For the eighth time in 11 years, Google has been rated the best company in the world to work for, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about working conditions in the modern office space.
The company’s industry-leading G Suite cloud platform includes Docs, Drive and numerous other online apps and services designed to improve office collaboration and boost productivity. As part of its continuing mission to revolutionise the modern office environment, the tech giant recently announced the release of an exciting new piece of hardware to better bring those platforms together.
What Is the Jamboard?
The Jamboard is, at its most basic, a digital whiteboard and a competitor to Microsoft’s Windows 10-powered Surface Hub. Taking the traditional whiteboard to the next level, this digitised version promises to boost collaborative brainstorming, create more engaging meetings, and streamline screen-sharing.
It’s an enormous 4K, 55-inch touchscreen monitor powered by an integrated Nvidia Jetson TX1 computer and a proprietary operating system. The screen can detect up to 16 touches simultaneously as well, allowing multiple people to use it at the same time.
How it connects to G Suite
Google’s cloud-based apps and services already work wonders when it comes to promoting collaboration in the workplace, especially for companies with team members who are scattered all over the world.
With its custom operating system, the internet-connected Jamboard is built to work seamlessly with the G Suite cloud-computing ecosystem and any third-party apps and services that work with G Suite.
Initially, working with the Jamboard might seem a lot like using a conventional whiteboard — you simply pick up a pen and start doodling. Nonetheless, there’s a lot more to the high-end device than that. Everything drawn or written on the Jamboard will be mirrored on every other device included in the session, allowing up to 16 people to work on it at the same time. Just for good measure, the Jamboard even provides handwriting recognition, which is ideal for those not quite used to writing legible text on a whiteboard.
The Jamboard sports many other everyday digital functions, including the ability to display websites and photos. There’s also a built-in web camera for taking photos or holding video-conferencing calls, and you can even add stickers and emoji to your brainstorming or presentation sessions.
But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that the Jamboard isn’t meant to be used for any final, presentable work like the sort you might complete in Google Sheets or Docs. Instead, it’s all about making meetings and brainstorming sessions more interactive while also using Google’s cloud-computing platform to overcome any geographical boundaries between the members of your team.
How Much Does It Cost?
Launched in the US back in May, the Jamboard costs $4,999 and ships with two styluses, one eraser and a wall mount. Annual management and support costs an additional $300 per year until September 30 and $600 per year thereafter. The interactive whiteboard will be made available in other countries over the coming months, with release in the UK and Canada slated for this summer.
While the price might sound high, the Jamboard is far more affordable than Microsoft’s Surface Hub, which costs $8,999 for the 55-inch 1080p model and an eye-watering $21,999 for the 84-inch 4K model.
Nonetheless, the Surface Hub is effectively an enormous Windows 10-powered computer, meaning that it can also do all the same things a typical Windows workstation can do. By contrast, the Jamboard is not meant to take the place of a computer. Instead, Google’s offering comes with a single focus, and that’s to offer an exceptional interactive whiteboard experience.
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