The new Microsoft Surface Hub 2S allows teams to work more efficiently and collaboratively, across any distance. Get a look at what the ultimate suite of collaborative hardware and software can do.

Collaboration is the future

Two major trends are affecting the way that we work. On the one hand there is a growing push for collaboration and team-based working. On the other is the desire to enable remote working, with both business leaders and employees keen to embrace the benefits that remote working enables. Employers and managers can leverage remote working to free their employees to be more mobile and globally dispersed. Employees appreciate the ability to work with increased efficiency, as well as the preservation of work/life balance. On the surface of things, it would seem that these two trends are at odds with one another – work is becoming less tied to centralizing staff in an office, and yet it’s also demanding that staff work more closely together. The only way to address that apparent divide is by enabling collaboration, which can be achieved through robust collaboration technology, such as the new Microsoft Surface Hub 2S.


More than 50% of work done today is accomplished through collaboration1. Work is becoming more complex and bringing teams together to approach the complexity of work in a creative and productive manner, is key for the success of the company.

Collaboration is also something that smart, forward-thinking companies encourage as a way of building a diversity of ideas within an organisation and helping the development of skillsets and knowledge of employees.

1 Microsoft statistic

The three principle benefits of collaboration -- and the reason that targeting collaboration is becoming such a core component to a successful organization -- can be broken down as:


A collaborative team comes up with solutions quicker than an individual could. Furthermore, by breaking a workload down into teams it’s possible to get multiple objectives within a task done simultaneously, resulting in a faster completion time.


When working in a team, a person becomes acutely aware of their strengths, and areas for improvement. Having a diverse range of people and backgrounds also helps expose people to different ideas and ways of thinking. By working with people with expertise in areas separate to their own, an individual gains access to new knowledge and capabilities.

Greater Job

Being part of large projects helps foster a sense of community and team spirit, creating internal “evangelists”, which in turn helps companies with employee retention and job satisfaction. With the skills market being as constrained as it currently is, retention rates are at the top of mind for many executives.

Academic research backs the idea that collaboration creates a better workplace environment for people. For example, statistics show that 85% of employees with access to collaborative management tools are more likely to perceive themselves as happy in the workplace2, while a huge 86% of work failures attributed to a lack of or ineffective communication. Furthermore, 70% of happy employees find that collaboration is one of the keys to being content in the workplace3.

It should come as no surprise then, that 97% of employees and executives agree that the level of collaboration directly impacts the outcome of a task or project4. The challenge is building an environment that not only facilitates collaboration but enables employees to make the most of it.

The three elements of collaboration

Collaboration needs a technology-driven solution to truly realise the full potential of teamwork, and as we can see with the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S, there are three core "elements" that any collaboration solution needs to address. These are:

Teamwork anywhere

Regardless of where the team is located, it's important for collaboration solutions to take a "teamwork anywhere" approach, enabling a meeting to occur within a few minutes, and without disrupting others within the organisation. If teams need to rely on booking meeting rooms and set times to meet, the ability to hold those important impromptu and ad-hoc meetings for the productivity-enhancing brainstorming and problem-solving sessions is limited.

Advanced platform for remote team meetings

When those meetings do involve remote members, it's important to be able to bring team members separated by distance the same experience as being within the physical room. High quality video feeds is an important aspect of being able to share an authentic communication between team members, and statistics show that 62% of executives agree that video conferencing significantly improves the quality of communication relative to audioconferencing5. In addition to high quality video, robust screen-sharing technology enables the whole team to work together on the shared screen in real time, to allow every member in the team to fully participate.

Fluid team collaboration

It's critically important that any collaboration solution allows for teams to work together in a fluid and naturalistic manner. A team environment is not a lecture. Instead, the person leading needs to move fluidly as the discussion continues, and as ideas are shared. Making sure that each person in the team has access to the same set of tools and capabilities within the meeting is important in ensuring that the meeting is fluid and collaborative, and doesn't become "led" and dominated by a single individual.

The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S was developed to address each of these three pillars through an innovative and creative approach to collaboration.

A Focus on Flow

What is the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S?

The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S is an elegant, portable, interactive all-in-one collaboration device built for teamwork. It has been designed with remote working in mind, allowing teamwork to take place regardless of location. No matter where you are, you can easily engage with content in real-time, with the added feature of being able to see team members on the 4K+ panel.

The Device

The Surface Hub 2S core device is a large, 50.5-inch, 4K+ resolution panel, with two different Steelcase mounting options at launch. The ‘Roam Mobile Stand’ allows for maximum mobility, and as the device only weighs 28kg, it’s easy for anyone to move from one meeting room to the next, allowing it to be a truly shared resource within the company. Alternatively, an easy to hang wall mount system allows the Surface Hub 2S to be integrated permanently into meeting room environments. A battery that allows up to 100 minutes of full functionality is also included, for those times where a meeting happens in a space with no power outlet.

