How does the Clevertouch stack up against other interactive whiteboards?The Clevertouch is a clear leader in the interactive flat panel market, especially in the world of education. With an impressive history of success in Europe, and now the U.S., Clevertouch is an ideal option for any classroom, meeting room or training space. But what about other interactive flat panels, like the Google Jamboard or Microsoft Surface Hub? Can they match the Clevertouch in functionality and value? In some ways, perhaps. In most ways, no. There are numerous interactive flat panels on the market, and most are only suited for either educational or professional settings. This is what primarily separates the Clevertouch from other interactive flat panels, at it can serve admirably in either role. Here is a closer look at what the Clevertouch can do for schools and businesses:
1. The Clevertouch – The Clevertouch is available in several models, but the Plus Series and Pro Series are the foundational options here. The Plus Series is designed for the classroom while the Pro Series is better suited for professional collaboration and meetings.
The Plus Series is available in several sizes, from 55-inch to 86-inch, while the Pro Series comes in a single 65-inch build. The Pro Series can be fitted with capacitive touch, which greatly enhances the screen’s precision in picking up touch. With capacitive touch, users can reproduce handwriting to an extremely precise degree. All Clevertouch models support up to 20-point touch functionality, allowing for several users at once, and all are designed with the LUX interface, modeled heavily after Android interfaces. LUX is made to be as intuitive as possible, and anyone with any experience at all with Android will find it simple to engage with the Clevertouch.
The Clevertouch can also be built with a PC module, and this allows users to switch between LUX and Windows with ease. This feature is especially important for businesses that rely on the Microsoft ecosystem. Both the Clevertouch Plus and Pro Series offer excellent connectivity, with integrated Wi-Fi. The Plus Series comes with an additional HDMI 2.0 port while the Pro Series offers four more USB 2.0 ports, ideal for all those extra devices.
There are too many features to list with the Clevertouch, but what deserves special mention is its software offerings. These, and the Clevertouch’s reasonable price, are what really drive the interactive touch panel ahead of other options.
The keystone software offering is Lynx and Lynx Pro. Lynx is the Clevertouch’s whiteboarding software, and allows teachers and presenters to create lessons or presentations, deliver them with simple controls and instantly drag in any type of media for annotation. Lynx is perfect for teachers who want to create a variety of lessons, as they can use any online media to enhance those lessons. Further, Lynx comes with sentence builders, timers, calendars and other educational tools for additional learning. During a meeting, Lynx Pro powers collaboration like nothing else. Imagine, for example, coming up with a brand logo design. Lynx can be used to brainstorm concepts and if the team wants to look at competitor logos, they can be dragged in, studied closely and annotated for future consideration. This is just one example, but the process holds across many subjects.
Beyond Lynx and Lynx Pro, there is Clevermaths, which can graph equations, introduce algebraic and geometric functions, and simulate a variety of scientific experiments. Snowflake is ideal for both educational and professional applications, as it allows for node-based learning and collaboration. It also provides advanced multi-user functionality and can even be used to examine 3D models. And DisplayNote links the Clevertouch with other devices, allowing users to control the Clevertouch remotely and steps the collaboration up further. With DisplayNote, users can add notes to shared content and provide it to other team members.
Finally, the Cleverstore gives teachers a bottomless cache of additional educational resources. The Cleverstore is like any other app store, except that all of the apps are educational-focused and are 100 percent free.
2. Google Jamboard – With collaboration the critical trend is in the professional world, where it was only a matter of time before the heavy hitters showed up. Google’s entry into the interactive flat panel market is the Jamboard, a 55-inch display capable of 4K resolution.
The Jamboard is clearly a business-only product, as it lacks any educational resources for teachers. This might change in the future, but for now there are few app choices available. And while the app choices are limited, the Jamboard does allow for some creative collaborating. It is built around its whiteboarding concept, with sessions called “Jams.” During a Jam, users can drag in media from the web or from their Google Drive or Docs. Multiple Jamboards can be connected to run a single collaborative session, so people in several locations can have input at once.
The drawbacks with the Jamboard keep it from being another killer Google product. For one, it’s expensive. The board itself is fairly reasonably priced, but Google asks for an annual $600 fee on top of the purchase price. This adds up quick if a business plans on bringing in an entire fleet of Jamboards. Further, Google’s software offerings are scant, relying on the existing Google suite to power the board. The problem is, Google Drive and Documents are really designed for the Jamboard. This is most obvious when working on a Google Doc or Drive file. Any changes to the file will not be saved to the source file, which is a frustrating oversight.
3. Microsoft Surface Hub – Microsoft’s Surface Hub is far more functional than the Jamboard, in that it can facilitate more than just a simple whiteboarding collaborative session. It can also be used for standard meetings (using PowerPoint, for example) and is easy enough to use with video conferencing.
However, cost is a major limiting factor here. The Surface Hub is the Ferrari of the interactive flat panel sector, as its 55-inch model comes in at a whopping $8,999. And that’s just the 55-inch model. The 84-inch will hit the corporate credit card for around $21,999. For the price of a single 84-inch Surface Hub, a company could get three or four Clevertouch Pros instead. Weigh the value accordingly.
The Surface Hub is certainly an impressive piece of hardware. The display is sharp and can be viewed from most angles, and the onboard speaker quality is excellent. However, like with the Jamboard, you’re locked into an ecosystem here. The Microsoft ecosystem is arguably better suited for this role, compared to Google’s. But compared to the Clevertouch, it doesn’t do anything extra. In fact, its whiteboarding software is limited in that it offers no extra teaching tools. What it does offer is 100-point multi-touch functionality, but this is considered to be somewhat over the top since more than two users at once presents an issue with finding room for everyone.
Also, the Surface Hub lacks some on the connectivity side. It only offers four USB ports to the Clevertouch Pro’s eight, so some sacrifice may be required when setting up extra devices.While the interactive flat panel market is heating up with some well-known names, the Clevertouch continues to set the pace, from early education to high-powered business collaboration.