We've seen news recently from Microsoft about the launch of their new Surface Hub displays. These massive touchscreen monitors are available in 55" and 84" models. They are aimed at businesses as well as schools for collaboration and visualization of large projects, definitely not the home user or gamer.

Dell has just released a new portfolio of products aimed at the education market and in addition to several Chromebooks, notebooks, and computing carts, they have also launched their new line of large scale monitors. Not coincidentally, there are two new 4K 55" and 86" models, in addition to their previous-gen 70" 1080p monitor. These large displays are meant as a replacement to the chalkboard or overhead projector and many schools have begun to embrace this new Interactive Flat Panel Display (IFPD) technology.

Previous-gen products like the SMART Board had limited touch capabilities and required an external projector and PC. Microsoft's Surface Hub has 100-point touch capability with a built-in, highly equipped PC. Dell's new line has 20 points of touch sensitivity and doesn't include a PC, but it costs about half as much.

With a wide variety of connectivity options, Dell and Microsoft are looking at this new category of products to be used in conference rooms, design suites, and classrooms. They are big enough to allow interaction between multiple people and have a high enough resolution for text to remain readable.

At $5,000 for Dell's 55" display and $11,000 for the 86" model, they aren't cheap. That being said, Microsoft's 55" offering is $9,000 and their 84" model is $22,000. However, for large corporations and well funded schools they could be a great new tool to encourage collaboration in the digital age.