In addition to the 4K+ display, the Surface Hub 2S has a 4K camera for broadcasting. This is important for remote collaboration among teams -- research shows that 75% of end users and IT managers say that a consistent video conference user interface is important. True collaboration requires that you can see the people you’re working with, read their body language and create eye contact. Without the visual component, deep collaboration is difficult to achieve.

To further help the sharing of video footage, in 2020, via the Surface Hub 2X, Microsoft has announced that it will implement the ability to drag and swipe a window from one screen to another. ‘Tile’ is a feature of the Surface Hub 2X and lends to a more dynamic experience with rotation added as part of the Surface Hub 2X updates, meaning you can easily transition from landscape to vertical view. The large screen capability offers the ability for a virtual board room experience; all available as part of the Surface Hub 2X release in 2020.

As a whiteboard, the Surface Hub 2S also features a responsive and precise touch screen and digital pen. Anyone who has used a Microsoft Surface Laptop range will be instantly familiar with how the Surface Hub 2S operates -- it fits natively in with Microsoft’s other product line that also has a software environment to match.

One example of collaboration in action: Remote work boosts productivity for companies

One common application of collaboration tools is in enabling remote working. It’s important to note that remote working is only one component of collaboration, and indeed collaboration tools have a role to play in helping a team be more effective and productive when they’re having a meeting in which all participants are located in a single room. Nonetheless a recent study found that remote working was a key trend, and Australians are some of the most enthusiastic adopters of remote working globally. The International Workplace Group (IWG) reported that close to 50% of Australian employees work remotely for at least half the week. More than two thirds work at least one day per week outside of the office8.

Research shows that this trend isn’t just for the benefit of individual workers however, meaning that organisations should facilitate remote working as much as they can. A Stanford study for example, run over two years, found that the productivity gains that come from enabling remote work gives organisations a genuine competitive advantage.

In the study, Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom worked with Ctrip -- China’s largest travel agency -- to trial a work-from-home solution for 500 of Ctrip’s 20,000 employees.

The results were phenomenal. Over the two years, Ctrip increased profits by $2,000 per employee by enabling working from home simply by reducing its need for an office space. But while that in and of itself was the goal going into the project, the most significant return from enabling remote working was, surprisingly, the productivity gains. The research shows that there was a 13% improvement in performance by those employees working from home -- the equivalent of almost one extra day of productivity per week.

Furthermore, employee churn dropped dramatically, with resignation rates falling by 50%. This not only helped Ctrip keep valuable talent inside the organisation, but it also minimised productivity drops at the manager level as less time was required in recruiting new employees.

The trial was so successful that Ctrip deployed the remote working model out to the entire company with incredible results.

By enabling employees to work remotely, organisations also open themselves to the opportunity of accessing offshore talent with specialised capabilities that may have been inaccessible previously.

That same infrastructure also allows organisations to expand more effectively. The relatively small size of the Australian market has made expansion throughout South East Asia, Europe, and America far more appealing. Traditionally, the challenges in maintaining a brand while managing satellite locations has been an inhibitor to regional expansion, but the solutions being developed to reduce the reliance on a central physical location is enabling businesses to look at expansion with more confidence.

What does effective collaboration look like?

To enable teams to be collaborative – regardless of where the team is located, it’s important to approach a technology solution with the understanding that collaboration is not simply communication. Communication tools are simple, well established, and accessible to everyone. They work best in the context of one-to-one interactions. Sending an email is communication, as is picking up a phone and talking to them. But this is an old way of working and is not the same as providing teams with the capacity for collaboration.

Relying purely on standard communication tools has issues when trying to broaden the flow of information to larger teams of people. Emails get lost or misplaced, and document version control becomes an issue when each person on a team is downloading the document, making their adjustments, and then passing it back up the chain. A lot of efficiency can be lost when attempting to use standard communication tools for the purposes of collaboration.

Collaboration, of which communication is only one element, enables organisations to give their teams a truly innovative, creative, and productive environment to work in. The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S is a prime example of a tool that enables collaboration utilizing Microsoft’s suite of software including Office 365 and Teams by going beyond simple communication to also enable:


A team needs to be able to see ideas unfold in front of them, and to do so in real time. They need to be able to see the thought process that results in those ideas. This is why projects tend to kick off with brainstorming and mind-mapping sessions -- it’s to start to get ideas down, draw the links between them, and establish a vision for the project.

Proper visualisation needs real-time interaction. The entire team needs to be able to actively contribute to a project in order to benefit from the full range of ideas and capabilities of the team.


Equally important to the collaborative process is the ability to provide feedback in real time and across the team. Communication tools only allow for a feedback loop between two people -- the person making the statement, and the person receiving it. Collaboration tools, meanwhile, allow for open feedback across the entire team.

Businesses understand that collaboration involves a design element and needs to be facilitated and “designed into” the space to occur, and so business leaders have been very effective in redesigning the modern office in order to facilitate collaboration within physical spaces. Through open office designs and removal of walls and closed spaces, office environments now encourage impromptu group meetings and discussions.

