I enjoyed Zoomtopia, but these virtual events just aren’t the same. Zoomtopia 2019 was the last in-person Zoomtopia. The big difference in 2021 was Zoom’s new virtual events platform. I must say it worked well.
Zeus and discuss Zoomtopia in Week 37 of Real-Time, Recorded (below). Here, I want to dive into the topic of whiteboards.
That whole “picture is worth 1000 words” is timeless and true - or at least was true. It’s now worth many more words adjusted for inflation.
The whiteboard is the last analog device in the meeting room, and it’s time to “IO it.” There’s three basic approaches to this transition, all are good – none seem dominant. 1) Camera on top, 2) A touch-screen display with stylus, and 3) The all-app approach. These are not mutually exclusive and in fact all three are commonly supported on most meetings apps.
Lifesize and Logi have a camera on top solution. These are inexpensive and require minimal training. They are great for classrooms or presentations. They are not ideal for multi-party ideation.
The TV-eBoards are clever. They can be used as a general purpose display, or as an interactive whiteboard. They are available from Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Neat, and more. They work best as a dedicated board, but the all-in-one approach has benefits if you don’t mind a camera inches from your forehead.
The pure app approach virtualizes the board, and gets rid of the special-purpose hardware requirement - though some can be used with a board too. They can be built into an app (Cisco, Google, etc.) or be a standalone app (Microsoft, Mural, and Miro). They are easy to deploy, and in some cases portable across meetings providers. Also, most allow any participant (with a touch screen) to contribute.
While these apps and use cases are all interesting, none of the vendors address interop. They all use proprietary file formats, and most are restricted to one meetings provider. I think that’s the cure to being bored with boards. There’s really an opportunity for an open standard across hardware and software.