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Grow Your Business Technology

Digital Whiteboards: Why Your SMB Needs One

Digital whiteboards
Credit: vectorfusionart/Shutterstock

Whiteboards and chalkboards have been a staple for businesses everywhere. Whether they are placed in the office to draw graphs and charts, in the breakroom to write the weekly schedule or in the boardroom to list ideas and goals, they serve a number of important purposes. While this tool has existed in schools and offices for more than a century, it has largely remained the same. However, several companies are bringing it into the digital age and exponentially expanding what you can do with the whiteboard.

Digital or interactive whiteboards are large digital displays that serve the same function as whiteboards. Many offices have replaced their whiteboard with a digital display that's connected to a computer where one person will make notes and can display whatever they need for everyone to see. Digital whiteboards let you have the best of both worlds. Anyone can walk up to the board and jot down notes as well as connect to the whiteboard with their computer or tablet to add images and other visuals.

Early interactive whiteboards consisted of a normal whiteboard with a digital projector to display images onto the board. However, the latest innovators in the field have eliminated the projector and the dry-erase concept altogether, making the board completely digital. Offices no longer need to keep a fresh supply of markers (which always quickly dry out) handy. Instead you only need a single stylus, and most interfaces allow you to change the color and tip size of the marker on the fly. These boards can be mounted on the wall or put on a movable stand like a traditional whiteboard.

The biggest names in tech offering digital whiteboards include Cisco, Google and Samsung. Each of these devices features a 4K display and can wirelessly connect with other devices. Team members can connect to the board through their own devices via the company's app and join in on the collaboration whether they're in the same room or are working remotely. Digital whiteboards are becoming a replacement for dry-erase boards as well as video conferencing displays. Here are three innovations businesses can choose from.

Price: $4,990 for the 55-inch model; $9,990 for the 70-inch model

Standout Features:

  • Seamless sharing of content between the whiteboard and any device with Cisco Spark collaboration service
  • Integrated 4K camera for video conferencing

The Cisco Spark Board is a key device for any office that uses Cisco Spark for their phone system and main communication platform. Anyone with the Cisco Spark app on their smartphone, tablet or computer can connect to the Spark Board and begin sharing images and set up video conferences.

Using this platform allows users to seamlessly save and share content between devices. Sketches made on the whiteboard can be saved and shared among anyone in the network.

Price: $4,999 for the 55-inch model (Available in Carmine Red, Cobalt Blue or Graphite Gray)

Standout Features:

  • Full integration with Google's G-Suite platform and applications, such as Drive and Hangouts
  • Light and portable

The Google Jamboard is a digital whiteboard with all the capabilities made available by G-Suite, which includes instantaneous sharing of documents, images and videos. The cloud-centric platform means that drawings and notes are immediately saved to Google Drive. The drawing tools allow you to manipulate drawings with your fingers, stylus or laser pointer. These are called "jams," which can be saved and shared with anyone.

Integration with Hangouts makes it easy to video conference with remote coworkers, and they can make additions to the jam. The app is available for both iOS and Android.

Price: TBA

Standout Features:

  • Wheel-based stand allows you to flip the display from landscape to portrait and tilt it up to 4.5 degrees
  • 20 "pages" of writing space for each session that can be instantly saved and shared with meeting participants

Samsung announced the Flip at CES 2018. The company describes the Flip as more akin to a paper flip chart than a whiteboard, but it can serve both functions. The Flip's stand allows users to turn the display from landscape orientation to a portrait-oriented flip chart.

When in portrait mode, it can be tilted 4.5 degrees like an artist easel. Each page can be flipped over to a fresh screen for drawing and writing, with a search feature that allows you easily to go back to an earlier page. The display can be easily screen shared with users' devices (either wired or wireless), and images made on the screen can be saved to a USB drive.

Andreas Rivera

Andreas Rivera graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in Mass Communication and is now a B2B writer for Business.com, Business News Daily and Tom's IT Pro. His background in journalism brings a critical eye to his reviews and features, helping business leaders make the best decisions for their companies.