Dell monitors have long proven themselves to be reliable pillars of productivity, delivering high-quality displays for office and home use. Its gaming monitors are usually reserved for Alienware, the company's gaming subsidiary, but occasionally a Dell-branded gaming monitor does drop, like the Dell 32 4K UHD Gaming Monitor (A$1,499, currently discounted to $899.40 on Dell Australia's website). It's equipped with everything a modern gamer needs, including high-refresh-capable HDMI 2.1 ports and solid maximum brightness when viewing HDR content. But this high-res panel's measured standard brightness (SDR) levels and input lag fail to impress. For about the same price, you can grab our Editors' Choice pick for 4K gaming monitors, the MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD.
Let's start with the basics. The Dell 32 4K UHD Gaming Monitor (model G3223Q) rocks a simple and familiar design, with ultra-thin bezels around its top and sides, allowing maximum screen size with a minimal chassis.
The large base beneath allows the monitor to swivel almost a full 180 degrees, while also offering a generous tilt and height adjustment. Turning the monitor around, you’ll find a ridged V-shaped arch traced with the monitor’s sole LED light. And at the edge, four buttons and the onscreen display (OSD) joystick help you navigate the monitor's screen options, which allow you to choose among the monitor’s preset game modes, adjust response time, and even activate a Console mode if you’re gaming on a console instead of a PC.
The 32-inch 4K display uses a Fast IPS panel, which, according to Dell, is capable of a 1ms gray-to-gray (GTG) response time. The monitor is also rated for VESA DisplayHDR 600 and 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. We’ll get into what all that means in our test analysis a little later.
A closer look at the I/O cluster reveals some niceties, namely the two HDMI 2.1 ports, which allow up to 144Hz gaming (or 120Hz, if you’re playing on a Sony PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X) at 4K resolution. Additional ports include a DisplayPort input, two USB Type-A ports, one USB Type-B upstream connection, a headphone jack, and a security-cable lock notch based on the Kensington standard. A USB Type-C port is noticeably absent from the port options, but as a consolation prize you get three cables in the box: HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort, and USB 3.2. There's also a VESA mount.
Bulky base aside, the monitor is surprisingly lightweight, weighing just 13.3 pounds. Despite having a full 5 inches of additional screen space compared with 27-inch monitors, it weighs less than many of them, including the HP Omen 27u 4K and the Sony Inzone M9. And at 16.8 by 28.6 by 2.7 inches (HWD), it’s svelte, as well, fitting nicely on smaller desks.
Now, back to the display itself for a moment. Dell uses a Fast IPS panel, different than normal IPS panels found on most gaming monitors and laptops. Fast IPS panels can deliver up to four times quicker response time than normal IPS panels can. Dell advertises its monitor response times using GTG, a measurement of pixel speed that describes how long it takes for a pixel to go from one gray level to the next.
The thing is, GTG is not a standardized metric; each vendor measures levels differently. On a quantitative note, PCMag uses input lag to measure a monitor’s responsiveness. (Read more about how we test monitors.) Input lag is the amount of time it takes for the monitor to display the received signal, while response time is the time it takes for pixels to change from one color to the next. Monitors can have low response times and high input-lag rates, and vice versa. This is important to remember as we move into our testing section below.
Now that we know what Dell says its 32-inch UHD 4K monitor can do, we'll investigate those claims by putting it through a few real-world tests: tests with Datacolor’s SpyderX Elite tool, our HDFury Diva input lag tester, and some good old-fashioned gaming.
In our first test set, we measure brightness, contrast ratio, and color gamut using the SpyderX Elite with the display in its default picture mode with an SDR signal.
The Dell 32-inch 4K UHD squeaked out a low brightness of 189 nits in SDR mode and a black level of 0.22, which yields a contrast ratio of 850:1. A 1,000:1 contrast ratio is typical of an IPS-panel-based gaming monitor, so the Dell monitor falls a bit short, but the low brightness is the real thorn in its side.
With that being said, HDR results fared much better. Running the brightness test again with HDR turned on, the Dell 32 4K UHD climbs to 495 nits. That's shy of the DisplayHDR 600 standard, but a good HDR number nevertheless and brighter than its older cousin, the Dell U3219Q 4K.
Our color-gamut testing proved positive as well, with the Dell 32 4K UHD clocking 100% of sRGB coverage, 89% of Adobe RGB, and 94% of DCI-P3. That's a good color range for a monitor under $1,000, if not as striking as the similarly priced MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD.
The color accuracy results are fine for a gaming panel, with an average Delta E of 1.41. Content creators and designers who work in color-sensitive programs may already know that the higher the Delta E value is, the further a common color strays from its purest form.
Before we get into playing games and watching movies on a monitor, we run one last benchmark (and perhaps the most important for hardcore gamers). Using the HDFury Diva, we measured input lag of 14.7 milliseconds, surprisingly high for a gaming monitor. Now mind you, 15 milliseconds or below is good enough for most gamers, but if you take esports seriously, you’re going to want a monitor with as little input lag as possible. The Dell 32 4K UHD should be fine for normal play, but the esports crowd might want to look for a sub-1ms competitor like the ViewSonic Elite XG320U.
After benchmarking the monitor, the next part of our testing comes from actually using the monitor to play games and watch movies. For this test, I brought out Doom, the fast-paced shooter from 2016, and Halo Infinite, which both performed admirably. I noted no ghosting from either game, thanks to the monitor’s super-low response time. However, the screen’s low brightness was noticeable, just as it was when I watched the 4K Costa Rica test footage. Overall quality was great, but the standard brightness is just so noticeably low that it was jarring.
The Dell 32 4K UHD is not a bad monitor. Its simple and lightweight design is sure to please, and its display panel provides some excellent visuals while watching videos or playing games. It’s just a shame the display is so dim with SDR content and the input lag isn't close to field-leading—two red flags that hold the monitor back from greatness.
If you find yourself leaning into HDR gaming and don’t often play games that involve lightning-fast reflexes, then the Dell 32 4K UHD is a reliable choice, especially for those who want higher frame rates out of their console games. For others looking for a better all-around 4K gaming package, the MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD is an excellent like-sized alternative. And if peak resolution doesn't matter as much as performance, then we suggest the MSI Oculux NXG253R for high-FPS 1080p play.
Performance improvement expert David M. Williams, PhD, shares how to find and deploy meaningful benchmarks that contribute to overall system improvement
FirstWatch, supported by Prodigy EMS, has run a web series titled “Conversations that Matter” (CTM) for nearly two years, and over time it has had many discussions, using an open mic Zoom format, with many great industry thought leaders. At a latest session, I was joined by David M. Williams, PhD, senior improvement advisor of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and lead faculty for the Improvement Advisor Professional Development Program; and Mike Taigman, improvement guide for FirstWatch, to benchmark our industry benchmarks.
The collective force of Taigman and Williams are the genesis of performance improvement EMS, and the latest CTM encourages all to find and deploy benchmarks that are meaningful and contribute to overall system improvement.
The premise for the session was based on the original thoughts of Jack Stout, the father of high-performance EMS, who used to encourage EMS leaders to compare their performance to the best systems in the country. He said, “If you only compare to the systems in your area, how will you know if you’re not just the cream of the crap?” In this interactive session, Williams, who has applied the science of improvement worldwide, shared his thoughts.
Q. What is benchmarking, and when may it be helpful?”
Williams: The term benchmarking comes from land surveying and refers to a marker of a previously determined position, which can be used to set up a new position. A popular book by Robert Camp defines benchmarking as “the process of identifying and learning from best practices or best performance from any industry to identify potential changes for improvement.” Back in the 1990s, EMS systems expert Jack Stout wrote an article in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services advocating for the practice of benchmarking. He made the case that benchmarking offered two opportunities:
Stout described these as lateral benchmarking and best practice benchmarking. Cares, AIMHI, Press Gainey and Viszient are all examples of lateral benchmarking. Michael Dell cautioned that these can be useful, but what if the benchmark isn’t the best? The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Research and Development process is an example of best practice benchmarking: it focuses on finding systems that have exemplar performance in an area and learning about the causal mechanisms (why something works well) more than the what. They develop a prototype to test and replicate results.
Q. Leaders believe that they don't want to "reinvent the wheel" and that they should look for the best practice and copy that. You teach people to look for the best and be cautious that replicating results isn't easy, and often the best answer isn't known.
Williams: In best practice benchmarking, we want to go learn from the place where leaders are producing the best results. In healthcare, there are examples all over the place of systems able to nearly eliminate infections, medication errors, etc. These are the places we want to learn from. Most leaders do not want to waste time. They want to get results. If someone is getting the results, we should go learn from them. Where this often fails, is in two places:
What’s missing is a method for learning in a structured way. I use an approach developed using the Model for Improvement which creates the conditions for leaders to learn, extract key characteristics, and set them up to test them at home to develop an adapted version that works in your context and with your team. A good example of this is sudden cardiac arrest and Seattle. There are decades of evidence better survival is possible. Copying the system’s approach to another system is not likely to replicate the results. We do have examples of a host of communities that extracted the key drivers and then worked to develop their contextualized approach and achieved similar results over time.
