What is an Interactive Whiteboard?
An interactive whiteboard or LCD is a computer driven device, allowing users to access and manipulate electronic files by means of a projector (only for whiteboards) and the board’s surface. The interactive whiteboard or LCD will be connected to a computer, and the computer then connected to a projector. For the system to operate properly, all three items must be present. The board serves a variety of functions, and is capable of many different things. First and foremost, would be the creation of interactivity with your computer files.
An Extension of your Computer
At a very basic level, think of the board as a large computer accessory – it can mirror whatever is displayed on your monitor. If your desktop is being shown on the board, simply double tap an icon and that file will open. If your Internet browser is being shown, simply touch the back button, and the browser will go back one page. In this manner, you would be interacting with a mouse functionality. However, an interactive whiteboard or LCD can do much more than that.
An important note regarding the term "Smartboard"
“Smartboard” is a whiteboard by Smart Technologies, however, it has become synonymous with interactive whiteboards in general. Although many people refer to interactive whiteboards as smartboards, a “Smart Board” is actually a product made by Smart Technologies. It is very similar to the way people refer to any brand of tissue as a Kleenex, or any photo copier as a Xerox machine. For example, a board made by Hitachi is an interactive whiteboard, although people will commonly refer to it as a Hitachi smartboard.
How Big are Interactive Whiteboards?
Interactive Whiteboards come in a variety of sizes but generally range anywhere from 77" through 100".
The Promethean line of Interactive Whiteboards can be purchased as stand-alone 78 inch
and 88 inch
models or as part of a full solution
Promethean SmartBoard Kit
. Have questions? Call, chat, request a quote or even request a demo. We are here to answer all of your questions.
What is Digital Annotation?
Think of the way you would write on a traditional chalkboard. As the piece of chalk makes contact with the board, it forms letters and numbers. With an interactive whiteboard, it does the same exact thing – it just does it electronically.
Think of it as digital ink. You are still writing on the board, just in a different way. You can have the board as a blank white surface, and fill it up with notes, just like a chalkboard. Or, you can display a file and annotate over it. An example of annotation would be bringing up a map. You could write over top of the map in a variety of different colors. Then, when you are done, you can save the marked up file as an image. At that point, it is an electronic file that can be emailed, printed, saved for a later date – whatever you wanted to do.
Can it be Mobile?
An interactive whiteboard or LCD is traditionally wall mounted, however, it is also possible to place it on a mobile stand. Therefore, you gain the ability to take your interactive whiteboard from one room to another. There are several different types of stands available, suiting many different types of applications. It is very important that a stand be compatible with the board, as well as the projector. If you are interested in making your system mobile, please call us at (866) 942-6273 to discuss your application further.
How to choose an interactive whiteboard:
Bigger is always better in this world, but that obviously comes at a cost. For smaller meetings of 2 – 10 people, we recommend screens which are at least 50 inches diagonally. For 10-25 people, it is best to be in the 60-80” range, and then for audiences of up to 50 people, the largest boards are the ticket (80 – 105 inches.) For larger audiences, we recommend that presenters also use a small interactive LCD screen which would be placed on a podium. The presenter makes annotations on the screen, which are then broadcasted by a projector, onto a large projection screen or even a wall. These are commonly used in auditoriums or college lecture halls where there can be hundreds of audience members.
This is an easy one. WXGA is hands down the way to go, however it does cost slightly more. All computers made in the last few years are in the widescreen format, therefore, you should match the projector and whiteboard resolution to that of your computer. This will give you the optimal picture quality. However, if you do not have enough money to purchase a widescreen board, you can still use a regular format, as there is only a slight decrease in quality.
Portable systems like the aforementioned eBeam or MimioTeach can run from $600-1000, depending on the model. A full size interactive whiteboard would range from $1000-3000, however, you then need to add the cost of a projector on top of this. Interactive LCD and LED screens are available in sizes from 30 inches, to currently around 90, ranging in price from a few thousand dollars, up to tens of thousands of dollars. This is where Touchboards can help. If you let us know your needs and budget, we can design a solution that works.
There are obviously many different brands to choose from. The “biggest” is not always the best for you. Some people love Nike sneakers and I think they are a great brand, however, I don’t pay a premium for a logo on my shoes. Many people do and that is the great thing about our company. We have the largest selection of brands in the world, and the right team to help you pick out a product that works for you. I could go on for ages about each different brand and their advantages and disadvantages, but in my next section, I will talk about several features to help you choose a product which will leave you happy with your purchase.
To note, we carry all major brands: Hitachi
, Smart Technologies
, and more...
What is the best Interactive Whiteboard Brand?
There is no simple answer to that questions. At Touchboards, we strive to ensure that each customer receives the best solution for their application. Various brands fit better in different applications. In order to best serve our customers we carry every major brand of Interactive Whiteboards including StarBoard
, Newline Interactive
The video above demonstrates the difference between a Smart board
and the Promethean Activboard
including the differing features between both software offerings.