Why Smart Boards are the future of collaboration, today!

The world of collaboration has been revolutionised by technology over the last decade. In businesses, in schools and in our homes, we now have access to high-speed Internet; with sufficient bandwidth to support the passage of Audio Visual streams from multiple collaborators and to access almost unlimited information at the click of a button. We have incredible resources at our finger tips. The internet has made remote working and collaboration a reality.

In parallel to this Internet revolution, the Audio Visual tools at our disposal have dramatically improved in both quality and scope of functionality. One tool that is transforming the way we collaborate is the Smart Board.

So what can Smart boards do better than other solutions?
Productivity hinges on the capacity of a team to share information and ideas effectively. Smart Boards have grown into the collaborative space to facilitate learning, strategic collaboration and effective presentation. They provide the platform for seamless information flow between stakeholders in a conversation.

In short, Smart Boards make the collaboration process easier and more interactive. Their simple interface allows collaborators in a room, or in multiple locations, to record ideas, share information and distribute outcomes by email; instantaneously.

Everything can be done from one interface without the need for note taking and duplication of effort. Participants can feed in to a conversation thread without having to send an email, raise their hand, or even say a word. Rich media, such as 3-D computer generated models, and video footage, can be manipulated, understood and incorporated into solutions.

Smart boards are becoming an integral part of business processes in diverse organisations around the world. Let’s take a look at how some are using Smart Boards to increase their efficiency and productivity.

BT Group Smart Board Collaboration and Training
The agility of an organisation’s project management teams is vital to success. At their Adastral Park office, near Ipswich, BT Group have integrated Smart Boards into their day to day activities.

Director of the Agile Development Centre, Bola Oshisanwo, explained at the 2011 Learning Technologies event, in Olympia 2, that they use the boards for nearly everything that they do. Their day starts with to do lists on the boards, designs are done on the boards; and often saved directly to powerpoint.

The boards are the collaborative shortcut that facilitate agile project management. Smart Board solutions are also used by BT Group to train people around the world, saving money on air fares, and avoiding human capital expenditure through the elimination of travel time. BT Group are demonstrating the future of around the world training and collaboration, today.

Coahoma High School, Texas, TAKS Scores
In education there is no doubt that more interactivity leads to better results. A case in point is seen in results in the Texas Academic Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test taken by all students in Texas. Odis Franklin was brought in as Technology Director at Coahoma High School in Texas. He was charged with providing ways that technology could help improve results on this test; in maths, science and social studies. His key intervention was the implementation of Smart Boards.

The results have been astonishing. Within 2 years the school has seen a 10% improvement in TAKS pass rates. Franklin puts the success of his strategy down to the increased involvement and interactivity that students enjoy when presented with information on Smart Boards.

Educational environments require that information is presented in a manner that can be assimilated by different learning styles. Smart Boards provide the opportunity to blend teaching methods and media in order to maximise learning. It is little wonder that thousands of schools, and training departments, around the world are choosing this technology to be an integral tool in the learning process.

Turner Construction Company Modelling and Collaboration
Turner Construction have integrated Smart Boards into their business processes. Smart Boards enable them to collaborate using building information modelling to ensure that everything is planned thoroughly before the plans go on site. The technology is used both by teams in their offices and to interact with remote teams on any of the 1200+ projects they run each year.

A good example that highlights the way they use the technology is found in the Seattle Airport rental car facility that they built. Dwayne Goddard, the project manager, explained that there were issues with spatial planning in the roof. It was incredibly hard to visualise and map out how to incorporate the metal framing, diagonal braces and fire protection.

Collaborative 3-D modelling enabled them to work out that they could run the fire protection through the studs themselves. Without the use of smart technology it would have been incredibly difficult to collaboratively solve the problem. Getting it wrong could have been financially crippling for the project.

Turner have run analysis comparing their projects that have used smart technology and those that have not. They estimate that Smart Boards promote a productivity gain of around 100% in terms of mechanic trade alone, realised through enhanced collaboration and clash detection.

Brian Krause, National Manager Integrated Building Solutions, says that bringing the technology to the projects helps them to build better buildings!

The Future of Collaboration and Learning
It is clear from these three case studies how diverse the applications of this technology can be. Embracing the technology can lead to immediate increases in team productivity. It can enhance transfer of learning. It can facilitate the resolution of complex challenges. Smart Boards are the future of learning, training and agile collaboration.

With the weight of evidence supporting the benefits of the technology, and the rate at which it is being adopted by companies and organisations around the world, the question isn’t whether you can afford to implement this technology; it is whether you can afford not to.