Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Digital Tables Everywhere

At nsquared we have a mission - to put digital tables everywhere. Everywhere there is a table there is an opportunity to enhance the experience at that table with digital content.

First and foremost a table is a gathering place for people to meet and to share ideas and experiences. By adding digital content directly to the surface of the table we are creating a space that enhances and enriches human contact because it responds easily and naturally to the physical interaction of many users, simultaneously. It’s social, and encourages people to engage. 

Three people standing around a digital table interacting with content on the table.
  A table is a place of social gathering 
Most computer interfaces are designed for individual use. We even call them personal
computers. The large vertical screens that most of us are familiar with (TVs and Cinema screens) have been places of social gathering for friends and family for some time. Yet the vertical screen experience is not socially engaging in the same way as sitting around a campfire or a dinner table. The dynamics of sitting in a circle or around a table facing other people is very different to the dynamics that exist when we all sit facing in the same direction. In fact we are taught at an early age not to talk (or socialize) when we’re all sitting and facing the same way (otherwise the teacher gets very annoyed). 

The rise of blogs, Twitter and most noticeably Facebook has shown us that people really love to connect and share their experiences with each other. Human beings are social animals. Most people share what seems to be a primal need to gather in groups to play, work and relax.

This brings us back to the objective of enhancing the socialization that occurs as we sit facing each other. By enabling digital content (which is a big part of many of our lives) to be rendered directly onto the table we can enrich the conversations and therefore the experiences of the people gathered around the table. Adding the ability for the people around the table to interact with the content at the same time creates an even more memorable and emotionally attached result. 

There are educational, business and recreational benefits to digital tables.

A group of school children standing around a digital table learning chemistry
Students learn better in groups 
Creating an environment where students can collaborate to create content or compete with each other while learning has demonstrated positive educational benefits. Students are drawn to digital
tables and subsequently and almost seamlessly into an environment that, with the right software, enhances their enjoyment of learning, encourages social interaction and creates an emotional attachment to the content. Think about the times that you have read something and then forgotten it a few days later, and then compare that with how well you
remember things when they are part of a conversation you’ve had with other people. Often you will remember the people involved and their expressions as much as the lesson learned or topic discussed. 

Three people sitting around a digital table exploring documents.
Meetings can be enhanced with a digital table 
The same rules apply to business conversations. If you are really trying to encourage a group of people to brainstorm, plan, collaborate, sell, and share then you want them facing each other and talking. People need to be looking at each other’s faces, reading body language, and listening. This is why we sit around a meeting room table when we want to find a solution to a problem, determine an action plan for a project, or make a sales pitch to a client. Current widespread behavior of bringing laptops to the meeting table and using them during the meeting (often for checking emails, sending instant messages and checking Facebook) defeats the purpose of sitting around a table to solve a problem and share ideas. Not only are the people at the meeting disengaged from each other, the
open laptop screens provide physical barriers to the conversation. 

A table that enables the display and creation of digital content is an open space that encourages people to connect socially and engage in the conversation.

Two tourists explore content while sitting at a digital table.
Digital tables create places for people to interact 
In recreational environments where searching for places of interest, building itineraries, and game playing are common activities, we can improve the experience by presenting the information in digital form on the tabletop. 

By enabling people to bring their own content and take value away from the table on their own devices, the digital table can start to provide seamless integration with familiar mobile technology and then extend the experience and engagement.

We are sure that the future for all of us will include more digital tables and a better use of technology for face-to-face social interactions. At nsquared we are proud to be pioneers of this exciting opportunity and look forward to making this dream become reality. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A great table for Alexander the Great

The nsquared team is excited to see their latest creation go live at the Australian Museum in Sydney.
A multi-user interactive digital table solution designed to show visitors how Alexander the Great influenced science, architecture, language, trade, art, and religion in the last 2500 years.

For the team in the Sydney development studio it has been a busy few months. Shipping this product has taken a lot of effort. With the incredible help from the museum staff we have managed to create an amazing experience for visitors to the exhibit.

The items on display from the State Hermitage in Russia are truly outstanding, well worth going to see. The digital table takes this experience to another level by adding a multi-user interactive component to allow you to explore the world of Alexander the Great with your friends.