Q. You have been an EMS consultant worldwide and an advisor to school systems, large health systems, and national governments in the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East. What themes do you see across your work in trying to make a large-scale improvement?
Williams: Common positive themes include motivated professionals, who want to do their best work, and who want to help people have positive outcomes. Common issues include:
Q. You have been working on a book with two of the biggest names in quality. The book is built on improvement science and includes five activities for leaders as a method to pursue organizational excellence. How is this method unique, and what does it enable leaders to do differently?
Williams: Quality improvement starts at and is executed at the project level. We find systems that aren’t doing what we want them to do, and we design or redesign them to get the results we want. Many organizations and industries have adopted the Model for Improvement as their method for doing projects and a segment of those folks can execute constantly to get results.
Many leaders get fired up by mastering a method to get project results and want to expand that to their method for leading their organization. Sometimes this starts with organizations that are struggling and need to work their way out and sometimes this starts with organizations that are benchmarking well but know they can do better. Our method, Quality as an Organizational Strategy (QOS), is built on 100-plus years of quality and has been used by several organizations that have sought and been awarded the Malcolm Baldrige Award. QOS uniquely combines five leadership activities to create a system of improvement:
The process is not easy, but those that embark on the journey describe it as transformational. Leaders learn about their organizations in ways they had not before; they reveal lots of opportunities for improvement and prioritize tackling the big rocks; and they finally have a method for learning, problem-solving and getting results.
Q. This sounds like a lot. How do you start this with organizations? This sounds very different than the traditional expert model consulting journey we see in EMS where a consultant studies the system and generates the report.
Williams: There are many approaches to consulting. My approach blends bringing a foundation of improvement science – systems, variation, learning and problem solving, people – and the method of Quality as an Organizational Strategy with the local expertise of the leadership team of any kind of organization. I usually start light with a co-produced mini-learning experience with a leadership team to consider their purpose, review their current results and how successful they are at fixing problems, and then pick a handful of projects to start improving. It’s a little engagement at first, built so everyone learns. Leaders decide from there if they are ready to change.
The Conversations That Matter series takes place every month and further details of upcoming sessions and on demand viewing of previous sessions can be found at https://firstwatch.net/conversations/.
Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. He is currently the director of strategic implementation for PRO EMS and its educational arm, Prodigy EMS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and part-time executive director of the California Ambulance Association.
He previously served as the chief operating officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Additionally, he served as COO for Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California.
Prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 2008, Rob served as the COO for the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk County, England, and as the executive director of operations and service development for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust. Rob is a former Army officer and graduate of the UK's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served worldwide in a 20-year military career encompassing many prehospital and evacuation leadership roles.
Rob is a board member of the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration ( AIMHI) as well as chair of the American Ambulance Association’s Communications Committee. He writes and podcasts for EMS1.com and is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Connect with him on Twitter.
The Dell 34 Curved USB-C Monitor (S3423DWC) is a good dual-use monitor for home-office multitasking and light-duty gaming. You can find better choices for either alone, but this display straddles both worlds well.
While the Dell 32 4K UHD Gaming Monitor offers a solid HDR implementation, a lightweight frame, and even HDMI 2.1 ports, its low brightness and high input lag steal its visual thunder.
Dell's big, bold UltraSharp 43 4K USB-C Monitor (U4320Q) packs a large 4K panel in standard widescreen format, letting you tile windows both vertically and horizontally—even from more than one computer.
It isn't cheap, but Dell's UltraSharp 27 4K USB-C Hub Monitor delivers loads of connection and adjustment choices, amping up an extra-poppy panel with wide color gamut and superb contrast.
The Dell UltraSharp 30 USB-C Hub Monitor (U3023E) is an appealing if expensive productivity monitor with plenty of ports and ergonomic features, plus a 16:10 format that gives extra vertical screen space.
If you value gaming performance and content watching above all, the Dell 24 S2421HGF stands head and shoulders above other budget 1080p displays.
The Dell 32 4K USB-C Hub Monitor is a beautiful, spacious 4K display with full sRGB color coverage. Its range of ports and flexible stand add up to a good productivity monitor for creative workers, but you will pay a hefty premium for it all.
Dell's UltraSharp 27 USB-C Hub Monitor offers a wide color gamut, a wealth of convenience and ergonomic features, and as many connectors as we've seen on a monitor of its size class. Only its pricing, and a slight shortfall in brightness testing, keep it from true greatness.
The Dell SE2419HR is a solid 24-inch budget IPS monitor for business or home use. It lacks many convenience features found on more expensive displays, but it won't cost you much.
The Dell 27 Curved Gaming Monitor (S2721HGF) offers great 1080p gaming performance in an affordable 144Hz display.
The Dell UltraSharp 27 Monitor (U2719D) has the full gamut of comfort features and great sRGB color coverage, but its otherwise ample port selection lacks USB-C, unlike some similar and comparably priced Dell panels.
Although its brightness and resolution are merely adequate, the Dell UltraSharp 24 USB-C Hub Monitor earns kudos for its phenomenal port selection.
The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K USB-C Monitor (U2720Q) is a color-accurate 27-inch 4K display with good ergonomics, a solid port selection, and a slightly steep price tag.
Dell's UltraSharp 25 USB-C Monitor (U2520D) provides solid color coverage and accuracy, a full set of ergonomic functions, and a wide range of ports. Our main quibble: It's a bit pricey for its panel size.
The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor (UP2720Q) is one of the only monitors in its price range with a built-in calibration tool, which automates and simplifies the task of preserving a panel's color accuracy.
The Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (P2720DC) offers a broad port selection, a range of ergonomic features, and bright, realistic-looking colors. Its practically automatic daisy-chaining to a second display is a bonus.
Dell's UltraSharp 34 Curved USB-C Monitor (U3419W) is an ultra-wide business display with great color accuracy and a host of connectivity choices. It's a solid alternative to a multi-monitor array.
Dell's UltraSharp 32 U3219Q is a big, beautiful 4K display aimed squarely at the business set, but it could still find a home on any gamer's desk with, we suspect, no complaints.
Dell's costly UltraSharp 49 Curved Monitor (U4919DW) is a huge, ultra-wide business display ideal for titanic spreadsheets or keeping loads of windows open side by side.
The Dell 27 Gaming Monitor (S2719DGF) is a pure play for PC gamers and esports types, providing a very high refresh rate and snappy pixel response that will satisfy those buyers. It lacks HDR support, however, and isn't ideal for video watching.
Move over, Center Stage. Insta360, a company that has staked its reputation on 360-degree cams, is revolutionizing the humble office webcam market with its latest addition, the Link. Like the Apple-branded Center Stage, Insta360’s Link aims to put creators, professionals, and streamers at center stage with features never seen before on personal video conferencing cameras, like a large 4K image sensor and three-axis gimbal.
Insta360’s foray into the webcam space overcomes the limitations of today’s webcams by taking inspiration from both action and larger conference room cams. Hardware is only part of the equation for the Link. Insta360’s existing webcam challenges the rule of physics with A.I.-driven software to bring HDR video, smooth object tracking, quick focusing, and noise cancelation tech to keep you looking sharp and sounding your best. This delightful balance of advanced software algorithms combined with the best-in-class hardware propels newcomer Insta360 to the forefront of the webcam space with the Link.
Insta360 Link is available through Insta360’s web store for $299. Given that the Link is geared towards creators and professionals, the webcam’s color option is limited to a lone black hue, unlike other consumer-oriented webcams like the Lumina.
Insta360 also sells a tabletop tripod accessory for the Link on its website, which could come in handy if you're using some of this camera's more advanced modes.
Insta360’s Link does miniaturization right. Hardware features such as the three-axis gimbal were once the exclusive domain of much larger and significantly more expensive conference room cameras. But by taking inspiration from action cameras, like rival DJI’s Osmo Pocket 2, Insta360 was able to democratize complex PZT (pan-zoom-tilt) conference room cams and bring this technology to everyone in a package that costs just $299.
This focus on advanced features, like a three-axis gimbal, means that the Insta360 Link isn't as compact or as minimalist in its design when compared to the Lumina A.I. 4K webcam or Dell's UltraSharp 4K camera. Still, it packs in a lot of features in a package that measures just 2.71 x 1.61 x 1.77 inches (69mm x 41mm x 45mm). And at just 106 grams, the Link feels solid, and the camera's dense weight makes it feel premium despite the heavy use of plastic compared to the Lumina AI camera's all-metal housing.
At $299, the Link comes in at a $100 premium compared to standard 4K webcams, like the Lumina A.I. webcam, which is considered one of the best options on the market today. That camera, however, lacks the PZT mechanism of the Link. Logitech’s PZT 2 (opens in new tab) conference solution comes in at $849, making the Link appear like a bargain for what you’re getting.