This applies to technology too. Remote collaboration needs to be “designed”. The challenge that organisations have had is in finding a design that brings that same collaborative spirit to remote workers, satellite offices, and outsourced teams. Being able to bring these groups together rapidly for collaborative meetings in real time -- much like how teams are encouraged to do so when they are located together within an office -- requires a look at technology beyond the standard communication tools.

This is where the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S comes in. In 2016, Microsoft created an entirely new device category with Hub, this was its first digital canvas designed specifically to facilitate a collaborative environment with remote teams. In 2019, the company significantly expanded on this technology and enhanced it in such a way that the meeting experience is no different to that of having the entire team located together in the same room, regardless of the distance between them.

Collaboration tools enabling remote working

One of the core principles of the Surface Hub 2S environment is simplicity -- getting people into their meetings and collaborating as quickly as possible. With the Surface Hub 2S, connecting to remote team members is as simple as pulling up their contact details in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams allows for four video streams to be run at the same time, but an unlimited number of people can join the session, with the videos dropping in and out seamlessly as individuals are talking.

This essentially makes remote working easier. With almost 70% of Australians now working remotely each week and almost 50 per cent working at least two days per week9, it’s an essential strategy for businesses that can bring about substantial financial gains. Allowing people to work more effectivity through collaboration drives greater productivity, improving staff retention and overall satisfaction within the workplace.

As standard, the Surface Hub 2S has all of the Microsoft productivity apps implemented onto it -- this includes Teams, Whiteboard and Edge. Screen sharing can be done from a single press of a button, and by launching the Whiteboard app, all participants will be able to see everything that’s put up there, as the hero of the Surface Hub 2S, it is a powerful collaborative tool. Documents, images, videos, and other media can be dropped seamlessly onto the whiteboard, and furthermore, related documents and images can be “stacked” together. A team could, for example, have each member on the team drop research into a centralised stack on the whiteboard, and instantly share that data across the entire team. Meanwhile, someone on the team could start working on a Word document, while others leave notes and make corrections in real time.

The Whiteboard software also facilitates full interactivity with the content on screen for every participant, regardless of their physical location. Fully scalable for even the most complex projects, sharing the whiteboard from the Surface Hub 2S among all participants is an instant process. It also comes with the additional benefit of storing the project in the cloud for easy (and remote) future referral as well as ongoing work once the meeting is finished.

Qualifying the benefits of the Surface Hub 2S

The measured benefits of operating a Surface Hub 2S are significant. A Forrester research report into the original Surface Hub, in which organisations being surveyed used the Surface Hub and Skype for Business to make more effective remote meetings or deliver sales pitches with customers, found that they were able to reduce printing costs by $25 per meeting, saving 15-23 minutes per meeting. More significantly, they also saw an increase in sales of 20% and a return of investment of 138%10.

"Because of its superior user experience, it leads to a higher close rate on deals pitched using Surface Hub," the report notes.

As the report goes on to state, one of the key benefits that organisations enjoy with regards to using the Surface Hub is its seamless login process. With most conferencing solutions, issues with connecting to screens, dealing with multiple conferencing solutions when including remote users, and distributing notes following a meeting often mean that at either end of a meeting, there needs to be someone present to administer the technology. Not only does this mean that one person’s time is taken up with setup, but the meeting room space itself is inefficient -- it becomes impossible to hold back-to-back meetings in a room when someone needs to arrive at the room 10-15 minutes early to get it set up.

That awkward setup time also limits the ability for teams within an organisation to engage in one of the key elements of collaboration within a team: the ability to have ad-hoc interactions when someone brainstorms up an idea. When the sense of spontaneity is removed from the meeting process, people stop having spontaneous meetings. The Surface Hub system, has been built around creating a seamless meeting flow and teaming experience, putting the spontaneity back into the teams’ experience, and allows teams to come together at any time, no matter where they are.

Why your business needs the Surface Hub 2S

The goal of any modern organisation is to facilitate greater levels of productivity and collaboration within its teams. At the same time, productivity requires the flexibility for individuals to work remotely, meaning that technology needs to enable a robust remote collaboration solution. The Surface Hub 2S is at the centre of that for organisations, providing:

Greater productivity when holding a meeting

It gives remote participants the ability to get into a meeting more quickly, instantly distribute notes, as well as offer other outcomes from the meeting;

Greater flexibility around those meetings

With the Surface Hub 2S being a completely mobile device, it allows for the team to drive meetings from anywhere within the organization;

An improved experience

For teams using conferencing for their remote collaboration, it’s important that the experience is a good one. Beyond the ability to instantly invite new participants to the meeting, the 4K+ camera and display allow for the meeting to take place at the highest resolutions currently available, and the sharing tools allow for seamless group participation with any presentation material.

Much more than a solution for internal teams, the Surface Hub 2S technology is a modern, all-in-one collaborative canvas and meetings platform that brings the power of Windows 10 to teams. It’s light, thin, and easy to integrate into any workspace, and through it, teams can drive deeper relationships both internally and with clients, regardless of location. Wherever your teams go, Surface Hub 2S can go too.

Find out more information here on the Surface Hub 2S