When it comes to collaborative workspace tools, we’ve come a long way in the last century. When we think of such tools in 2023, the first things that come to mind are usually digital applications – video conferencing software like Zoom, instant messaging platforms like Slack, and a host of CRM systems to keep things running smoothly.
Many of these platforms are relatively new, and were born from the rapid evolution of digital products that went before them – so it’s something of a remarkable feat when the essence of an undisputed cornerstone of digital collaboration remains mostly the same as it was at its inception, like email.
It’s arguably even more impressive when collaborative tools remain relevant throughout the decades up until the present day, all while being completely tangible, analogue products. This is the case with whiteboards and other collaborative writing surfaces: from their invention in the 1950s until today, they maintain their status as a mainstay in classrooms, universities, retail spaces and workplaces.
This is partly due to, not despite, changes in technology, says Potter Interior Systems Sales and Development Manager Rachael Marsh. “With technology throughout work environments and modern classrooms, writing surfaces are, and will remain, one of the most important tools.”
This is in large part due to the enduring appeal of physically writing down thoughts and ideas in educational and collaborative settings.
“Cognitive mapping research has shown that the physical process of writing and diagramming helps people learn and recall information,” says Marsh. “Using a writing surface is both tactile and visual, so the act of writing and drawing engages the user physically and mentally, which boosts learning.
“Making proper use of vertical space with a whiteboard surface can facilitate group work, increase engagement, foster innovation and make thinking visible. Incorporating writing surfaces into meeting rooms or classrooms allows individuals to brainstorm, communicate and share ideas with others.”
As one of the leading manufacturers of whiteboards for the commercial construction market throughout New Zealand, Potter has seen firsthand how changes in the market have necessitated rethinking how we use whiteboards – hence the genesis of products like its interactive whiteboards.
This product is a combination of a projection screen and a whiteboard, enabling for productivity by screen mirroring, while maintaining the ability to use the board as a writing surface. Specifically designed to reduce light reflectivity, it remains an easy-clean and scratch-resistant surface – like all of Potter Interior Systems’ other whiteboard products.
Each whiteboard is manufactured with certified, VOC-free porcelain on a steel writing surface, affixed to an aluminium backing. The premium porcelain ensures it’s not only an excellent surface to write, it’s also resistant to scratches and stains. Each has a 25-year surface guarantee, multiple installation options, and the ability to use magnetic products and accessories.
One of the company’s most popular products is its Edgeline offering, an everyday whiteboard whose frame allows for two different board thicknesses, providing flexibility for different installation methods. For especially large rooms and walls, multiple boards can be connected with a slimline H-jointer – resulting in almost seamless joints between different boards and a wall-to-wall writing surface.
Then there are the ‘hybrid’ products – whiteboards that blend their functionality with other similarly useful items. This includes the pin board + whiteboard combination offering, which offers a 50/50 merging of the two types of boards for ultimate convenience. Customers can choose from a fabric range that includes over 30 different colours.
The Whiteboard Cabinet Slider is an entire furniture piece that features a slidable whiteboard at the top, with storage in the cavities behind, as well as more cabinet storage beneath the sliding boards.
“A whiteboard cabinet is an excellent way to optimise your storage space within a room,” says Marsh. “We supply the highest quality frames and sliders that have been favourites of teachers for many years. The system is designed specifically for hard-working environments.”
With the ever-enduring mobile, wheeled boards rounding out their large whiteboard offering, the formidable range covers almost all bases – and it remains dedicated to enhancing productivity in workspaces and educational settings around the country.