The gimbal-mounted PZT package on the Link allows this camera to pan, tilt, and zoom into your face as you move around. While this may be overkill for standard video calls; for creators, it’s like having your own AI-powered cameraman. When object tracking is enabled and the Link can lock onto your face, the camera will swivel and follow you around as you move out of the frame.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because hardware manufacturers like Apple, HP, and Lumina have been doing this with software. Apple’s Center Stage, for example, relies on a wide-angle camera on the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro to track and follow you around. Unlike the Link’s PZT camera, the built-in Apple camera hardware is stationary, which means that software is utilized to crop in to your face as you move around, resulting in some image compression.
|Features||Insta360 Link hardware specifications|
|Audio||Dual microphone with noise canceling|
|Video resolution||4K (24/25/30 FPS); 1080 (24/25/30/50/60 FPS); 720p (24/25/30/50/60 FPS)|
|Fixed FOV||DFOV 79.5°, HFOV 67°|
|Minimum autofocus distance||10cm|
|Video coding format||H.263, MJPEG|
|A.I. tracking||Supports with and without AI zoom|
|Modes||Portrait, Whiteboard, DeskView, Overhead|
|HDR||Supported for 1080p@24/25/30 FPS and 720p@24/25/30 FPS|
|Dimensions||69mm x 41mm x 45mm (2.71 x 1.61 x 1.77 inches)|
|Weight||106g (3.73 ounces)|
On the other hand, by relying on a PZT camera, the Insta360 Link can effortlessly track you, with the camera swiveling smoothly on the three-axis gimbal to deliver stunning image quality.
“During our research into webcams, we saw a lot of benefits of a gimbal design to provide better stability, a wider range of motion for AI tracking, and more diverse viewing modes,” Insta360’s team informed Windows Central. “We think the future for the webcam industry lies in AI technology and versatile designs like our 3-axis gimbal.”
While both Apple and Insta360 rely on AI to help drive the camera, the Link’s hardware-based approach means you’re going to get a clearer, less compressed image, as the camera doesn’t have to digitally crop into your face.
To use the camera, you’ll need to get and install the companion Insta360 Link Controller on your PC or Mac, and the software provides plenty of customization options. The Link is compatible with major video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Google Meet, and Insta360 claims that even more are supported. A single USB-C port is located on the rear and a tripod screw is found on the underside of the monitor clip for flexible mounting options.
Tracking on the Link works exceptionally well, and the camera will pan as you move around. I was in the kitchen over the weekend, demonstrating to a friend on the opposite coast how to prepare a dish over Google Meet. The Link panned around and followed me as I traversed my galley kitchen, grabbing ingredients, and prepping dinner. My friend was impressed with how accurately the Link could track my movement as I moved forward and back, side to side, and as I stood up and bent down to find supplies and ingredients stored in cabinets.
With the Link, you can change the speed of tracking — how quickly the camera will respond and pan around as you move outside of the frame — with three settings: normal, slow, and fast. In my cooking tutorial, I used normal, which resulted in responsive but smooth tracking. Cranking it to fast was also impressive, as the camera speedily kept up with me like a robotic sidekick. But if you’re moving around too much, the results could be jerky and nausea-inducing. Slow was perhaps the smoothest experience, though it could appear to the viewer on the other end of the stream that there is lag.
With the Link, the camera can pan around (side to side) and tilt (up and down) to frame you when you have tracking enabled. Additionally, if you need to zoom in, the camera can apply digital zoom to crop in to your head, your upper body (head and chest), or keep your whole body in frame. The last one could be great for yoga and fitness instructors who need to demonstrate specific whole-body poses.
For more advanced users, the Link Controller software gives granular controls to features like image setting, AI zoom, manual focusing, HDR, and other settings. For example, you can rely entirely on the software’s intelligent AI chops for exposure, white balance settings, brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness, or you can dial up or down any of those settings to your liking. In my test under LED light bulbs and in more harsh lighting conditions while working in front of a bright window, I had no problems with the automatic AI adjustments. Users can also turn on HDR mode as well when working under more challenging lighting conditions, as I do, but the feature is not supported at 4K resolution or with 60 FPS.
The HDR limitations aren’t so worrisome at present. Most video conferencing platforms still limit upload feeds for videos at 1080p to conserve bandwidth and deliver a stutter-free experience when ISP speeds may be poor. As such, dialing down to 1080p to gain HDR isn’t a compromise, at least at this time, but it does make the Insta360 feel a little less futureproof than I’d like, given that the rest of this camera’s specifications are so bleeding edge.
But given how advanced the Link’s camera hardware is, HDR and some of the image processing seem superfluous to the experience. Because Insta360 uses a significantly larger 0.5-inch image sensor on the Link — compared to a smaller 0.3-inch sensor on traditional webcams — the camera can capture more light. This is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to take a video call in a dimly lit room.
“When it comes to using a bigger sensor, we believe that a flagship webcam should be able to deliver superior image quality, which requires a larger size sensor to achieve,” Insta360’s team communicated to me via email about the camera’s unique features. “Link's industry-leading 1/2" sensor offers best-in-class 4K Ultra HD resolution at 30fps. The larger sensor size means it captures far more details, has a better dynamic range, and has stronger low light capabilities. This ensures a consistently perfect image in any room or environment.”
I found low-light capabilities on the Link superb. I escaped to the laundry room, which was only lit by some light coming through the door at one end and my MacBook Pro’s display on the other end, and the Link was still able to keep my face brightly lit. In dimmer conditions, you’ll notice some skin softening — akin to Beauty Mode on Samsung smartphones — and additional sharpening to minimize noise. The result is that your face will look slightly artificial — a bit of texture was lost in favor of skin smoothening and noise reduction — but the overall result is very much usable. My face was still bright and lit in frame, and my meeting audience didn’t even realize I was in a darkened laundry room without my disclosure at the end of the call.
In general, I’d say that low light aesthetic is very similar to images captured with Night Mode enabled on some modern smartphones. The low light image quality is night and day apart when compared with my Dell Latitude 5420 work computer under the same challenging conditions. The potato cam image on the Latitude was full of noise and was extremely pixelated. For reference, the Latitude 5420 is a fairly latest laptop, as it was equipped with Intel’s 11th Gen processor.
It should be noted that with the Link, you’ll want to turn off HDR when you’re using the camera in dimmer environments. The sensor is very capable without requiring HDR processing, and with HDR enabled the Link’s image was darker and noisier — but it was still nowhere near as bad as that captured by the Latitude’s built-in webcam.
I appreciated the level of fine-tuning that the Link Controller software provided, including the ability to manually focus if needed. I never really had to use manual focusing, as the camera’s phase detection autofocus (PDAF) was very fast. It could quickly focus into an object I bring into the frame and then switch to focusing on my face as I remove the object from the frame.
But appearing present on camera is only part of collaboration. Sharing documents, brainstorming on whiteboards, and outlining plans all help contribute to a productive, dynamic meeting experience, and the Link will help you do that and more with three smart modes.
The first mode is called Whiteboard mode. The Link comes with four corner stickers that you can attach to a large notepad mounted on an easel or a whiteboard, and the corners help guide the camera’s focus on the content, delivering a cleaner, crisper view of your board to all remote meeting participants.
Desk View is the second mode, and it’s similar to the software feature that Apple introduced on macOS Ventura, which is still in beta. With Ventura, you’ll mount your iPhone to the top of your monitor, and your Mac will use your phone’s ultra-wide camera lens to focus on what’s on your desk. For creators, this could allow you to, for example, record a masterclass on sketching and drawing without having to buy expensive camera equipment or tripods and stands.
On the Link, Desk View mode works similarly to Apple’s implementation, but the camera requires a small tripod stand instead of a monitor mount. The accessory is not bundled with the Link, but it’s available as an optional add-on. Desk View angles the camera downward 45 degrees, and like the Continuity Camera method of Apple’s device, it uses AI software to correct distortion given the viewing angle.
The result is good, and the software corrected the angle so i didn’t have any awkwardly long or fat fingers in the brief testing I performed with this mode. It’s great for creators, and for YouTubers who film unboxing videos, this could be a great setup.
The third mode works in a similar way to Desk View and it’s called Overhead mode. Instead of a 45-degree tilt, the camera is angled 90 degrees so it is now facing completely downward. It’s like old overhead projectors of yore, and this could be a great tool for modern educators. Math teachers, for example, could use Overhead mode to focus down on a piece of paper as they show distance learning students how to solve complex mathematical equations.
Like Obsbot's competing Tiny cam, many of these features can be activated via gesture, so you don't have to click around in the Link Controller software. For example, you can hold your thumb and pointer fingers up to form an "L." The camera will alert you that it recognized the gesture by switching the LED color on the base to blue from green, and you can move your hand up or down to zoom in or out, respectively. Similarly, Whiteboard mode can be activated by forming a "V" with your pointer and middle fingers.
For privacy-obsessed users, the Link will automatically go into privacy mode when it isn’t active for about 10 minutes. This means that the camera will swivel and angle itself downward.
The Insta360 is a solidly built camera, and there’s little to complain about in terms of its software and function. Out of the box, a quick firmware update on the camera helped to Improve image quality and HDR processing, so you’ll want to update the Link Controller’s software and the camera’s firmware whenever new updates are available to get the best experience.
That said, for such a premium camera, we wish that the Link shipped with some more protective accessories out of the box.
Since the pandemic has vastly changed where we work — homes and hotels are now the new conference rooms — it would be nice to have a lens cover, for instance, for the camera. That’s not to say that any part of the Link’s construction felt inadequate, but more of a compliment to the fact that I’d want to take this portable camera everywhere I go, and I’d like to have it protected. A padded, molded protective carrying case would also be an excellent addition for those who may be rougher on their gear, and this would keep the Link safely protected inside a stuffed laptop bag.
