There are several Vendors offering interactive whiteboard technology:
SmartBoard
Polyvision
Epson
Wiimote / Smoothboard (DIY)

In this first section, information will be presented that is biased toward the Epson BrightLink while still providing references to other technologies.

The Technology:


Epson BrightLink technology is found integrated in the Brightlink 450Wi (Brightlink 455Wi) short throw projector, or in addition to your existing projector using their new Brightlink Solo Interactive module IU-01.
Video Demos:
1. Epson - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b5KoHHzxIs
2. School Library Journal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNgZcxiBkho
3. Epson – video about Included drivers / software

Resources:
  1. Video trainings and resources: http://www.epsonbrightlink.webengager.com/Education/OnlineTraining.aspx

BrightLink utilizes an infrared pen, similar in function to the low-cost interactive whiteboard solution invented by Johnny Lee utilizing a Nintendo Wii remote, and it’s associated commercial (Smoothboard) software, but without the associated risks (lack of support and installation headaches.)

Epson BrightLink is a software independent solution, so it shares the same advantages of the Polyvision Eno, in respect to compatibility with other “notebook” software solutions. It comes bundled with EIT (Easy Interactive Tools) or for an additional $100~ RM EasyTeach. Other than its competitive price, the biggest selling point is its integration with a 2500 lumen WXGA resolution short throw projector. In addition, replacement bulbs are only $170 (BrighterFutures), and replacement pens are $55! I have heard good things about the integrated 12 watt speaker, but being a tech/audio guy I like to have fuller sounding bass. I am a proponent of larger, powered speakers, cost permitting. This installation still requires the run of power, USB, and computer/video, as well as sound if applicable. (a usb audio adapter could reduce # of cables, but may reduce reliability)

The push to install a short throw projector has its own slew of benefits. It allows for a larger image to be projected in tiny rooms. The Epson solution includes the wall mounting hardware, and because of the projection angle, the glare or hotspot issue on reflective surfaces (dry erase white boards, walls) with traditional ceiling mount projectors is eliminated, as it is only visible from the floor!

I have played with the Epson product in person at a tech convention, and I can say that it is very functional, and easy to use. I did not have the opportunity to try it with other software solutions, but I would say that because it uses the infrared pen as mouse input, you are only limited by the software. Both Mac / PC friendly.

The Brightlink Solo is based on the same technology, but it is broken out as a separate add on module which can suppliment any existing projector installation with interactive functionality.

Some points and opions on the Epson Brightink short throw projectors from isenet (Independent school educators network).

Epson Brightlink 450Wi Advantages:
Competitive pricing
Uses any surface
Short throw, wall/ceiling mounted, hardware included
Reduced / eliminated glare
WXGA 1280 x 800
Software independent / Optional
Low cost of bulb replacement
Low cost of pen replacement, single pen use for all colors.

Disadvantages over smart board:
No Slate option
Can’t use finger for input
Included software not as full featured (but ... smartboard software is compatible if you jump through the right hoops)

Disadvantages over Eno:
No Slate Option
no provided surface (but this may be the primary cost saver!)





The Pricing:

Prices from Epson's Website under Epson “BrighterFutures (PDF) contract pricing as of 11/18/2010.
Brightlink 455Wi , w/Mount - $1699 / Brightlink 455Wi w/ RM Easiteach $1,799
Brightlink 455Wi , w/ mount: $1,499. (Value Model) / $1,599 w/ RM Easiteach.
-Value model does not include eneloop recharchable batteries, cables or pen tray.
Compare to the Powerlite 450w w/ mount: $1,099 (short throw projector )
Brightlink Solo Interactive Module: $499 (interactive piece only- add to existing projector)

Better pricing might be availabe from you preferred vendor, or purchasing consortium.

-State of Connecticut Audio Visual contract

-BrighterFutures

Installation is not included in pricing.