After Delays, Microsoft Finally Ships Surface Hub
Originally set to ship back in September, Microsoft's business customers are beginning to take delivery of the giant, Windows 10-powered digital whiteboard.Surface Hub, originally slated to ship last September and later missing its January 2016 release deadline, is finally being delivered to Microsoft's business customers, announced Brian Hall, general manager of Microsoft Devices Marketing, on Friday. "I couldn't be more proud to announce this milestone for our team, customers, and partners. We can't wait to see what people, teams and businesses will do with Surface Hub," said Hall in a March 25 announcement. From a deployment and management standpoint, Microsoft added Surface Hub support to its software-as-a-service IT management offering, Operations Management Suite (OMS), back in January. "Surface Hubs are shipping with the agent software needed to connect to OMS, so there is very little setup work needed," assured Microsoft Program Manager Laura Cruz in an Jan. 19 blog post. "All you need to do is configure the Surface Hubs to connect to your OMS workspace, which you can do manually or programmatically." The touch-enabled Windows 10-powered device, available in a 55-inch and a massive 84-inch model, features built-in cameras, a microphone array, Bluetooth, WiFi, motion sensors and near-field communications (NFC). It runs Skype for Business, Office and OneNote, providing an integrated collaboration experience, and at least with the 84-inch model, an expansive canvas for interactive presentations and virtual meetings.
With the Surface Hub, Microsoft is making an aggressive push into the conferencing and collaboration market currently dominated by Cisco, Citrix and Polycom. While pricey—55-inch Surface Hub costs $8,999 and the 84-inch 4K version costs $21,999—it replaces several components that are typically required to outfit a conference room, including speaker phones, video conference systems and projectors.