Calgary firm makes digital white board

White boards are part of many enterprises, allowing staff to write, print, scrawl and doodle their way to the organization’s Next Big Thing.

But in this digital age at the end of the meeting most boards usually have no way to capture the results, except take a snapshot with a smart phone.

Smart Technologies, a Calgary maker of dry erase boards is about to release a solution: a digital capture board that saves and wirelessly sends PDF or JPG images to almost any device.

Called the Smart kapp, the 42-in. glass covered touch-screen board will be on sale in the fall for US$899.

Smart Technologies' Smart kapp board
Smart Technologies’ Smart kapp board

It’s the latest collaboration tool from Smart Technologies, whose biggest market is education sector. The goal of the Smart kapp, said Warren Barkley, the company’s chief technology officer, is to make a white board that’s  saves content and is simple to use.

Through an app, mobile devices can connect by clicking on a QR code on the board, through Bluetooth or an NFC tag. (The company says it will add Wi-Fi connectivity in the future.)

After connecting, “any drawing you do on the board will just show up on the phone.”

Once tethered, the session can be shared in real time with others who aren’t in the room by clicking on a share button in the app, which creates a URL that can be mailed to anyone.

Users can also capture a digital snapshot of a drawing in several stages as PDFs, JPGs and images in Microsoft OneNote and Evernote. In the future they can also be saved as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint images.

“With a normal dry erase pen the user can save far more easily than trying to take a photograph of the content, it means remote users can now also collaborate,” said CEO Neil Gaydon. “That will have a huge effect on efficiency in phone calls.”

Special pens aren’t needed, he said (although, as with all boards it helps that users wield erasable markers and not permanent ones.)

The company hopes that by the end of the year it will release an 80-in. version of the board.

Gaydon said the smaller model is the size of a typical paper flip-chart used in many offices.

It’s a self-supported device that doesn’t need to attach to corporate networks. Out of the box content can be shared with five devices. For an extra monthly fee (which hasn’t been set yet but is expected to be a few dollars) content can be shared with an unlimited number of users, a PIN code for added security, the ability to convert handwriting to text.

Unlike its other products, Smart kapp will be sold online because it doesn’t need installation. It will also be available through the company’s reseller network and distributed through the Westcon Group.

Smart Technologies makes a range of interactive whiteboards and flat panel screens for the business and education markets. That includes the Smart Room System for Microsoft Lync users, with single or dual monitors for video collaboration.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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