When Peter Birkholm purchased his SMART Board® Pro, he was looking to keep up with changing times. “I’m a very visual guy, and I’ve always used flipcharts and a big, old whiteboard,” he says. Now, he wants to go fully digital.
Birkholm is the founder and Managing Director of Into the Zone, a consultancy just out side of London UK, specializing in leadership and management development. The firm is a global concern, and in the course of his travels Birkholm had seen a SMART Board in action.
He was impressed and did a little further research before opting for a 6265S-PW model. And he had no regrets. "I just liked everything about it," he says of the 65-inch display. “I liked the fact that it had a 5-year guarantee. I liked the fact that it updates itself all the time. I loved the fact that you could capture the screen as a PDF and send it to people or put it on your phone and use it to make meeting notes afterward."
In the following four years, Birkholm was perfectly content with his acquisition. “It did everything I wanted it to do,” he says. Then COVID-19 arrived, and Birkholm found he needed his SMART Board to do more.
Not Just A Digital Whiteboard
Like most businesses around the world, Into the Zone shifted online when the pandemic hit. Before COVID-19, face-to-face sessions accounted for 95% of its business so remote working posed a challenge.
Birkholm tried some new ways to emulate face-to-face meetings in a virtual world. That meant putting his laptop on a box atop a table and aiming the built-in camera at his SMART Board. That way, clients could see the display while video-conferencing. It worked, but it was awkward. Birkholm soon wondered if there was a better way.
It turns out it was hanging on his office wall. "I had no idea about the essential functionality of these boards," he says. “I suddenly realized that this thing could do more than I thought it could do."
Getting to ‘Wow’
Birkholm wanted people to be able to see him and his SMART Board simultaneously. He contacted his SMART rep and scheduled a tutorial. He learned how to link a webcam and his laptop to the SMART Board. “It was a true ‘wow,’ and I don’t get wowed that often,” he recalls.
Now, Birkholm’s clients can see him and the display. Better still, they can switch between the two views. They can focus on Birkholm when he’s speaking and on the SMART Board when he’s illustrating a concept.
Birkholm says his SMART Board “has absolutely transformed my ability to educate groups of people,” but it really shines in one-to-one training. “When you’re educating people about something, you have to bring it alive,” he explains. “You’re effectively onstage to some degree, and the SMART Board is a brilliant stage mechanic.”
It all adds up to a surprising development: in the course of the pandemic, Birkholm has seen his one-to-one business increase. He gives some of the credit for that to his SMART Board. “It’s been a game-changer for me.”