Microsoft has just announced the June 2019 release of its Surface Hub 2, a tool for conferencing and collaboration among teams. This is the Surface Hub’s successor, and it boasts improvements to the responsiveness of its active touch screens, snazzy 4K displays for crystal clear display capabilities, a battery pack option for smoother conference mobility, and streamlined integration with both Teams and Office.
Do you need to spring for this device? What considerations do you need to keep in mind as you build out your business’ conferencing capabilities? What tools do your employees need to do their jobs well, and what features are your clients going to respond to the most favorably?
- What sorts of collaborative needs do your teams have? Depending on the type of work being performed, this can range. Perhaps you need to have streaming media transmitted smoothly, or the ability for multiple parties to directly mark-up input on a particular object. Maybe you need this primarily for sales, and so crisp screenshares and crystal-clear camera video and audio are vital for customer conversion. Gaining clarity on these values upfront will allow you to make the right decision regarding which tool to purchase.
- How well does the conferencing tool integrate with your existing computer and security infrastructure? One key aspect of this is to make sure that both your firewall as well as your primary operating system are compatible with your conferencing solution. Failure to research this in advance most commonly results in being unable to use many of the advanced features of the purchased solution.
- How much support do you anticipate needing for your team? Errors and glitches will always arise in software and hardware alike. Your employees need to be well-supported in resolving any issues that come up. Do you have a dedicated internal IT team that can assist with this, or do you need to have support on-hand from the solution’s manufacturer? If you have global teams using this platform, consider factoring in the availability of support for them—in their languages and/or time zones—as well.
- Do you need to purchase additional hardware, or can a software solution suffice? Particularly if your employees are using laptops to get their work done, they likely already have cameras built-in to what they use. Combined with network connectivity, they have the raw potential to conference already. All that is needed is to select a video conferencing platform. Larger teams utilizing conference rooms and more elaborate computing set-ups may benefit from outfitting their spaces with new conferencing hardware.
- What specific features do you need from your conferencing platform? Consider the size of the meetings your business usually holds and how many seats you need to have available when people convene. Do you need to be able to record these meetings? What sort of invite and even follow-up capabilities do you want? What integrations do you need—for example, do you need to be able to use Salesforce to account for contacts, or integrate with Office?
Although Microsoft is a leader in computing solutions, they are not the only players available on the market offering up collaborative conferencing tools. Careful consideration of your business’ needs combined with research into the different hardware and software options that are available are critical steps toward making sure you get the most out of whatever platform you choose.