Elsewhere, the Link has checked off the essential qualities a webcam should have: Superb image quality, responsive tracking, and outstanding audio capture. Thanks to a combination of intelligent software with bleeding edge hardware, the Link delivers.
Insta360’s Link not only has to compete against other 1080p and 4K webcams on the market but also against very agile built-in cameras that ship with most laptops and some all-in-one desktops. Many of these solutions, like the webcam on Apple’s iPad and MacBook Pro, come with artificial intelligence that can help track and frame a subject as they’re moving around. And the best part about built-in cams is that they don’t cost extra, and no additional hardware is required.
On the accessories front, Lumina’s A.I.-powered 4K camera is an excellent alternative to the Link. Both cameras achieve similar end results with software, but the Link pulls ahead with its larger image sensor for better low light performance and a PZT design that allows panning without digital cropping. These benefits come at a $100 premium compared to Lumina’s $199 cost.
Neither of these solutions, however, come with support for Windows Hello. If you desire 4K image quality and need Windows Hello support, you’ll have to look for solutions like Dell’s UltraSharp 4K cam and Logitech’s BRIO 4K.
The closest competitor to the Insta360 Link is the Obsbot Tiny 4K, a compact $269 AI-powered 4K webcam with a similar gimbal design. Unlike the Link, the Tiny 4K uses a two-axis gimbal, making panning less smooth.
You should buy this if ...
You shouldn't buy this if ...
While it's competitors who rely solely on software to smarten up their camera experiences may run into the challenges of physics, Insta360 expertly marries advanced hardware with intelligent AI to deliver the best consumer webcam experience to date. Taking inspiration from gimbals, action cameras, and significantly more expensive conference room video conferencing solutions, Insta360's Link delivers an AI-powered camera that comes with a built-in camera operator inside to pan, tilt, and zoom as you move about the room.
Designed for professionals and creatives who have transformed their living rooms and homes into conference rooms, it's as if Insta360 planned for the global health pandemic. But the Link isn't just a webcam. This advanced camera is a collaboration tool designed to share documents and whiteboards. It's a tool for virtual brainstorming. It's a tool for creators whose mantra is show and not tell. And for that, the Insta360 is worth every penny for the productivity it inspires.
Irving-based Kimberly-Clark Corporation has appointed Zack Hicks in the newly created role of Chief Digital and Technology Officer. As a member of the company’s executive leadership team, his role reflects the company’s increasing focus on digital technology in building brands and creating differentiated capability for Kimberly-Clark.
Hicks joins the company after 26 years of leadership roles at Toyota Motors North America and Toyota Motor Sales, USA. His most latest roles include serving as CEO of Toyota Connected, a startup operating as the company’s data science hub connecting vehicles, customers, and businesses through machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Hicks also served as Chief Digital Officer of Toyota Motors North America, leading the company’s digital transformation and mobility efforts, including in-vehicle multimedia systems, vehicle connectivity, cloud, electrification, and autonomous driving technologies.
“Zack brings to Kimberly-Clark significant experience in technology innovation, operations and team leadership,” said Mike Hsu, Chairman and CEO, Kimberly-Clark. “He’s the right leader to help us leverage the full potential of technology to accelerate the next phase of our growth strategy for long-term value creation.”
“Kimberly-Clark has a clear vision for leveraging technology to drive growth,” said Hicks. “I’m excited to work with the team to bring together strong capability and next-generation technology solutions to help the company continue to win today and position us well for the future.”
Southlake-based travel technology Sabre Corp. announced that Garry Wiseman will succeed Wade Jones, EVP and chief product officer of its Travel Solutions business, who has decided to leave the company.
Wiseman will join the company on August 1, and Jones will remain with Sabre for a period of transition before officially stepping away in the fall.
To his new role, Wiseman brings more than 25 years of product, technology, and digital leadership experience in developing and operating large-scale platforms at some of the world’s most innovative technology companies, including Dell, eBay, Microsoft, Nautilus, and Salesforce.
“Garry is a deeply accomplished executive with a proven track record of building and scaling high-growth products in both B2C and B2B environments. He will be an integral member of our leadership team as we further invest in our value propositions, develop cutting-edge technologies that serve new and existing customers, and execute against our vision to be the premier global technology platform in travel,” said Kurt Ekert, the company’s president.
Most recently, Wiseman was senior vice president and chief digital officer at Nautilus Inc., a role he held since 2020. Prior to that, he was SVP of digital customer experience for Dell Technologies.
Coppell-based Successive Technologies, a next-gen (CMMI Level-3) technology consulting and services company specializing in digital transformation, has appointed Steve Dantas as chief growth officer, focusing on North America.
Dantas brings more than two decades of leadership experience, the company said, playing key leadership roles at companies such as Metafora (previously CarrierDirect), Sapient (acquired by Publicis Groupe), Vectorform (acquired by NTT), Vodafone, and Tata Consultancy Services.
Successive says Dantas has a strong record of successfully growing and scaling companies to 5X to 20X revenues. His mandate is to build a strong consulting and technology team in the Americas, partner with top enterprise customers, and take Successive to the next level of growth.
“I look forward to Steve helping us achieve the next growth milestone for our North America business at Successive Technologies,” CEO Sid Pandey said. “His proactive mindset and ongoing quest to grow businesses make him a perfect culture fit for the company.”
M2G Ventures, a Fort Worth real estate investment and development company, has named Mark Collier as its chief financial and operations officer as the company continues to grow and expand.
M2G Ventures, a WBE (women owned business) certified company, doubled the size of its overall team and tripled its leadership team over the past year with the addition of Collier and five executive level positions to oversee acquisitions, asset management, construction, development, and leasing.
“Mark’s ability to tackle large, high-level responsibilities and transform them into growth opportunities while establishing and maintaining conducive relationships makes him a valuable addition to our leadership team,” said Susan Gruppi, co-president of M2G Ventures. “With two decades in the industry, his asset management and business operations skills will strengthen and refine our efforts to use real estate as a platform for innovation and inspiration in the communities where we work.”
Collier brings more than 20 years of experience in financial operations and asset management to M2G Ventures, aiming to sharpen the company’s’ competitive edge in the ever-growing Dallas-Fort Worth market.
The company said he will serve as the key financial leader, implementing profitable financial strategies, developing growth opportunities and streamlining effective business operations.
Collier spent the last two years as CFO of the Leon Capital Group, with assets under management of $1.5 billion.
Hussain Manjee, president and chief success officer of Dallas-based DHD Films, is the new president of the Dallas Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization—a support network of more than 16,500 business leaders from more than 60 countries.
Manjee has been a board member since June 2020 of the global network exclusively for entrepreneurs. The organization helps leading entrepreneurs grow through peer-to-peer learning. Its membership is exclusive and by invitation only.
Manjee is also a member of board of the Dallas Regional Chamber.
He holds an MBA in entrepreneurship from Babson Graduate School and is an alumnus of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.
New York City-based Jefferies Financial Group Inc. has hired Moelis & Co. investment banker Lawrence Chu as vice chairman to help build out the bank’s presence in Dallas, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the move. Chu, who is relocating from New York, will start in October, the report said.
Along with his vice chairman role, Chu will also be its global head of telecommunications, according to the report.
Chu has been at Moelis for about seven years, most recently as managing director at the firm. He’s a longtime adviser to Dallas-headquartered AT&T.
Jefferies joins other leading financial firms in wanting to grow its North Texas presence. Goldman Sachs Group has been planning an office tower for 5,000 workers, according to the report, while Charles Schwab Corp. relocated from San Francisco to Westlake, a DFW suburb which is also home to campuses for Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group.
The University of Texas at Dallas aims to enhance the arts on campus this fall with the merger of two schools into the newly named School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology—and it’s appointed Dr. Nils Roemer as the school’s inaugural dean.
By combining UTD’s School of Arts and Humanities (A&H) with its School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC), the university aims to “forge a new path for excellence, innovation, and growth in the arts.”
The move also positions the school to take advantage of UTD’s future arts and performance complex—the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr. Athenaeum, a $158 million cultural arts district that had its groundbreaking in May.
Dr. Roemer, interim dean of A&H and ATEC, director of the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, and the Stan and Barbara Rabin Distinguished Professor in Holocaust Studies, will take up his role as inaugural dean of AHT effective Aug. 22.
Read more in our story here.
Munck Wilson Mandala has added partner Eric Tautfest to the intellectual property group in its Dallas office, the law firm announced.
In a statement, the firm said that Tautfest is a respected patent litigation and trial lawyer known in the IP community as a patent litigation one-stop shop. Tautfest has been on both the prosecution and the defense sides of litigation for IP law practices in Dallas and he also worked in-house, giving him a well-rounded perspective on the issues from his clients’ viewpoint.
Previously, Tautfest was the chair of the IP department at Gray Reed and McGraw in Dallas.
The firm said that Tautfest brings more than 22 years of legal experience representing clients in IP litigation and he’s credited with building the IP practice at his previous firm, where he hand-selected the attorneys on his team during his six-year tenure. His collaborative work approach and team-focused leadership have helped him lead IP litigation teams that bring significant results for clients, Munck Wilson Mandala said in the statement.
