Dell thinks a mini wireless webcam and PC companion will make work easier

Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

Our gadgets have progressed at an unprecedented rate in recent years, yet fundamental limitations remain in the way we use them. Connecting a cable, switching profiles as you move from one device to another, and trying to retrieve a file you’ve tucked away are some of the clunky tasks we still have to deal with today. And these headaches have only been exacerbated in the shift to work from home, where product ecosystems are often more disjointed than in the office.

Dell, in an effort to streamline the way we interact with our gadgets, has introduced three new concepts: Concept Flow, Concept Pari and Concept Stanza. Each aims to solve a specific limitation with current work environments with the combined goal of making it effortless for users to switch between devices. These are not revolutionary concepts, but when put into practice they can save time and reduce stress.

Concept flow: building a bridge

Less concrete than the others, Concept Flow is Dell’s take on using modern wireless standards, such as Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth, to connect different devices together so you can get to work (or play) as soon as you’re ready. sits down.

Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

What exactly does this look like? Imagine walking into your home office and connecting your laptop wirelessly to your monitor without having to lay it down and open the screen, and when you sit down, your wireless mouse and keyboard are ready to go. When you place the laptop on your desk, it starts charging, no cables needed. When you’re done working, proximity sensors detect when you leave the office and shut down automatically. In this scenario, lifting the lid of your laptop, fiddling with cords and pressing a power button are a thing of the past.

Some of the core technologies Dell describes already exist in mainstream products. Lenovo and Dell’s own business laptops come with proximity sensor software to dim the screen when you look away or put the laptop to sleep when you leave the room. Returning to Dell’s rival, Lenovo is already making a wireless laptop charger of sorts, though Dell envisions that it integrates better into your workspace. In this case built into a table. It all sounds useful and I’m curious to see how it works together and how Dell overcomes potential barriers to platform compatibility.

Concept Pari: wireless webcam wherever you want

The above may sound theoretical, but Dell has already started paving the way. It starts with Concept Pari, a wireless webcam that can be moved from one room to another, or from a monitor to a stand, so you can point the lens at mockups, prototypes, or whatever else you want to share with the video participants.

Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

Weighing less than an ounce, Pari is a miniature device that attaches to a variety of surfaces via a magnet on the back. Built into Pari are a power light, an alignment indicator and an integrated USB-C dock for wireless charging.

Dell lists some niche business applications, but I see a greater appeal to mainstream consumers – I’m tired of dragging around my Logitech C920, and laptops (sorry Dell, including yours) have horrible integrated webcams. Upgrading built-in webcams to a resolution of at least 1080p should be a priority for all laptop manufacturers, and until that happens, something like this wireless version could serve as an alternative, especially if the thin bezels on today’s laptops don’t allow for a decent camera.

Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

I could see myself throwing this into the tiniest case of my backpack and taking it to conferences, personal briefings, or while I’m traveling. I also think that this webcam could be located in classrooms so that teachers can show documents, experiments or a whiteboard without wasting valuable class time.

Conceptstanza: taking notes without limits

Touchscreens are ubiquitous and give us the ability to take notes by hand. But it’s not always easy to get those notes from one device to another. With Concept Stanza, Dell is trying to simplify the note-taking process using an 11-inch PC “companion device”. Similar in shape to a tablet, Stanza gives you a large canvas to draw or take notes on, turning your handwriting into text with a double tap.

Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

In a demo, Dell showed how your scribble instantly appears on a nearby PC once Stanza is placed on its wireless dock. The ability to access your notes on any device without much effort can put an end to emailing files to yourself or retrieving files from the cloud.

When your devices are tightly integrated, life becomes easier, but remember that these conveniences already exist to some degree if you’re committed to the Samsung or Apple ecosystems. I also question the appeal of a stripped-down device made exclusively for note-taking. This PC companion should be priced appropriately to justify purchasing something like the $250 Lenovo Chromebook Duet.

These are still in the prototype stage, so we don’t know if or when they will arrive, although some of the ideas within these concepts are already on the market in one form or another. While these aren’t as exciting as Razer’s Project Valerie or as important as Concept LunaDell’s durable and recoverable laptop vision, sometimes it’s the simple ideas that make a measurable difference. Even if these humble concepts aren’t the answer, the goal of removing the boundaries between our devices is one goal we can all get behind as we figure out what office work will look like in the future.

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