Microsoft Launches Surface Hub 2S Conferencing and Collaboration System
… now we have every pixel integrated. It’s thinner, it has a more beautiful screen than we’ve shipped before, it’s got better contrast, faster response from what you saw on the first Surface Hub, and now has tablet class accuracy and precision.”
Partners and customers have awaited the improved system, according to analysts. Microsoft introduced the first Surface Hub in 2015 but it didn’t ship until the following year. Many partners struggled to get inventory, said industry analyst Ira Weinstein, founder and managing partner of Recon Research, which follows the enterprise collaboration and communications platforms industry.
“What happened was they prioritized certain countries and then they ran out of stock,” Weinstein said. “They went out and pitched it and were unable to ship, which was very disappointing to a lot of channel partners and customers. And then they just never replenished the stock.”
Although Weinstein hasn’t yet seen the new Surface Hub upgrade, he is skeptical about customer demand for the mobility aspect of the new system.
“I’ve never heard a single customer say to me, ‘I love Surface Hub, but it’s really too thick and heavy to be good for our environment — if only it were portable,’” Weinstein said.
Regardless, Weinstein, who uses the original Surface Hub and considers himself a fan of the earlier system, believes there is pent -p demand for the new units, especially in wake of the first model’s inventory shortages.
“I think the channel partners have been waiting for this,” he said. “The channel just needs product to move.”
ZK Research principal analyst Zeus Kerravala sees the new Surface Hub 2S as a more substantial upgrade and has a harsher view of the earlier release.
“I likened the first version to a really expensive computer that you hung on a wall or put on a cart,” Kerravala said. “Customers that have used it, including some integrators, said it wasn’t a very good device. The concept was interesting, but the implementation wasn’t that great. This new system is much more designed for the modern worker and I think this will be a very hot space.”
Steelcase, for its part, hopes to ride on that anticipated demand for the new system with its Roam mobile cart, and its entire line of office furniture designed for modern work environments. Partners can offer not only the Roam mobile cart for the Surface Hub 2S but also help organizations optimize their office space with the technology their employees use.
“We also have a whole system of sensors that we can bring into offices to understand how they want to modernize how they use their space with all of the atmospheric things that are happening in their space,” said Christina Vernon, senior market developer for strategic partnerships at Steelcase. “We can do all sorts of different things that are based on our partnership with Microsoft on the Azure platform and our use of analytics and things like that. We’ve developed a whole ecosystem throughout our product offering.”