Small businesses sometimes need to brainstorm on a whiteboard. But, whiteboard brainstorming meetings don’t really work when you have remote colleagues. To overcome this and other challenges, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has designed a cloud-based digital whiteboard called Jamboard for businesses.
Google Jamboard for Businesses
Jamboard looks like a big children’s tablet on which you can write and sketch your ideas. The whiteboard features a large-format 55-inch, 4K touchscreen monitor with a wide angle 1080P webcam that refreshes at 60 Hertz.
Along the right-hand and rear side of the monitor is a range of ports, including USB Type C, USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, an Ethernet input, and a Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format audio connector.
The Jamboard runs on a custom version of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system (OS) that combines Google G Suite software with access to whiteboard content via Android and iOS apps. It supports Hangouts, thanks to its built-in HD camera, microphone and speakers.
An unabashed competitor to Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) own multi-touch collaboration digital whiteboard called Surface Hub, the Jamboard comes with two passive styluses, a wall mount and a whiteboard eraser that wipes content from the screen while also cleaning the monitor’s glass.
Google Jamboard Usage and Functionality
Anyone can walk up to the Jamboard, click on the screen, and log in, or start a “Jam” session as Google calls it. While standing at the Jamboard kiosk, users can write or draw on the whiteboard with the passive stylus or their fingers. You can also create as many Google slide presentations as you want, and send or present them to participants during or after your session.
Smartphone users with the Jamboard companion app installed can view a working Jam session on the Jamboard even if they’re working elsewhere, such as remotely or in multiple offices. They can also add markings, stickies and access Google Drive content, or participate in the Jam via a Google Hangout link.
Tablet users with the Jamboard companion app installed have full remote access to all Jamboard features without having to go through a Hangout link. Those tablet users who don’t have the Jamboard app installed can still attend a Jam session via a web link, but in view-only mode.
Does Your Small Business Need a Google Jamboard?
The Jamboard, Surface Hub, and similar cloud-based digital whiteboards are not designed to serve as personal devices. Instead, they are designed for placement in conference rooms and other meeting spaces where collaboration can occur.
The devices combine business collaboration and video conferencing software to enable remote and local personnel to collaborate during meetings. Because users are not expected to save documents on the devices themselves but rather in the cloud, the whiteboards don’t come with much local storage.
Jamboard lacks some of the more advanced Surface Hub features, but it’s still a handy, easy-to-use tool for simple whiteboard brainstorming on a giant, collaborative display. Small businesses that rely on G Suite to create and distribute content can use it to collaborate internally or at conference rooms.
Jamboard is priced starting at $4,999, which admittedly could be prohibitive for some small businesses. However, this device can easily be a dream collaborative tool for small businesses already in Google’s cloud.