“Eric’s impressive background and record of successes in patent litigation will add substantial depth to our IP teams in the North and Central Texas regions,” said William A. Munck, MWM’s managing partner. “He’s highly regarded in Dallas and positioned well to assist us as we build our Waco presence with our two new partners in that market, David Henry and Connie Nichols.”
Florida-based CEO Coaching International, a top executive coaching firm for growth-focused CEOs and entrepreneurs globally, announced that Frisco resident Meghan Watkins is its existing partner and coach.
In a statement, CEO Coaching International said that Watkins is a strategic and dedicated leader with a proven track record for transforming startup businesses into viable, scalable, and thriving organizations.
She uses her expertise to create leadership programs, build high-performing teams, and scale at speed, the statement said. Watkins has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and supply chain management in the wine and spirits industry.
The organization said that Watkins has represented prestigious wineries, including Quintessa, Flowers, and The Prisoner. She co-founded Victory Wine Group, a wine and spirits distributor located at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, which scaled to $60 million in seven years, and was a partner at wine and spirits wholesalers Progress Wine Group (Florida) and Quench Fine Wines (Arizona). These businesses formed Palomar Beverage Company, where Watkins has been credited as the driving force both internally and externally for capturing new account business, developing sales teams, and building revenue to over $100 million.
CBS Stations announced that it has hired David Schechter as national environmental correspondent and Ash-har Quraishi as national consumer correspondent and it will base both at the CBS Local News Innovation Lab in Fort Worth.
Schechter and Quraishi will report to Chad Cross, VP of content development for the station group, and will be responsible for national-scale stories and longform reporting that will air on CBS-owned stations across the country and on the group’s local news streaming channels. Their reports also will also be made available to CBS affiliates via CBS Newspath.
Cross also announced the hiring of four additional members of the Innovation Lab team: Schechter’s longtime colleague Chance Horner has been named senior photographer, editor and producer; Amy Corral and Haley Rush have been appointed investigative producers; and Jose Sanchez has been named investigative photographer, editor, and producer.
CBS Stations announced the Innovation Lab in January, creating what it calls a local news innovation lab. Based at KTVT-KTXA Dallas-Fort Worth, the lab will be the base for a team of CBS News and Stations employees that will “experiment with next-generation storytelling, including data journalism, and also test new products, workflows, and production models for the future,” CBS Stations said in January.
Plano-based MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes has hired Ed Andrews as its new vice president for technology.
Andrews brings more than six years of technology experience with other fast-casual restaurant concepts to his new role with the 90-unit burger franchise company. In a statement, MOOYAH said that Andrews joins the company during a continued phase of growth.
“Ed is joining the brand to further accelerate our growth and advance our technology by enhancing our online ordering experience, updating our in-store restaurant technology, and powering the brand’s entry into drive-thru,” said Doug Willmarth, president of Mooyah.
Richardson-based Associa Principal Management Group of North Texas announced that Kristen Russell has been promoted to branch vice president of the community management services provider.
Russell will be responsible for leading strategy development, operational business activity management, and branch personnel supervision. She replaces John Miller, who recently accepted a transfer to Associa Principal Management Group of Houston, the company said.
She joined PMG North Texas in 2018 as a portfolio manager where she organized, implemented, and led client projects and initiatives. Russell joined the company’s senior leadership team in 2019 and has since played in a key role in growth and retention, Associa added.
She has also supported numerous additional projects, including growing the branch’s Associa OnCall maintenance division, re-organization of the team structure, and marketing campaigns. Previously she worked in the hospitality industry, where she spent more than 10 years in front office leadership with a strong emphasis on customer relations, employee retention, and related policy implementation.
Plano-based Salesforce solutions provider CG Infinity Inc. has added Mike Parish as vice president of customer experience.
“Mike Parish knows customer experience is no longer an intangible benefit. He’s a leading CX practitioner in the nation who has perfected the art of harnessing customer data and AI into measurable business gains quarter over quarter,” CG Infinity President Saurajit Kanungo said. “Mike leading our CX practice will benefit CG Infinity in helping all our clients drive their customer experience agendas and measure benefits.”
CG Infinity helps its customers design, build, and automate their customer journey and omni-channel campaign structure.
“I’ve run a lean AI and automation team, made up almost entirely of CG Infinity employees, for the past 5+ years. Working with them is nothing short of infectious,” Parish said. “The builds we’ve created, the enthusiasm that we exude together, how we learn together—all of it leaves you happy to come back to work the next day,”
CG Infinity is a 24-year-old company that leverages Salesforce platform technologies to help its customers get close to their customers. The company has offices in Dallas, Houston, Albuquerque, Little Rock, and New Delhi and employs over 300 people worldwide.
Fort Worth native Raleigh Green has joined Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty’s Fort Worth office, where he has also launched the Raleigh Green Real Estate Group to serve clients across North Texas.
“In this market, it’s essential for a luxury real estate advisor to have an exceptional support team, innovative technology and visionary leaders. After looking at other brokerages, I was impressed with the ability of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty to offer it all. From the CEO’s desk to the front desk, this brokerage could not be more supportive. I only see this maturing as our relationship continues,” Green said.
A former NCAA Division 1 athlete at The University of Texas at Austin, Green is a graduate of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and an MBA graduate from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Charles Schwab Corp., the Westlake-based financial giant, announced that CEO Walter Bettinger II was unanimously voted as co-chairman of the board, where he will serve alongside company founder Charles R. Schwab.
Bettinger will also serve as co-chairman of the boards of the firm’s banking subsidiaries: Charles Schwab Bank, Charles Schwab Premier Bank, and Charles Schwab Trust Bank.
In a statement, the company said that Bettinger’s appointment reflects the company’s intention to ensure strategic and leadership continuity by following a thoughtful, long-term succession plan. He will retain his current responsibilities as CEO while also sharing responsibilities for leadership of the board with co-chairman Schwab, who will continue to be actively involved in the firm’s strategic direction and corporate governance.
“Walt embodies the firm’s belief in service and integrity and is an excellent steward of the business as both CEO and a member of the board,” Schwab said. “The board will benefit greatly from Walt’s expertise and insight being applied in this new capacity. I’m looking forward to evolving our work together on behalf of our clients, colleagues, and stockholders.”
Gowri Natarajan Sharma has become the first person of color to chair the Dallas Museum of Art’s board in the museum’s 119-year history, the DMA announced.
Sharma had been on the DMA’s board since 2017 and is a member of the acquisitions committee. With an endowment of around $270 million, the DMA is one of the country’s biggest museums.
According to a museum statement, along with her philanthropic endeavors at UNICEF’s North Texas chapter, the Texas Women’s Foundation, the Lamplighter School, and other institutions, Sharma serves as an architectural adviser to her family’s business.
The museum also said it elected four new officers and twelve trustees with diverse backgrounds, including international leadership expertise and distinction in business, technology, building design, and creative industries.
“At its heart, the DMA is a collage of different cultures, ideas, and perspectives,” said newly elected Board President Gowri Sharma in a statement.
Officers include CBRE Group vice chairman Jeffrey S. Ellerman; Mary Kay chief marketing officer Sheryl Adkins-Green; Venugopal Menon, former vice president of technology at Texas Instruments; and Jun Il Kwun, founder and managing director of the Actium Group.
The twelve trustees, who will serve for a three-year term are Victor Almeida, Chairman, Interceramic, Inc.; John W. Carpenter, III, Principal and General Partner, Miramar Holdings; J. Patrick Collins, Co-founder and CEO, Cortez Resources; Brent English, Global Diversity, Equity, Inclusions (DEI) Lead, Ralph Lauren; Gene Jones, Dallas Cowboys Organization; Max Lamont, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Montgomery Street Partners, Cristina Lynch; Kelli Questrom, The Allen and Kelli Questrom Foundation; Katherine Perot Reeves; Marcia Dunn Sobel, Ophthalmologist; Gayle Stoffel; and Dennis Wong, President and Chief Investment Officer, Verbena Road Holdings, Ltd.
For a full list of the 2022–2023 Board of Trustees, go here.
Dallas-based nonprofit Dwell with Dignity has appointed Jason Needleman as board chair of the organization, whose mission is to transform lives through design by providing and installing interiors for family homes and community spaces.
Needleman has been a longtime advocate for Dwell with Dignity and has been a board member since 2011. In his new role, Needleman will oversee Dwell with Dignity’s board of directors, ensure the board’s goals and objectives are met, provide leadership to the nonprofit’s employees, and more.
Needleman and his company, Peacock Alley, have been involved with Thrift Studio, the nonprofit’s monthlong fundraiser and home decor pop-ups, for many years as a sponsor. This year he will be a designer, creating a vignette showcasing donated high-end furniture and home decor pieces that will be available for purchase.
In 2009, Needleman took the role of president and CEO of the family-run Peacock Alley. Prior to Peacock Alley, his almost 20-year professional sales career enabled him to gain knowledge of sales, marketing, and general management. Since his appointment as CEO, Peacock Alley’s brand footprint has seen much growth. Peacock Alley currently has six retail showrooms, a thriving online business, and sells to over 500 retailers around the country.
