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API Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Mik Kersten, Liz McMillan, SmartBear Blog, Greg O'Connor

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The Whiteboard Is the Typewriter of the New Millennium

The Whiteboard

Remember the typewriter? Today, it is extinct.

Why Did Typewriters Die?

Four critical factors of the PC revolution spelled the demise of the typewriter. A new hardware platform, a simple operating system, a new breed of intuitive software programs and the right price point made this new tool – the personal computer – accessible by businesses and individuals around the world. The advent of the PC spelled the end to a business device that had been in use for almost 100 years.

What is the Next Business Dinosaur?

Today we are witnessing the demise of another staple of business – the physical whiteboard. You see them in almost every office and conference room. It is where the real discussion and collaboration take place. The problem is you can’t share that discussion with people who are not in the room with you. Worse, at the end, someone usually takes out their phone and takes a photo of the discussion that just took place on the whiteboard. A recent survey we conducted showed that 68 percent of business professionals have more than six photos of whiteboards on their cell phones. 25 percent have fifteen or more photos of a whiteboard on their device.

With the accelerating adoption of touch technology and mobile devices in the workplace, the physical whiteboard will be as outdated as the typewriter in a few years. Businesses will soon have access to a broad based, low cost, highly interactive mobile whiteboard – one that lets you share, save and keep working on your ideas in real time.

Three Reasons the Old Whiteboard Will Die

(1) The Technology Has Hit The Tipping Point

Just as the PC killed the typewriter, tablets are the new hardware platform that will spell the demise of the physical whiteboard. New software-based visual collaboration – interactive or mobile whiteboarding – will bring the authenticity and simplicity of the physical whiteboard to highly interactive and mobile devices.

Today’s workers are on the go, and companies need an inexpensive, light, easy-to-use solution that not only lets people capture their ideas and conversations as quickly digitally as they did on the old physical whiteboard, but lets them collaborate in real time with anyone around the world.

(2) Visual Collaboration is the Next Productivity Tool

How do we work? By communicating together. This is why email has been such a key productivity tool for so long. It is the #1 productivity tool on tablets. Web conferencing is another standard tool in today’s business. The challenge there is that it is a one-way conversation, regardless of all the ‘passing of the baton’ we do. We watch, but we do not create. The ability to create and collaborate in real time has arrived. Nothing is more powerful than the ability to show someone what you are thinking and get an immediate reaction. It increases the productivity of teams working together, particularly those not in the same room.

Think about the impact Google Docs has had on the world. The ability to create standard office documents or spreadsheets together at the same time was so powerful that Microsoft and Box have also delivered offerings in this space.

We are visual by nature, and use images and drawings to quickly communicate ideas. Real time, visual collaboration will distinguish the 21st century ‘whiteboards’ letting people from different locations create in a free-form manner, see what each other are thinking, identify disparities and bring alignment. They will be able to save these visual discussions to return to them and keep evolving them. All of which makes businesses more efficient.

(3) It Drives Business and Saves Money

“This is going to cut my travel.” That was the first comment I got from a technical sales person who saw a mobile whiteboarding solution. When I asked him why, he said, “Today, I have to get on a plane to get into a same room to have this type of conversation. I have to be in the same room to whiteboard. If I could do that over the wire, I’d be able to interact with my customers better.” And the fact is, you can’t interact like this in a web conference today

Even Forbes reported this month that an Internet connection is all that is needed to let employees “connect to work” and get their jobs done. In fact, Forbes specifically called out that the new collaborative technologies will allow us to work while we are on the go from our mobile devices.

Best of all is the cost. Today’s mobile whiteboarding solutions can be purchased for a few dollars per user with real time collaboration services offered in the base price or as a subscription.

Better Customer Interactions. Better Business Outcomes

We are witnessing the death of the old whiteboard and a fundamental change in how we do business today. Interactive and mobile whiteboarding is coming of age right now. It can reduce your costs, drive better relationships and deliver more efficiency for today’s highly mobile work force.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

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