You’ve just sketched out a brilliant idea on a whiteboard, but now you need to preserve it and share your work with others. So, you whip out your smartphone, take a photo of said sketch, find the file on your phone, and send your colleagues the photo using a separate app.
SMART Technologies has a more efficient approach, and an alternative to Microsoft’s newest large-screen conference room computer.
The product is a digital capture whiteboard called the SMART kapp, released this past summer by the Calgary-based company, best known for its interactive whiteboards.
While SMART kapp uses a traditional dry-erase pen and eraser, it also offers people the ability to share what’s being drawn or written on the board in real-time via an accompanying app or web browser. The board also lets users take virtual snapshots of their work at any time — those watching the screen online or with the app can do the same, too — and save or share the files in digital form.
This video gives you a better idea of how SMART kapp works:
SMART Technologies employs 65 people in its Seattle-based R&D office, which opened in January 2014. The company began shipping the product late last year, and CTO Warren Barkley told GeekWire that the reaction has been “tremendous.”
“We knew kapp would be big, but even we underestimated its popularity,” Barkley said. “Our biggest challenge now is keeping up with demand.”
The 42-inch SMART kapp sells for $899, while the 84-inch screen retails at $1,199. It could be an alternative to the collaboration features of Microsoft’s Surface Hub, the yet-to-be-released 84-inch display device from the Redmond company that offers some of the same collaboration features as the SMART kapp, but in a full-fledged touch-screen computer. Microsoft has yet to announce pricing for the Surface Hub.
Barkley said that his company welcomes competition from Microsoft.
“We lead the market in large interactive boards, having founded the category more than 20 years ago,” he said. “We think it’s great to see solutions like the Surface Hub come to market, because it validates what we’ve been doing for years — offering a truly collaborative experience in the conference room so work can actually get done in a meeting.”
SMART Technologies was originally founded in 1987 and went public in 2010. It posted $589.2 million in revenue during the company’s most recent fiscal year and has 59.9 percent market share for interactive displays in the U.S.
Barkley added that the company’s Seattle engineering office is “an important location for us.”
“The talent pool here is phenomenal with amazing tech companies — both large and startups — based right here,” Barkley said.
The Seattle location, SMART’s only engineering-focused office outside of Calgary, has room for up to 100 employees.