The Junior League of Dallas is kicking off its second century of service after celebrating its centennial this year. The organization, which has grown from 40 women in May 1922 to nearly 5,000 this year, aims to help women flourish and to impact Dallas’ most critical issues.
“We are as dedicated as we have ever been to developing the potential of women, promoting voluntarism, and addressing critical needs in Dallas through the effective action and leadership of our trained volunteers,” said newly appointed Board President Emily Somerville-Cabrera in a latest president’s note.
Somerville-Cabera says the group has a “bold new strategic plan” that will guide the organization over the next five years. The forward-looking plan is focused on three areas: “reviving the member experience, redefining community, and reimagining training.”
Here is the new board of directors:
Emily Somerville, president
Christina Eubanks, president elect
Isabell Novakov Higginbotham, administrative vice president
Jacqueline Wasem, communications vice president,
Katy Ratley, community vice president
Marisa Partin, development vice president
Lanasha Houze, diversity and inclusion vice president
Rhonda Williams, finance vice president
Heather Lorch, membership vice president
Lara Bubalbo Manor, secretary
Megan Ladriere White, signature projects vice president
Kristen Shear, strategy vice president
Jessica Pantano, training vice president
Bonner Allen, sustainer advisor
Go here for a full list of the group’s leadership council.
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If you're looking for portability, there's plenty of options out there. While Dell turned heads back in 2015 with its Infinity Display on the XPS 13, you have to decide if you want an Ultrabook, a tablet, a convertible like the Yoga Book, or to just use your phone.
Today I'm going to take a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. This is the 5th generation of the X1 Carbon, and as its name implies, it's built with a carbon-fiber reinforced chassis. Starting at just over $1,300, the device sports a thin bezel (although not Infinity Display thin), solid construction, and the iconic Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard, complete with TrackPoint (the red mouse nub).
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes in five base configurations, ranging in price from $1,322 all the way up to $2,340. All of the configurations provide the same form factor as well as the same 14" Full HD (1920x1080) IPS screen. It's important to note that the X1 Carbon does not offer a touch version, which seems strange for a new release, although a new Quad-HD display is expected in June so Lenovo may add touch to that screen. All of the displays are powered by an on-board Intel Graphics 620 card.
The base configuration has an Intel Core i5-7200u processor and comes equipped with a tiny 128GB SATA3 SSD, which I doubt many people will keep. It also includes 8GB of RAM, a 720p webcam, a fingerprint sensor, a ClickPad with three dedicated mouse buttons, and a TrackPoint for the old-school users.
If you want to equip your ThinkPad X1 Carbon with 16GB of RAM, you'll need to bump up the CPU, as that requires the Intel Core i5-7300U or i7-7600U. The RAM is soldered onto the board though, so if you want to upgrade, you need to do it at the time of purchase.
The model that Lenovo provided me for the review was powered by the Intel Core i5-7300 running at 2.60GHz, had 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
Wireless connectivity is handled by the Intel Dual Band Wireless AC(2x2) 8265 chip, which also supports Bluetooth 4.1. In addition, for those who need to be online while on the move, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has an option to install a Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE-A modem for an additional $140.
When it comes to connectivity, the X1 Carbon sports two Intel Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C), one of which can be used to charge the device, two USB 3.0 ports (USB-A, one one each side of the laptop), and a full-sized HDMI port. There's also a standard headphone jack and a Kensington lock port.
Along with what was described above, there's a Discrete Trusted Platform Module (dTPM) chip embedded in the machine. This is the most secure implementation of TPM, due to the fact that it's a dedicated chip, thus reducing the ability to attack it via software.
The design of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon isn't going to turn heads at the airport or make your friends jealous. It's not an ugly design by any means: The bezel is unobtrusive, the screen is sharp and bright, the shell is rubbery and grippy, and the carbon fiber gives the device a premium feel. The one negative, however, is that the matte rubber surface collects smudges fairly easily.
One of the best design decisions Lenovo made was with the laptop hinge. With the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, you have the ability to open the screen 180 degrees to lay the device down perfectly flat. I found that it was great to have the laptop completely open while sitting on the couch and studying websites. The only thing that could've improved the design here would've been a touchscreen so that it's easier to scroll through pages.
Once you sit down and start using the device, you notice the little things that Lenovo did to make the X1 Carbon a pleasure. If you're a fan of the traditional Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard, it's still intact here, with the iconic nub (TrackPoint) between the G/H/B keys for those who prefer it to the ClickPad.
Speaking of the ClickPad, instead of using virtual buttons like many other laptops, there are three physical buttons placed above, and two hidden mechanical buttons at the bottom.
The lower end devices comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home edition, which is a strange decision by Lenovo considering the target market is clearly the enterprise. The upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is only $30, so I suspect most people will either order one of the more expensive models, or simply pay for the upgrade.
The X1 Carbon sticks with its roots in the input department, coming equipped with the standard high quality ThinkPad keyboard, the TrackPoint, and a ClickPad. Sadly, as we'll discuss later, the device does not have a touchscreen.
The keyboard is the star of the show, as anyone who has used a Lenovo laptop before can attest to. The keys are raised up fairly high and have a good springy feel to them so that you definitively know when you've pressed one. The keys are also full sized and have a good amount of space between them, making using the keyboard similar to that of a desktop. If you like to have a back-lit keyboard, you can turn that feature on by pressing the function key and the space bar.
The X1 Carbon has dedicated page up and page down buttons, unlike some of its competitors, which is extremely handy when browsing websites, especially given the lack of a touchscreen.
The keyboard isn't perfect though, and the biggest issue for me is the fact that the function key is placed to the left of the control key. As someone who uses control shortcuts, I found myself pressing the wrong key many times and trying to figure out why it wasn't working. This is a personal preference, and something that one would get used to with repeated use, but since most manufacturers put the control key all the way to the left, I'm not sure why Lenovo didn't follow suit.
When it comes to mouse controls, you have two options with the X1 Carbon: The iconic red TrackPoint (aka: pencil eraser or nub), and the ClickPad.
Lenovo has kept the standard TrackPoint from the old IBM days. For those who haven't used it before, the TrackPoint is a little red nub that sits in the center of the laptop, and by pushing it in different directions, you control the pointer on the screen. It's been a great input device for years, and in addition to the fine tuned control it provides, it also lets you move the mouse cursor without pulling your hands off of the home row of the keyboard.
Unfortunately, I encountered a serious flaw with the TrackPoint on the Carbon X1: The ClickPad's integrated mouse clicks don't seem to work with the TrackPoint. When pressing the left mouse button on the ClickPad, and then dragging the mouse with the TrackPoint, the system releases the click after a fraction of a second, making it impossible to select text in a Word document, use MS Paint, or any number of other things. The TrackPoint does still work with the physical mouse buttons at the top of the ClickPad, though.
For those who don't want to use the TrackPoint, the ClickPad works great and acts like most other trackpads you've used in the past, including the standard array of finger gestures to scroll and zoom. For example, tapping four fingers on the Clickpad brings up the Windows Notification Center, and swiping with three fingers lets you replicate the Alt-Tab functionality to switch between apps.
Where Lenovo's implementation is a little different than some others is the fact that in addition to the three physical buttons above the ClickPad, there are also two hidden buttons at the bottom. Pressing them gives a good "click," so you know you did it right, unlike the virtual ones that are available on some other offerings.
I thought I'd end up using the top buttons more than I actually did. With all of the latest laptops not having these physical buttons, I find I'm missing them less and less, but it's still a good feature to add for those who want it.
Lenovo claims that the ThinkPad Carbon X1 has a battery life of "up to 15 hours." That's a generous assessment for any mobile device, but I found that in my testing of the device, it never really came close to that. That said, under normal use of browsing websites, typing up some documents, and watching an occasional YouTube video, I was easily able to last just over 10 hours with the brightness set to roughly 50%. Your mileage will obviously vary based on what you're doing, but the battery life definitely does not disappoint.
Perhaps more importantly is how quickly the battery charges. The X1 Carbon uses a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port to charge, and can go from 0% to 80% in roughly an hour. That's enough charge to deliver you another 8 hours of normal use.
The screen is the one thing that really disappointed me about the X1 Carbon. From latest reviews, I've come to expect not only a high quality screen, but one that also provides touch as an input. Although I've seen many people say touch is not necessary, it definitely does make a device easier to use, and I frequently found myself trying to scroll through webpages or click buttons by pressing the screen, so the lack of that feature is a severe disadvantage compared to Lenovo's competitors.
The screen resolution is limited to only Full HD (1920x1080), and while this isn't a show stopper, it's nice to hear that Lenovo is planning on releasing a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) display in June, although I didn't receive any other details about the upcoming release.
The screen itself has good brightness, at 300 nits, and the display is sharp and crisp. In some ways, the lack of a QHD display is a good thing, as Windows 10 occasionally has scaling issues when running older software, and with only a 14" screen, the additional resolution isn't strictly necessary. For those who want to save battery life, running at 30% brightness in a normal office environment was still easy to use.
As with any Ultrabook, we have modest expectations when it comes to audio because there's just no way for manufacturers to bypass the laws of physics when it comes to the size and depth of a speaker.
