Jeff Lowe is the VP Enterprise Sales & Marketing, SMART Technologies. SMART Technologies Inc., a leading collaboration company and global provider of visual collaboration solutions, recently announced a new product called, SMART kapp, which is the world’s first digital capture board. SMART kapp capitalizes on the company’s 20 year history as the inventor of the SMART Board® interactive whiteboard, their collaboration technologies and their patents. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jeff about this amazing new product and what we can expect.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got started with at SMART Technologies and your role with the company?
Jeff Lowe: I have been at SMART for a little over two years now, after a career in large technology organizations like IBM and TELUS. SMART has two distinct business units, one is the K-12 and the other is corporate or what we call Enterprise market. I am head of sales and marketing for the Enterprise market. We help companies to collaborate better with their workers whether they are in the same office, same city or across the world.
MG: Give us the lowdown on creating the world’s first digital capture board, SMART kapp?
JL: When you look at what collaboration tools companies are using, almost every company uses dry erase boards and flip charts. They have been around for decades and haven’t changed much, if at all, while other tools have adapted greatly to how far we have come in technology. That is one side and the other is informal collaboration, which is really growing. It is the preverbal water cooler conversations and the meetings that happen in between meetings, this is where a lot of work is being done these days in corporation around the world. So we feel that due to these things there are new tools required to grow and advance.
MG: What are some of the features that you are most excited about?
JL: I would have to mention three. The first is the ability to capture what is written on the board in real-time. Often times what happens in a meeting is that people are jotting down their ideas and then that information then needs to be captured. This can happen via one of two ways, either someone has to come and write it up or people take a photo with their phones. It is often not an ideal way to capture that information. On the kapp board you can literally just hit a button and capture what is on the board in a high quality digital image like a JPG or PDF. The next one is to be able to share that with remote workers. How often during meetings do we have remote people on the phone, who are trying to follow a meeting but cannot see what is being written on the board, so they become disengaged. Sometime people will take a photo of the board and email it to the remote workers. What we are able to do with the kapp board is you can scan a QR code, which launches your email on your mobile phone that is paired with the board and you send an email which invites them to the kapp meeting. There is nothing that the remote worker even has to have installed. They open a browser and can watch in real time the annotations taking place on the board.
MG: Since it is glass; how resistance are we talking to scratches and other wear and tear?
JL: We have thought of that. It made with tempered glass. It is pretty heavy duty glass. One of the great things about glass is how easy it is to write on. It is very smooth and elegant. It also is easy to erase it. We all know how dry erase board have issues with old things left on there that can’t be erased. That all goes away with the glass surface.
MG: Are they any features that are going to be added in at a later time?
JL: Yes, that is a fantastic question Mike! This is version 1 and we are looking to launch the next version already with the next few months with shipping to begin start of the next year. Some of the features you will see is size. The current size is similar to a typical dry erase board or flip chart. We are looking to introduce one in the 80+ inch range. The second is colors. Right now, the color of the ink is only black. In the future we are planning on including other colors. We are also looking to expand features with the software application itself, for example things like print to text conversion and expanding on the number of concurrent users that can connect to a meeting, which is right now five.