The enormous touch-screen monitors meant to replace entire conference room setups may put you back the price of an entry-level sedan. But that's cheap, Microsoft says.
Microsoft finally has a number for how much it will cost businesses to outfit their conference rooms with technology of the future: Up to $20,000.
For that price, companies can purchase the Surface Hub, a touchscreen computer that comes in either a 55-inch model for $7,000 or an 84-inch model with speedier hardware for $20,000. The device starts shipping in 24 markets starting July 1, the company announced Wednesday.
Microsoft says the Surface Hub, which can be wall mounted and operated with your hands, a stylus or your voice, is a viable replacement for a majority of current conference room technology. It can be used to hold video and audio conference calls or it can be transformed into a whiteboard for taking notes and brainstorming. The device is also equipped with motion-sensing cameras and microphones and will understand where you are in the room to better collect audio and transmit video.
It sounds like an eye-popping pair of numbers, but Microsoft is confident the prices will be attractive to large corporations and specific industries, like architecture, finance and energy, which routinely spend tens of thousands of dollars rigging up complicated and, in Microsoft's eyes, unnecessary audio and video teleconferencing equipment and projector and display combos. Early customers in talks with Microsoft to utilize the device include Chicago-based law firm Bartlit Beck and SHoP Architects, the New York-based firm that designed the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
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