Enough talk and hype. It’s time for wireless action.
Movies have previews and meetings have presentation setup drama. Before the main event, there’s a bit of distraction and delay, which gives you plenty of time to get popcorn and maybe fire off those last ten emails you meant to send first thing in the morning.
Well, count on that time buffer no more, at least not in meeting rooms. Wireless collaboration products are making it easier to get straight to the feature presentation. Walk into the conference or huddle room, unsheathe your mobile device, and simply press a button to bring BYOD content to a large screen near you.
It’s all happening now, but how is it happening? It’s all happening now, but how is it happening? What are tech managers' hardware and software options?
1.) Click, and You’re Done Installing Enterprise-Wide
BlueJeans has that universal interoperability thing, which means it connects rooms, people and devices, and its cloud-powered video rolls out instantly across a company. Now, Blue Jeans Mobile Video Collaboration also allows document sharing from iOS and Android mobile devices. Share your latest marketing slides or budget-tracking sheet in high definition, up to 1080p. Dual-stream support ensures the quality of both the video feed and shared content on computers, mobile devices, and room systems with one or two screens. Video sharing lets participants upload HD video files to Blue Jeans and replay during meetings. Great for product demos, training, and collaborative production, videos are perfectly synchronized so that all participants can see and hear at the same time, from any platform, even room systems.
2.) Looking for More Control?
Kramer’s iOS and Android mirroring, cloud-based file sharing, 60fps streaming multimedia option, the VIA Connect PRO, also throws in the added benefit of control over a presenter’s PC. It also provides whiteboard support for some of that analog collaboration technique. A chat feature enables those sidebar conversations that happen in meetings, and it even supports multilingual operation for communicating in your preferred language. For the AV manager, it also adds a layer of systems analysis when integrated with VIA Site Management software and the VIA Pad.
3.) Big on Small Spaces
AMX took a look at all those huddle rooms and smaller meeting rooms, and built its mirroring-ready, streaming optimized H.264 encoder-equipped content sharing platform for speed and performance, which are things that come to mind when you hear the Italian name of the product. Enzo features ”Instant-On” file and web browsing to provide ready access to content stored in the cloud or USB thumb drive files within seconds of entering the room. To keep IT happy, it avoids OS updates, viruses and other PC-related maintenance, and on the security tip, it offers an “End of Session Data Purge” to prevent unintended disclosure of confidential information. The control heavyweight made this a Native NetLinx Device for control of Enzo using a touch panel and NetLinx controller. It’s also future ready with PoE and it’s supported by RPM for one-click launch of a custom Enzo session.
4.) No Training Required
Barco sought to eliminate awkward moments along with cables when it released ClickShare, which provides the tactile satisfaction of pushing a button when you want to share your material. The notion is so intuitive that anyone, even first-time meeting room guests, can connect Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and iOS devices with one click and share right away. The ClickShare Button is used for laptops, while a dedicated, free app is available for tablets and smartphones. Additionally, the CSM Base Unit offers the core ClickShare experience within the budget of more companies.
5.) Bring Order to the Room
Crestron provided one more foil against presentation chaos with a “show me” button that helps to wrangle the anywhere up to 32 people who can connect to AirMedia at the same time in the same room. In Quad View mode, up to four presenters' content can be displayed simultaneously, and moderator mode gives presenters and instructors more control over the room, granting them the power to select whose content to share and whose content to not share, all from the AirMedia web page or Crestron touch screen. Meanwhile, for very large meeting spaces where the display can be difficult to see, Remote View enables up to 40 participants either at the back of the room or in other locations to log in from a web browser to view the presentation on their mobile devices. The usual iOS, Android, Mac and Windows suspects are supported, and AirMedia seamlessly integrates with Crestron DigitalMedia, control systems and Crestron Fusion software as part of a complete enterprise building management solution.
