Epson taking collaboration to a new level

Despite the objections towards Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s assertions that innovation and collaboration mostly takes place at the office, the whiteboard marketplace has been booming lately.

According to market research firm Futuresource Consulting of Boston, sales of interactive whiteboards and interactive flat panel displays in education and the corporate market were up 20 per cent in the first half of 2013.

Epson acknowledges this growth and told CDN that the company is getting aggressive in this market specifically the corporate space. But, the company known mostly for its printers is taking a unique approach to the whiteboard market. Epson’s latest BrightLink Pro is an ultra-short-throw projector that can use any surface.

“This ultra-short-throw projector is the first aggressive jump for Epson into the executive whiteboard market,” said Brian Savarese, Epson product manager.

While this BrightLink Pro is a projector Savarese describe the product as a business appliance. “Everything is built into the projector and does not need a computer,” he added.

The product is built around collaboration as it can annotate right on the plain white wall. Content can be served up on a USB thumb drive or remotely on a smartphone. This content can also be saved locally so that if you call it a night you can pick right back up where you left off in the morning.

The annotations and other content can also be printed directly from BrightLink Pro as well as shared with others outside the boardroom.

Two features of the BrightLink Pro that distinguishes the product from standalone whiteboards or flat panel display are:

  • The ultra-short-throw design pretty much eliminates shadowing and eye glare; and 
  • The BrightLink Pro is close to 70 per cent larger in view-screen that the largest commercially available flat-panel monitor on the market at a much lower price point.

Savarese said that the BrightLink Pro furthers the Bring Your Own Device trend as it enables users to choose any smartphone or tablet device for the short-throw projector.

Pricing at $2,999, the BrightLink Pro can throw a 100-inch image to a wall or a flat-panel display with 16.6 million pixel resolution in all colours through Epson’s 3LCD technology.

“Size matters for readability and the BrightLink Pro enables four-way remote collaboration,” Savarese said.

It can also split the screen for showing a video, while collaborating on the other side. It can also be used for video conferencing. The BrightLink Pro comes with a high-efficiency lamp that lasts up to 3,500 hours in normal use mode. The product also has a built-in 10 watt speaker and microphone input along with closed captioning.

Two users with pens can produce content at the same time with BrightLink Pro. The pen can also be used as a wireless mouse and has been optimized for applications such as Microsoft Office, Cisco Webex and any browser.

While the BrightLink Pro is Epson’s first foray into the business market for collaboration, the product is suited for K-12 education environments.

Futuresource has forecasted that the total display technologies market of interactive whiteboards, interactive flat panels and interactive projectors will pass the one million device milestone by 2017 and Epson, with its BrightLink Pro, is making sure that it can get a big chunk of those sales.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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