I had a great conversation with Smart Technologies CTO Warren Barkley at Enterprise Connect (News - Alert), in which we talked about the company’s recent announcement that their Smart Room System was incapable of integrating with Lync. I found this especially interesting because the product enabled any-to-any interface for collaborators using any size display. Back when NYNEX built its own system, such developments were the focus for our MultiChannelUnit Mixer. Today, though, the Web masks all that.
Warren Barkley and I got to speaking about the Web, which was a particularly exciting aspect of the discussion due to the fact that so much of Smart Technologies development is moving to HTML5. While the Lync connection is solving the size of the video conferencing systems, HTML5 solves the broader problem posed by mobile users tablets, phones and Smart Technologies’ own displays. Here, in fact, the battle between look and feel is in the hands of Smart Technologies itself. While Apple, Android (News - Alert) and other mobile phones have a bias toward native, the effort to keep the Smart Technologies focus on the user already experienced with the product makes HTML5 the clear winner.
Smart Technologies manages a lot of software systems other than the several hardware systems represented by their whiteboards, tables and peripherals. For instance, here are all the software components that must be integrated to the hardware’s whiteboard software.
- SMART Notebook collaborative learning software
- SMART amp collaborative learning software
- SMART Bridgit conferencing software
- SMART Sync classroom management software
- SMART Classroom Suite interactive learning software
With five software packages requiring support and the need to address their own hardware integration, supporting the mobile platforms of other companies can be a serious diversion.
In Warren Barkley, you have a former Microsoft (News - Alert) executive who believes that HTML5 is the future. Microsoft has been doing some amazing work with HTML5, and Azure and Warren sees the promise of it as well. And regarding the Web as the best place for collaboration puts Smart Technologies in good company, because this is the 25th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee initial description of a collaborative tool we now call… the Web.
In our discussion, Warren Barkley also pointed out that Smart Technologies serves two market sectors, Education and Business. He went on to say that while today Education was the company’s strong suit, the Business sector might actually gain more from Smart Technologies systems.
The rich collaborative tools now available suggest that discussion, interaction and annotation are only now beginning to be understood. From my perspective, I want to be able to access and use an interactive whiteboard at all times.
The future looks quite interactive for Smart Technologies and I look forward to seeing their collaborations efforts pay off in the near future as well as the long run.
Edited by Alisen Downey