6.) Encourage Involvement
We keep talking about collaboration, but have we talked about how to make people feel like they can contribute to a meeting? When you select a system like Black Box’s Coalesce, you can boost productivity if you emphasize that everyone’s ideas are now jus a few clicks away. Even those reticent to go big with their content on the center screen can still participate, as Coalesce allows an unlimited number of users to share ongoing ideas and information from their devices in real time alongside a presentation. Users can connect and share items freely in open collaboration mode, or approve and reject items in moderated access mode.
7.) Go with What You Know, but One Step Better
Da-Lite’s IDEA Screen elevates the whiteboarding experience. Its magnetic, erasable surface is hotspot-free under projection, and it can be used with an ultra short throw projector as an interactive screen or as a whiteboard with dry-erase markers. It even provides a tray for those markers, and it comes in an array of sizes. By the way, more collaboration is coming your way with Da-Lite’s parent company, Milestone AV Technologies, having just acquired Vaddio.
8.) Build the WAP In
The Extron ShareLink 200 Wireless Collaboration Gateway spontaneously transforms any room into a collaboration space, providing simultaneous single-image or four-window presentation of content from up to four Windows, OS X, Apple and Android devices. Choose the ShareLink 200 wireless model to get the added bonus of an integrated wireless access point (WAP) to create a standalone wireless collaboration and presentation system or to add wireless capabilities to a more traditional wired solution. Or select the ShareLink 200 N network-version if you’re set for wireless networks. The ShareLink app provides easy access to content stored in the cloud and Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and OneDrive integration are handled by MirrorOp for Extron. Collaboration and Moderator modes take care of content control, and WebShare technology enables attendees to view slide images on personal devices via a Web browser, ensuring visibility regardless of sight lines.
9.) Take it Outside
WePresent has a novel idea: use these collaboration systems to further mobilize your salesforce. The wireless presentation system is not just for permanent installations, says the maker of wireless presentation systems that work over an existing LAN. Lightweight and easy to use, the mobile version of WePresent’s wireless device is perfect for the salesperson on the road. Now they can simply walk into any office armed with that product and a powerpoint presentation loaded on their iPhone or iPad and be able to give a presentation on any television or projector. At the home office, WePresent integrates into any network environment, mirroring presentations up to 30 frames per second and in full 1080P HD resolution, and allowing up to 64 users to collaborate and give a wireless interactive presentations from Windows, Mac or mobile devices.
10.) Don’t Waste Time Walking to Another Meeting Room
Oblong’s Hollywood-tested and real-world proved Minority Report sci-fi Mezzanine technology is now thinking once again beyond what we know now. It goes beyond one room with Infopresence, the ability to connect teams in a common workspace. Regardless of which Mezzanine room they are in, teams can add, view and interact with content as if they were all side by side. Share the same workspace—and get work done.
11.) The Scientific Approach to Time Saving
Mersive did a survey of meeting room users last year, and confirmed that some 41% of all respondents reported technical difficulties sharing visual data to a display in over half of the meetings they attended. But it really doesn’t have to be that way, and sharing all that BYOD content doesn’t have to ruin your IT person’s life, either, Mersive says. Its encryption-laden Solstice software-based platform and Solstice Pod hardware were built to solve the AV and IT issues brought to light by those user metrics. Now its latest generation product enables unlimited connected users with unlimited simultaneous sharing on what the manufacturer has termed the “wireless display.” And the diminutive Solstice Pod makes it easy to bring that software vision to reality, as it’s simple to set up, transport and redeploy, offering a power cord, a couple USB ports, and an HDMI cable. The standalone Pod boots up in seconds, and users connect – either via the Solstice app or by a web browser – in seconds (not minutes) to begin sharing their digital content, such as PDF’s and JPEG’s, applications like MS Excel and Word, web content from their internet browsers, and anything else visible on their device by mirroring their desktop in real-time on the display.
Kirsten Nelson is SCN’s editor-at-large.