Hitachi Interactive Solutions has launched its first major software release in 18 months, claiming it will help the company gain a foothold in the largely untapped interactive corporate market.
The firm, a division of Hitachi, specialises in interactive devices such as plasma screens, whiteboards and voting systems.
Its latest interactive whiteboard software, version 6.12, launched alongside a new voting system last week, and includes a videoconferencing module that will help the vendor push sales to corporate customers, according to Alex Goudge, marketing manager at Hitachi Interactive Solutions.
"We already have a strong presence in the education market, but because the software includes a videoconferencing module we are hoping corporate customers will start to take more interest in the technology," she said.
"The software not only allows for traditional videoconferencing, but can also be used for webcam-based conferencing."
Goudge added that users will be able to view each other on the screen and display diagrams at the same time, thanks to the software's split-screen capabilities.
"We are confident this software will open up the corporate market for us and our partners," she said.
Hitachi works with distributors Midwich and Medium in the UK and has an accredited reseller scheme, but Goudge said the firm is "always on the look-out for new VAR partners".
She added: "The market is certainly growing. Education is a very mature market now and in a few years everybody will have all the technology. Corporates are very much at the early adopter stage in terms of interactive technology and it is an exciting time for that sector."
Darren Lewitt, audiovisual business manager at Midwich, is confident the technology will be a success. "Hitachi's board products have always been very solid, but the software was lacking. However, it has definitely caught up in those areas now," he said.
"There has been a buzz around education for some time, but other markets have been ignored. Some of the features and conferencing capabilities in the latest products allow seamless switching between PC and video, which is something rivals don't offer. It will let partners venture into markets outside education."
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