The X1 Carbon places the speakers on the bottom of the laptop, underneath the palm rest. The result is a mixed bag. When using the device on a flat surface, the sound is actually pretty good, for a laptop. Cranking the volume up doesn't cause much distortion, and unlike some other devices, I was able to actually enjoy some music.
If you're using the ThinkPad X1 Carbon on your lap, it's a whole different story. Because the speakers are up front and aim down, the sound becomes muffled and practically unusable. I would recommend switching to headphones if you're using the laptop while sitting on the couch.
All of the design, appearance, and features mean nothing if the device can't work as your daily driver. Luckily, the X1 Carbon has great performance to go along with its nice array of features. As with all Ultrabooks, this one is powered by a relatively weak Intel 620 graphics card, so don't expect strong video game performance. However, since the target market for the device is the working professional, that's not surprising.
I began by running the X1 Carbon through the PCMark Creative, Work, and Home tests, and the device managed to crush the competition, besting the HP Elite x2 that I reviewed late last year. How much that translates into real world performance is up for debate, but it's clear that the latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon can easily run whatever productivity workloads you want to throw at it.
If you want to see the raw reports, you can find them here:
On the gaming side, the results were still better than any other laptop I've reviewed, but the difference wasn't as dramatic and again, I doubt most people will be able to notice on most games. The Ice Storm test was the only notable exception, clocking in nearly 40% higher than its nearest competitor.
Again, the raw reports can be found here:
3dMark has also released a couple of new benchmarks that I've never run before. Without knowing how previous laptops faired in the test, it's hard to say if these results are good or not, but I'll include them for future reference. On the first test, Time Spy, the X1 Carbon scored 279. The second test, API Overhead, is measured differently. Instead of a single number to represent performance, the test breaks the results down into four categories: DirectX 11 Multi-threaded draw calls per second (518,698), DirectX 11 Single-threaded draw calls per second (483,603), DirectX 12 draw calls per second (2,216,076), and Vulkan draw calls per second (1,594,440).
One of the biggest selling points for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon over some of its competitors is the security features that it builds in. The fingerprint sensor, for example, is the best I've ever used on a laptop. Unlike cheaper models that make you swipe your finger over the sensor in order to read it, the X1 Carbon lets you simply press your finger on it to unlock your machine.
The device also has a dTPM chip, which is the most secure and most expensive implementation of TPM. The chip is dedicated to security, and includes tamper resistance as well. Since services like BitLocker rely on TPM to function, this provides extra peace of mind. In addition, the inclusion of vPro will deliver enterprises an easier way to manage and control the X1 Carbon.
Another great selling point for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the fact that it includes both USB-C and USB-A ports on the same device, something we're starting to see less of on the market. With all of the various USB-A devices (especially thumbdrives) available, it's a good idea to keep these around a little longer.
Finally, it looks like Lenovo is keeping bloatware to a minimum on the device. There's a few Lenovo-specific scanning tools to check the health of the system, provide support, and optimize the usage, as well as a Lenovo-specific photo viewer. A couple of standard games, like Candy Crush Soda Saga are included too, but those should probably be removed. Regardless, the desktop was not cluttered with icons, so overall I was impressed with the lack of bloat.
Unlike some other Ultrabooks, the X1 Carbon does have a fan. It's situated on the bottom of the device, but in my testing I found that it rarely ever turned on, except during the video benchmarking tests. Even then, the fan noise was barely perceptible.
The device also stayed very cool to the touch during normal daily use. While benchmarking, it felt slightly warm to the touch, but nothing that would be too noticeable in use.
If you're a fan of Lenovo laptops, you'll absolutely love the refinements and upgrades the company has made to the fifth generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The keyboard remains one of the best in the business, and the flexibility to use the TrackPoint or ClickPad to move your cursor, as well as having buttons both above and below the ClickPad itself, make using the device a pleasure. While individuals may not care about some of great security features, such as a quality fingerprint reader, a tamper-resistant TPM chip, and vPro, enterprise buyers will love them.
There really are very few things to dislike about the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. While I've grown used to using a touchscreen, not everyone will agree that the lack of this feature is a negative. The function key is where I would expect the Control key to be, but that's an oddity that can be learned. That leaves price as the main negative for the laptop, and though it's expensive, it's not out of line for a high quality, enterprise-ready device.
UPDATE: User warwagon asked to see the device with the bottom removed, so I'm adding that image here.
The back of the ThinkPad Carbon X1 is held on with five small Phillips head screws and then snaps out. You can tell that the components are not meant to be user replaceable, which is common with Ultrabooks due to the density of the devices.
Last month, Amazon added some new technology to complement its Delivery Service Partner (DSP) Program. The latest of those is “Fleet Edge”, new software that helps drivers navigate changing road conditions resulting in safer operations and keeping up with scheduled delivery times.
The DSP program allows entrepreneurs to run their businesses while leveraging Amazon’s technology, logistics, and operational experience. I believe the program is excellent for both parties as Amazon motivates business owners to fulfill customer needs while downstream creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. I previously wrote about Amazon’s extensive support for SMBs, you can access that piece here.
With hundreds of thousands of employees and partners on the road daily, Amazon must constantly put its best foot forward in providing software and tools to increase safety. If there’s one thing we can count on in our roadways, it changes constantly and often is not appropriately marked. Improving safety isn’t a small feat and usually takes years to roll out and test new software, but it seems Amazon is up to the task. Let’s dig into the announcements.
Amazon DSP Program
Although the Amazon DSP Program has been around for over four years, many may not understand how Amazon is partnering with business owners. In the program, Amazon provides logistics and business training while drivers run their businesses, delivering products to customers. Business owners can scale their teams and run their businesses, while Amazon offers a growing swath of operational infrastructure.
Amazon provides tools, technology, and financing to entrepreneurs to kickstart their businesses and ensure customers are still getting the coveted quick, seamless Amazon customer experience.
If we take a step back and look the economy now from a macro standpoint, there is a lot that has changed in the past couple of years. The world for the most part has seen the end of the pandemic and people and businesses are going back to work. What is fascinating to see is that many people are taking this as an entrepreneurial opportunity to start a business, enter a new trade and Improve business skills.
While the DSP program has been around for a little over four years, it has covered a lot of ground and has created many business owners, downstream jobs, and tremendous economic impact in the last four years. I’ll summarize some of the incredible accomplishments below.
I don’t want to deliver all of the credit to the vacuum of jobs and economic opportunity that is a result of everyone returning to the “norm.” I believe Amazon understands that the more it invests in its companies and partners the more successful the program. It takes a steady investment into new technology and tools. As Amazon continues to grow the DPS program its next investment is in the safety of its drivers.
Often drivers experience changing roadway construction and a lack of proper roadway signage. These constant changes lead to stress and safety issues for drivers and delays in customer package delivery. I have been guilty of driving the highway speed limit only to realize I am in a new construction zone going double digits over the speed limit. If a roadway unexpectedly ends, it can cause safety problems with U-turns or drivers having to self-navigate in unmapped areas.
Last month, Amazon announced expanded support for DSP drivers with the launch of Fleet Edge. Fleet Edge is a new mapping and routing technology that automatically allows drivers to find safe routes around new construction sites, roads, and traffic signs. It works by constantly refreshing on-road information through the mapping software, distributing the most latest data to delivery drivers, and automatically correcting courses to avoid potential hazardous routes. Fleet Edge has a few critical components, an in-vehicle computer, street-view camera, and GPS receiver. The development and pilot of Fleet Edge have been in the works for over two years, according to Amazon, so it seems like the company took the development and testing seriously for this project.
Amazon did quote some interesting statistics to support this launch. One of those is that more than 33,000 new signs have been added to Amazon’s mapping system in the last few months. Also, Amazon claimed that the accuracy of GPS location has increased by 260% in test areas, increasing safety by announcing upcoming turns quicker. I like the idea of Fleet Edge. Although the technology isn’t simple, its output is.
I believe Amazon could build more on top of Fleet Edge in the coming years as it continues to roll out its fleet of electric vehicles EVs. The whole automotive industry is making a digital transformation toward advanced driving assistant systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles (AV) and I believe Fleet Edge has a place within the intelligent driving space. While Fleet Edge is subtle technology by Amazon to ensure safety for its drivers and Improve driving efficiency for businesses, it could have a disruptive impact on the future of Amazon deliveries if Amazon continues to invest in the technology.
As an extension of the DSP Program, Amazon is also launching a new Road To Ownership (RTO) Program. RTO is a new 16-week training and development program that helps Amazon DSP employees grow careers and establish their own delivery business. According to Amazon, “the program provides a blended learning experience that includes facilitator-led classes, customized online learning modules, and mentor development sessions with current DSP owners.”
A unique feature of the new program is at the end of the 16 weeks; candidates get the opportunity to present their business plan to Amazon. On top of that, each graduate receives a $30,000 grant to cover start-up costs and living expenses as they start their business.
There is no doubt that this program helps Amazon continue to expand its delivery driver network while fostering invested business owners into the ecosystem. It is also an excellent opportunity for those that want to build their own business. Oftentimes people who want to start a business don’t know where to start and being able to offer upskilling opportunities through the DSP network becomes a game changer. I believe this is especially true today as we see tremendous opportunities and career changes happening everywhere. Sometimes it seems as though these programs are expected to only come from the government, but the most successful programs for business growth usually come from successful businesses themselves.
