Okay, I’m going to lead off with a disclosure that our company, AGT is a certified Jamboard dealer. We demo, sell, install, and support them. We can also do the same for the Cisco Spark Board, Microsoft Surface Hub, Infocus Mondopad, Nureva Span and numerous other interactive whiteboard solutions. So let’s review the new Jamboard:
As a further disclaimer, I’ll go ahead and say that I’m completely sold on the value of these collaborative whiteboard solutions. I’ve been in the audio visual and video conferencing industry for nearly 20 years. I’ve seen countless technologies come and go, and ridden and observed many hype cycles of various new technologies, both good and bad. Having experienced this, I’ve realized there is only one question that you should be asking yourself. Is it right for me?
Do I think everyone needs a Google Jamboard? Nope.
If you are coming into this cold and have no idea what exactly an interactive whiteboard or collaborative whiteboard or digital whiteboard or whatever it’s called is. Or have no idea if you need one; this is probably not a blog post for you.
If you kind of get what a Jamboard, Spark Board or Surface Hub is, or if you are a G suite user, then this blog post is for you.
In this review, I’m going to cover:
- What does it cost?
- What can I do with it?
- How does it work?
- What are some limitations, gotchas and concerns?
Okay, so let’s talk price…
55” Google Jamboard – $4,999 MSRP + $600 required annual management fee (Promotional Price of $300 for license until 9/30/2017)
So what is the Google Jamboard?
Google Jamboard is the ideal collaboration tool for G-Suite users. It’s a multi-purpose 55” 4K display that can be used for whiteboarding, video conferencing, or local presentations. Jamboard is designed to facilitate collaborative brainstorming, idea sharing and creativity with your team whether they are all in one room or spread across the globe. Your Jam sessions can include multiple Jamboards, Tablets, Smartphones, and laptops.
Key Features of Google Jamboard:
- Collaborate using drawing tools, sticky notes, images, content, and documents
- Tightly Integrated with G Suite , Google Docs and Google Search
- Video Conferencing with Google Hangouts and Hangouts Meet
- Jam sessions are automatically saved in Google Drive
For Video Conferences
Jamboard uses an integrated wide-angle camera, dual speakers and a built-in microphone for video conferencing. From a Jam session, you can connect to other team members on any type of device using Google Hangouts. Once in the session, you can have a fully interactive video conference. You can also share the content from the Jamboard to remote participants.
It has an SPDIF digital audio out connection that could be used to connect to an external speaker system if you need to boost the audio output. There are no input connections for external camera’s or microphone systems, so you should probably avoid trying to use Jamboard for video conferencing in large meeting rooms.
You should be fine using Jamboard in huddle rooms and small to medium sized conference rooms up to about 6-8 people.
Right from the moment that you walk up to Jamboard you realize how simple it is to use. Google went to great lengths to make using Jamboard as simple as possible. It’s just a single tap with the stylus to start the Jam session. The stylus and the eraser are passive, meaning there are no batteries or any pairing required.
Each Jam is tied to the owner of that session. You can login to the Jam session with your phone if you have the Jamboard App. The Jam app will recognize all Jamboards located near you.
Google did a great job designing a stylus that feels natural in your hands. It’s durable, has a good weight to it and is sized right so that you can use it comfortably. They also included handwriting and shape recognition intelligence in Jamboard that converts your handwriting, which is often messy on a whiteboard into typed text. It also converts most basic shapes, like the not so round circles you draw into perfectly round shapes that you can manipulate, resize, move around and duplicate.
Drawing Tool Highlights:
- 4 Colors choices for writing and drawing
- Handwriting and shape recognition
- Erase with your hand or the eraser
- Drawing and annotation can be done by any Jamboard or Tablet in the Jam session.
Jamboard allows you to create and post sticky notes during the Jam session. You have multiple colors to choose from. You can post sticky notes from any Jamboard, Tablet or Mobile Phone in the session.
Images and Content
Jamboard also allows you to bring in multiple types of content from different sources to the Jam session.
- Google web search for copyright safe images
- Pull images in from your Google Drive
- Pull in work from Docs, Sheets, and Slides stored in your Drive
- Upload pictures and images stored directly on your tablet or phone
- Upload G-suite documents from your tablet and phone
You can also take photos from the Jamboard camera and add them to the Jam session, in case you felt it were necessary to include a selfie in the Jam session.
Saving and Sharing
When you are done with your Jam session you don’t have to worry about saving it. Your Jam session is a persistent workspace that automatically saves when you are done. When you want to go back into the session, you can pick up right where you left off.
If someone missed the session or just wants to capture some notes, you can email your Jam session when you are done. You can choose to email a single frame of the session as a .png file or you can email the entire session as a .pdf.
What else can you do with Jamboard?
Jamboard has a single HDMI input that you can connect a laptop to. So, when you are not in a Jam session or a video conference, you can use Jamboard to display your laptop content for local in-room presentations and meetings. Jamboard also has Google Cast integrated in it so you can display wirelessly if you don’t want to use an HDMI cable connected to your laptop.
Limitations, Gotcha’s and other Concerns:
- You have to be a G Suite Basic, Business, Enterprise or Education customer to use Jamboard
- Laptops cannot contribute to a Jam Session – can only view a session via Hangouts
- Only available in a 55” Display, no larger sizes
- Cannot annotate in a Jam Session with the Phone App
- It’s heavy – 94.1lbs, 109.6lbs with the wall mount bracket
- Rolling Cart has a very wide wheel base – a little clunky to move around
Jamboard System & Options:
- 55-Inch, 4K Display
- Built in camera, microphone, and speakers
- Includes 2 passive styluses and an eraser
- Includes Wall Mount
- Optional Rolling Stand – $1,349 MSRP
- Red, Blue or Grey Colors Available
- 55-Inch, 4K Display
- 60 Hz Video Refresh Rate
- 120Hz Touch Scan Rate
- 16 simultaneous touch points
- WiFi 802.11ac 2×2
- 1 GB Ethernet
- Google Cast
- NFC for security control & sign-in
- 15 degree display tilt
- Bluetooth Enabled
- USB Type C, 2 x USB 3.0
- SPDIF Audio Out
- HDMI Input