We hope you get a chance to visit the museum and experience the Alexander the Great exhibit. The exhibit is open until April 2013.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What's new in digital tables

Here is a round up of some of the new things happening with digital tabletop technology.
As developers of software and resellers of digital tabletop hardware we are constantly on the look out for the latest technology and the changes happening in this space.
At the beginning of this year (2012) Samsung released the long awaited Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense. The team at nsquared had been working with Microsoft and Samsung for over a year prior to this release and nsquared is acting as a reseller for the SUR40 in Australia. Many of our clients are buying the SUR40 preloaded with a number of the nsquared applications.

The nsquared meeting room table

Since the launch of the SUR40 several interesting tabletop solutions have started to emerge. Working with 3M, nsquared has embedded a multi-touch screen into meeting room tables, creating a totally flat (no bezel) tabletop solution that is easy to wipe down and keep clean as well as being very robust and usable from any side of the table. More good news is coming from our work with 3M later this year as this engadget article suggests.

We are expecting a number of far smaller form factors to emerge in the coming months, driven in part by the release of Microsoft Windows 8.  The team at Sony have demonstrated the Vaio Tap 20, a 20" multi-touch (10) screen that can morph between a vertical screen and a horizontal screen. Clearly smaller than most of the screens nsquared has been working with, but it offers an entry level digital table top experience for 2 people. We are hoping to see several more solutions like this from other hardware manufacturers in the coming months.
The Sony Vaio Tap 20

So what is next ? 
There are a lot of research projects happening in the field of table top computers and we hope some of these will lead to new exciting products we can use to help build rich experiences for our customers. One that has caught our eye is the BendDesk project in Germany, a touch surface that has a horizontal and a vertical component. While not the social experience that we love about true digital tables, it still represents and interesting look at how the interactive workspace might evolve.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Longton Real Estate

Longton Group is an international property group, dedicated to deliverying premium quality property products and services across the Asia-Pacific region. Longton specializes in providing modern, luxury apartments equipped the latest digital technology. It was a natural choice to use the Samsung SUR40 with nsquared presenter in their Sydney showroom.

By using the table in conjunction with three short throw projectors, clients and partners can interact directly with content during a sales presentation creating a strong engagement with the sales team.
"Our team has found nsquared presenter extremely easy to use and it’s made a big impression with our clients during sales presentations”

Steven Yu, Managing Director Longton Real Estate, Sydney


Monday, July 9, 2012

Featured in The Australian

We had a great visit from Chris Griffith last week, of The Australian newspaper.

We spent about an hour showing Chris all the great work we are doing with tabletop computers, specifically the Samsung SUR40. 

Today an article from Chris appeared in The Australian newspaper and it can be found online here

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Australian Launch event for Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense

Last week was a big week for us at nsquared. Working with Samsung, we launched the Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense in Australia at an event in Sydney.
Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense running nsquared presenter.

The nsquared team at the event demonstrated a number of applications. Amongst the most popular was nsquared presenter, from the nsquared business pack. With nsquared presenter content such as Microsoft Office documents, images and movies can be shared on the table and sent to other screens. Other devices running nsquared presenter can also share content between each other.
With nsquared presenter we are bringing all your digital devices together to create a truly collaborative solution.

Here is some press we received from the day:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Microsoft Surface and Microsoft PixelSense

The announcement from Microsoft today is really exciting; Microsoft is producing two tablet devices to support the new Windows 8 operating system. 
At nsquared we have always been huge fans of tablet computing. Microsoft recently announced that they are extending the Surface brand again to deliver Microsoft designed and manufactured products that showcase the capabilities of Windows 8.  This means the devices we previously knew and loved as Microsoft Surface are now being rebranded to Microsoft PixelSense. 
At nsquared we will continue to build great software for all forms of multi-touch and interactive devices and this now expands the range of options for us, and you our customers.
Microsoft Surface running Windows 8
Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense running nsquared herding

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Announcing nsquared presenter 2.0

nsquared presenter allows you to collaboratively create and deliver presentations using all the devices you find in a meeting room. From your tablet to the projected screen on the wall and the iPads your colleagues have, nsquared presenter has it covered.

Your team can build a new presentation timeline of content including slides, spreadsheets, documents, images and movies brought together from different files. It can be done on the tablet, a table-top computer, an interactive touch screen, or all three! This timeline you create together becomes the new presentation and will synchronize with all of the other devices running nsquared presenter.

The nsquared presenter solution is ideal for sales, investor and internal meetings. Bring seamless computing into your meeting room space today!

For more information and to order nsquared presenter