Let’s be honest — the Surface Hub isn’t exactly the kind of thing you’d pick up at Best Buy and hang in your living room. The 84-inch digital whiteboard starts at $22,000, with a smaller 55-inch model available for only $9,000. This is absolutely a business-oriented product, and that’s reflected in Microsoft’s sales pitch.
The Surface Hub itself features more than just a gigantic touchscreen. It’s designed from the bottom up to be a productivity tool, the kind of thing you’d hang in a conference room and use to guide company-wide meetings — rather than a single workstation.
Engineering director Peter Oehler illustrates Microsoft’s strategy to push the Surface Hub to business customers in his “engineer’s tour.” He goes on to describe the impressive engineering behind the Surface Hub, as well as offer a few brief examples of how it could improve a workplace.
The Hub is chock-full of sensors, including not only an enormous array of multi-touch sensors, but also a set of infrared cameras that can detect when someone approaches the device. Featuring two HD cameras, and a series of microphones, the Hub also doubles as a teleconferencing platform, allowing users to share their screen while teleconferencing.
While it may be prohibitively expensive for many workplaces, Microsoft has made an effort to soften that particular financial blow with its try-and-buy program, and by some accounts it seems to be working. According to On MSFT, Microsoft is ramping up production to meet increased demand from business customers.