I look forward to hearing some testimonials from the RTO program graduates in the future. I believe James Banks, owner of SafeSmart Shipping and an Amazon DSP, said it best, “through this program, we’re providing talented individuals across our DSP network the opportunity to upskill and reskill, enabling them to turn their career aspirations into career advancement. It’s an incredible program for emerging team members to succeed at DSP ownership,”
Since Amazon and its partners have hundreds of thousands of drivers on the road daily, the company should ensure drivers are as safe as possible by implementing new technology. After all, Amazon is a technology leader. I believe Amazon understands that as it continues to invest in SMBs and gives opportunities to upskill, it will also be successful. I believe Fleet Edge’s implementation will save thousands of drivers from hazardous situations and increase safety, which is excellent.
Although many see Amazon as a profit-producing machine running full steam ahead, there are a lot of positive takeaways we need to stop and acknowledge, like the Amazon DPS Program. I think it’s important that both sides are covered. Amazon invests heavily in its software and hardware ecosystem to keep partners safe. Hopefully, technology like Fleet Edge is just the beginning of what we will see from Amazon as it rolls out new tools and technology for DSP program partners. In the meantime, great job Amazon.
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Uber has recorded its first ever cash flow-positive quarter, after burning through $25bn since its founding 13 years ago in the rush towards global expansion.
The lossmaking Silicon Valley group, which has relied on heavily-subsidised rides to upend the taxi industry worldwide, said it generated free cash flow of $382mn in the three months to the end of June.
That is significantly higher than the $109mn analysts had been predicting, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. Free cash flow is defined as cash flow from operations minus capital expenditure.
“This marks a new phase for Uber, self-funding future growth with disciplined capital allocation, while maximising long-term returns for shareholders,” said Uber’s chief financial officer Nelson Chai.
Earlier this year, the company said it would rein in spending in order to meet the goal of being free cash flow positive by the end of 2022. That included reducing driver incentives and slowing corporate hiring.
The company still posted a quarterly net loss of $2.6bn, of which $1.7bn was attributable to poorly performing investments, including its shares in self-driving company Aurora, Singapore-based app Grab and Indian delivery app Zomato.
Chai said Uber’s income would “see swings from quarter to quarter due to the large size of equity stakes on our balance sheet”.
“While we intend to monetise some of our stakes at an appropriate time, we have sufficient liquidity to deliver us the flexibility to maintain all of these positions, with the aim of maximising value for Uber and our shareholders.”
The net loss was worse than analysts’ estimates, but Uber’s results comfortably beat analysts’ expectations on other key measures. Overall revenue was $8.1bn, up 105 per cent year-on-year. Analysts had been expecting $7.37bn.
“Apple (US), Cisco (US), Blackboard (US), IBM (US), Dell EMC (US),Google (US), Microsoft (US), Oracle(US),SAP (Germany), Instructure(US).”
EdTech and Smart Classrooms Market by Hardware (Interactive Displays, Interactive Projectors), Education System Solution (LMS, TMS, DMS, SRS, Test Preparation, Learning & Gamification), Deployment Type, End User and Region – Global Forecast to 2027
MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global EdTech and Smart Classrooms Market to grow from USD 125.3 billion in 2022 to USD 232.9 billion by 2027, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.2% during the forecast period. The major factors driving the growth of the EdTech and smart classrooms market include increasing penetration of mobile devices and easy availability of internet, and growing demand for online teaching-learning models, impact of COVID-19 pandemic and growing need for EdTech solutions to keep education system running.
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Interactive Displays segment to hold the highest market size during the forecast period
Interactive displays helps to collaborate teaching with tech boost social learning. As per a study it has been discovered that frequent group activity in classrooms, often aided by technology, can result in 20% higher levels of social-emotional skill development. Students in these classes are also 13% more likely to feel confident contributing to class discussions. Interactive display encourages the real time collaboration. SMART Boards facilitate the necessary collaboration for students to develop these skills. Creating an audience response system on the interactive display allows students to use devices to participate in class surveys, quizzes, and games, and then analyse the results in real time. A large interactive whiteboard (IWB), also known as an interactive board or a smart board, is a large interactive display board in the shape of a whiteboard. It can be a standalone touchscreen computer used to perform tasks and operations on its own, or it can be a connectable apparatus used as a touchpad to control computers from a projector. They are used in a variety of settings, such as classrooms at all levels of education, corporate board rooms and work groups, professional sports coaching training rooms, broadcasting studios, and others.
Cloud deployment type to record the fastest growth rate during the forecast period
Technology innovation has provided numerous alternative solutions for businesses of all sizes to operate more efficiently. Cloud has emerged as a new trend in data centre administration. The cloud eliminates the costs of purchasing software and hardware, setting up and running data centres, such as electricity expenses for power and cooling of servers, and high-skilled IT resources for infrastructure management. Cloud services are available on demand and can be configured by a single person in a matter of minutes. Cloud provides dependability by storing multiple copies of data on different servers. The cloud is a potential technological creation that fosters change for its users. Cloud computing is an information technology paradigm that delivers computing services via the Internet by utilizing remote servers, database systems, networking, analytics, storage systems, software, and other digital facilities. Cloud computing has significant benefits for higher education, particularly for students transitioning from K-12 to university. Teachers can easily deliver online classes and engage their students in various programs and online projects by utilizing cloud technology in education. Cloud-based deployment refers to the hosted-type deployment of the game-based learning solution. There has been an upward trend in the deployment of the EdTech solution via cloud or dedicated data center infrastructure. The advantages of hosted deployment include reduced physical infrastructure, lower maintenance costs, 24×7 accessibility, and effective analysis of electronic business content. The cloud-based deployment of EdTech solution is crucial as it offers a flexible and scalable infrastructure to handle multiple devices and analyze ideas from employees, customers, and partners.
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Major EdTech and smart classrooms vendors include Apple (US), Cisco (US), Blackboard (US), IBM (US), Dell EMC (US), Google (US), Microsoft (US), Oracle(US), SAP (Germany), Instructure(US). These market players have adopted various growth strategies, such as partnerships, agreements, and collaborations, and new product enhancements to expand their presence in the EdTech and smart classrooms market. Product enhancements and collaborations have been the most adopted strategies by major players from 2018 to 2020, which helped companies innovate their offerings and broaden their customer base.
A prominent player in the EdTech and smart classrooms market, Apple focuses on inorganic growth strategies such as partnerships, collaborations, and acquisitions. For instance, in August 2021 Apple launched Mobile Student ID through which students will be able to navigate campus and make purchases using mobile student IDs on the iPhone and Apple Watch. In July 2020 Apple partnered with HBCUs to offer innovative opportunities for coding to communities across the US. Apple deepened the partnership with an additional 10 HBCUs regional coding centers under its Community Education Initiative. The main objective of this partnership is to bring coding, creativity, and workforce development opportunities to learners of all ages. Apple offers software as well as hardware to empower educators with powerful products and tools. Apple offers several applications for K-12 education, including Schoolwork and Classroom. The company also offers AR in education to provide a better learning experience. Teaching tools helps to simplify teaching tasks with apps that make the classroom more flexible, collaborative, and personalized for each student. Apple has interactive guide that makes it easy to stay on task and organized while teaching remotely with iPad. The learning apps helps to manage schedules and screen time to minimize the distractions and also helps to create productive learning environments and make device set up easy for teachers and parents. Apple has various products, such as Macintosh, iPhone, iPad, wearables, and services. It has an intelligent software assistant named Siri, which has cloud-synchronized data with iCloud.
Blackboard has a vast product portfolio with diverse offerings across four divisions: K-12, higher education, government, and business. Under the K-12 division, the company offers products such as LMS, Synchronous Collaborative Learning, Learning Object Repository, Web Community Manager, Mass Notifications, Mobile Communications Application, Teacher Communication, Social Media Manager, and Blackboard Ally. Its solutions include Blackboard Classroom, Collaborate Starter, and Personalized Learning. Blackboard’s higher education division products include Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate, Analytics for Learn, Blackboard Intelligence, Blackboard Predict, Outcomes and Assessments, X-ray for Learning Analytics, Blackboard Connect, Blackboard Instructor, Moodlerooms, Blackboard Transact, Blackboard Ally, and Blackboard Open Content. The company also provides services, such as student pathway services, marketing, and recruiting, help desk services, enrollment management, financial aid and student services, engagement campaigns, student retention, training and implementation services, strategic consulting, and analytics consulting services. Its teaching and learning solutions include LMS, education analytics, web conferencing, mobile learning, open-source learning, training and implementation, virtual classroom, and competency-based education. Blackboard also offers campus enablement solutions such as payment solutions, security solutions, campus store solutions, and transaction solutions. Under the government division, it offers solutions such as LMS, registration and reporting, accessibility, collaboration and web conferencing, mass notifications and implementation, and strategic consulting. The company has launched Blackboard Unite on April 2020 for K-12. This solution compromises a virtual classroom, learning management system, accessibility tool, mobile app, and services and implementation kit to help emote learning efforts.
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