big Surface Pro” (which has been gaining a strong reputation as a B2B tablet/laptop replacement – TA). As most retailers already run Windows, using the Hub should be an easy step to make.

The Surface Hub can connect to any Windows 8-or-newer device, or establish a peer-to-peer connection with any product using WiDi. “So is the intent that linked devices are used for content creation, and the Hub for content sharing?” I asked. After a small hesitation, Sidwick agreed that that was a good way to put it.

Microsoft has shared prices for the Surface Hub: businesses will be able to order the product from the 1st July, for $7,000 (55″) or $20,000 (84″). It will be launched in 24 markets in September: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK and the USA.

Five distributors are sharing rights for the Hub: Tech Data, Ingram Micro and Synnex will handle the USA, while TD Maverick and Also will deal with Europe. Sidwick assured me that there is little-to-no cross-over in the markets that the European distributors operate in.