Electronic Whiteboards Review

Why Buy Electronic Whiteboards?

An electronic whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and shows images thrown by a projector. The mounted or freestanding whiteboard mirrors the computer's screen, and you can control the computer by interacting with the board using a pen, fingers or a supported input device. While the first interactive whiteboards were used in offices for sharing and presenting ideas within business groups, they are now also found in schools, sports training rooms and TV studios.

Interactive whiteboards connect to PCs via wired or wireless connection. Therefore, an electronic whiteboard can connect to a PC via USB, serial port cable, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Most of these whiteboards use infrared scanning with or without ultrasonic pens, resistive touchscreen or electromagnetic pens for interactivity. A few examples of electronic whiteboards are the MimioBoard Interactive Whiteboard, Hitachi FX-79E1 and eBeam Edge.

Electronic Whiteboards: What to Look For

Electronics whiteboards come in different sizes and with varying sets of features. The right one to choose depends on your needs. For example, while all interactive whiteboards support pen and/or touch inputs, an electronic whiteboard for schools does not need to support smartphone connectivity or run business software like interactive whiteboards meant for offices. Whichever type of interactive whiteboard you want, here are the features to look for:

Content Interaction
Interactivity is a key feature of electronic whiteboards. To keep your audience fully engaged, you need to be able to interact with the projected content on the smart board. Content interaction involves using your fingers, the included pen or supported input device to draw, highlight and click hyperlinks on the board. It also involves playing, pausing and extracting clips from multimedia contents.

Electronic whiteboards run software. While there are models with general, all-purpose software for interacting with contents projected on these boards, you need a smart whiteboard running software specific for your needs. For example, an electronic whiteboard meant for grade schools should have software tailored for young students. Such software will provide access to educational content, just as a business electronic whiteboard should integrate with business collaborative tools such as Microsoft Lync.

Saving, Sharing & Printing
You should not have to take notes while using an electronic whiteboard. As you annotate and add more content to the board, you should be able to save each page at the press of a button. In addition to saving the content created on it, an electronic board should be able to share these saved pages with participants by sending them copies via email, wirelessly to connected mobile devices and as hard copies using a connected printer.

Device Support & Interconnectivity
In addition to the image projected onto its screen, an electronic whiteboard should also be able to pull content from connected peripheral devices such as flash drives, cameras and camcorders. Most interactive boards have USB ports for just this purpose. Furthermore, a smart whiteboard should be able to join a local network and go online either to provide access to more information or support remote participation.

An electronic whiteboard can significantly improve communication and productivity in your organization, but finding the right one is key. The right electronic whiteboard meets your needs and your budgetary requirements.