If you work with a virtual team, odds are that you rely on some sort of conferencing
system to keep in touch. When it comes to group collaboration, data conferencing
is great because it allows team members to work simultaneously on the same document
– irrespective of their geographic location. Whatever conferencing application
you use, it makes sense that you should be able to use a whiteboard and a computer
when you're brainstorming with your team.
Most data conferencing packages have recognized the need for a whiteboarding
application. However, you generally need to write notes using a mouse (rather
than a pen). For most of us, using a mouse to write notes is incredibly time-consuming,
and nearly impossible to do legibly.
SMART Technologies Inc. has come up with a solution by providing an intuitive
whiteboarding option for distance collaboration. The SMART Board interactive
whiteboard lets you write notes in electronic ink and save those notes to a
computer. If you don't like what you've written, pick up the eraser and erase
it. You don't need to worry about the mouse – the SMART Board interactive whiteboard
uses the same tools as a traditional whiteboard. You can also control any computer
application directly from the board's large, touch-sensitive surface.
The SMART Board interactive whiteboard is now seamlessly integrated with Microsoft's
NetMeeting software (a free data conferencing package available with Microsoft
Windows 95 and higher). This means you can use NetMeeting software to share
documents in real time with colleagues in remote locations. When you want to
write notes or draw diagrams, you can use the SMART Board interactive whiteboard's
whiteboarding feature. Or write notes over top of applications to highlight
important information. All conference participants will see what you have written
or drawn exactly as you've recorded it on the SMART Board interactive whiteboard.
"I might circle some information on a slide
and ask someone in California a question about it. Because we both have SMART
Board interactive whiteboards, my team members see the annotations I've made
on my slides. As a remote team member begins working on the solution at his
SMART Board interactive whiteboard, I see his work as he writes it."