Microsoft's Surface Hub to Hit Conference Rooms in September

Preorders for the company's super-sized touch-enabled digital whiteboard and video conferencing hardware kick off on July 1.

Microsoft Surface Hub

One of the biggest surprises at the Microsoft Windows 10 event on Jan. 21 was Surface Hub, a massive 84-inch, Windows-powered 4K touch-screen with video conferencing and whiteboard technology. Today, the company revealed when businesses can begin wall-mounting the device in their meeting rooms.

Microsoft will begin taking orders on July 1, Mike Angiulo, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Devices Group, said in a June 10 announcement. Shipments are set to begin in September in 24 markets, including the United States and the United Kingdom, along with Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Prices start at $6,999 for a 55-inch model designed for "huddle spaces," said Angiulo. The 84-inch model carries a hefty price tag to match. The massive touch- and stylus-enabled display costs $19,999.

Making the Surface Hub's price easier to swallow, Angiulo asserted that the all-in-one unit tightly integrates various productivity solutions and can effectively replace a bevy of stand-alone conference room devices.

"In an average conference room, Surface Hub replaces a number of disparate tools and technologies, including the audio-video conferencing system, display, projector, wireless receiver, and the analog or digital whiteboard at a lower upfront cost," Angiulo said. "And when you look at ongoing management costs, the story gets even stronger. Rather than having to manage multiple components separately, as a Windows 10 device Surface Hub can be easily and centrally managed by IT."

Surface Hub will also benefit from some of Microsoft's efforts to future-proof its software ecosystem and enrich the user experience, Angiulo said.

The hardware will "benefit from Windows Update for Business, which provides access to the latest innovation and security updates on an ongoing basis," he stated. "Surface Hub delivers the power and versatility of a connected device along with the simplicity of a custom interface that is built for people to walk up and use."

One of the many showcases for Microsoft's ambitious Windows 10 operating system—the OS also powers the company futuristic HoloLens augmented-reality headset and is being shrunk down for Internet of things devices—Surface Hub is a manifestation of the Redmond, Wash., tech company's vision of software-enabled personal productivity that spans multiple device classes and transcends geography.

"By connecting the industry-specific apps that organizations rely on to manage their business processes with an engaging remote meeting and collaboration solution, Surface Hub will provide a more efficient way to connect today's increasingly mobile and dispersed workforce," Angiulo said.

"Businesses will also be able to draw from a wide variety of Windows 10 apps to put real-time data and business tools at the center of meetings, helping them gain insights and reach decisions faster," lending a level of interactivity and collaboration to the proceedings. "Surface Hub will go beyond just improving meetings and will truly improve business workflow," stated Angiulo.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...