My first use of a Cisco Webex Spark Board


Last Updated on April 24, 2018 by GrahamWalsh

And comparing to a Microsoft Surface Hub

So last week I was meeting with a potential new partner and as part showing them the our product, live demos, I also wanted to draw up some scenarios on a whiteboard. Fortunately they had a Webex board on the other side of the room.

I thought to myself this can’t be hard to use, I’ve been using a Surface Hub for two plus years and have to admit I’ve become so used to it and the power of what it can do. Right, so on the newly branded Webex Board, I picked up the pen or more like a bingo dobber. Select a colour and draw. So far so good. Change colour, all good. Erase a line, oh wait, I have to get my eraser tool out and then modify. 1-0 to the Surface Hub for inking experience

Next up, as my drawing was filling the screen, I wanted to move the canvas to carry on. Erm, nope couldn’t do it. I had to create another whiteboard. Now some could argue this is a good idea, keep drawings to one sheet, however, I’m used to an infinite canvas and that’s what I like, so 2-0 to the Surface Hub.

I also then tested out the touch points, this was limited to just two touches. That might be good for some, but again having multi touch is an advantage. Do you need more than 2, that’s the question? I know my colleague and I regularly are annotating at the same time, using two stylus, however, the Webex board only has one, so that’s 3-0 to the Surface Hub.

As another test, I made a call, that was easy and worked fine, so its 4-1.

However, one issue with the Webex Board is that it has to be registered to the cloud with a subscription. The Surface Hub can be registered to Office 365 Skype Online or it can be registered to your on-premises deployment. The other bonus is that the Surface Hub has the Edge browser, so you can do ORTC calls with Pexip for example, so that 5-1

What I didn’t test was sending the content to myself, I should have tested that feature out. It works really well on the Surface Hub. Having reviewed a Spark Board video online (a very good overview from Matt at Yorktel), you can send it to your Spark Room. That isn’t much use when you are an external client in for a meeting. The whole world isn’t on Spark!! Sorry but that 6-1 to the Surface Hub.

So there you have a simple comparison in my view of the two devices. I am sure someone else who has used a Spark Board for a while would have a different opinion when using a Surface Hub for the first time.   Both devices are very capable, just depends on your requirements.

As a side note, I was with another customer yesterday and they were trialling the Samsung Flip 55″. This is a pure digital flip chart, big canvas, ability to email the content etc. There are no video calling facilities, but for a digital board in a workplace, it was a great device.

Thanks for reading, feel free to add any comments.

Also published on Medium.

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