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What is a wireless presentation system – and why would I need one?

According to Gartner Research, commercial wireless presentation systems are one of the Top 10 Strategic Technologies to improve BYOD collaboration.   Instead of passing around a cable, a wireless presentation system uses a simple button or app that enables your notebook to send your content to a shared projector, flat panel, or television.   To switch presenters, a simple button tap switches the source to the new presenter, who can be located nearly anywhere in the room.

Unlike consumer wireless HDMI systems, commercial wireless presentation systems are designed to improve collaboration during meetings and enable multiple presenters to share ideas, concepts, and media without having to plug in a long cable.   Because these are purpose-built for collaboration, a typical wireless presentation system will have these key elements:

  • Multiple presenters – most systems come with at least two buttons to enable collaboration out of the box and can support 16 or more different presenters.
  • Content Encryption – the market leaders in this category encrypt the content so that people outside the meeting room cannot wirelessly “listen in” or record the presentation.
  • LAN Management– with a LAN connection, IT managers can access, configure, and update the settings of the wireless presentation system deployed in their rooms.

What are the most popular brands of wireless presentation systems?

There are over 40 different brands of wireless presentation systems sold worldwide.  However, according to Futuresource, the most popular brands of wireless presentation systems sold worldwide between $500 and $1000 are the Barco ClickShare, BenQ InstaShow (view spec sheet), and Mersive Solstice.   Each of these systems is used by major companies, have worldwide availability, and offer strong customer support infrastructures to ensure IT managers get the help they need – when they need it.

Wireless presentation systems typically use one of three ways to wirelessly connect to the shared display.

Do they connect to the display?

Buttons

These are the most popular systems – and are very simple to use.   To connect to the projector, you simply plug in a button or “puck” to your notebook or device and tap it to start presenting.  The button encrypts the signal and wirelessly sends it to a receiver or “host” attached to the display.   The Barco ClickShare and BenQ InstaShow are popular models that use this approach.

AV Control System / Videoconferencing Integration

Many traditional AV control systems and video conferencing systems offer wireless connections to their infrastructure to enable presenters to connect without a cable.   Systems like the Crestron AirMedia can be integrated into existing HDMI switchers and control panels to leverage existing systems.

WiFi Hub System

These systems typically use a proprietary app to enable a notebook or other device to connect and present to the display using the corporate WiFi network and a receiver attached to the display.  Systems such as the Airtame don’t require a button connected to the notebook but rely on the corporate WiFi network infrastructure to be robust enough to enable features such as smooth video frame rates.

   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What methods are used the most?

According to Futuresource, wireless presentation systems that used buttons were the most popular approach, followed by wireless presentation systems that integrated into AV control systems and WiFi Hubs.   If you want to learn more about how these types of systems compare, click here.

What are the most popular features available in a wireless presentation system?

High Resolution

For budget reports, calendars, and schedules, the ability to read small text on a shared display is crucial to the collaborative process.  Most commercial-grade wireless presentation systems will deliver 1080p resolution, while the more expensive versions can deliver 4K.

Smooth Video

Companies rely on videos to effectively communicate their messages to their customers.   Depending on the type and configuration of the wireless presentation system, it can be easy to be able to play videos over the system at frame rates up to 60 frames per second without jittering or frozen frames.  For a more detailed explanation of how different models of wireless presentation systems handle video, you can click here.

Multiple Screen Options

Many mid-range and higher-end wireless presentation systems enable you to display more than one image on the screen.   The most popular models can provide either a split-screen with two presenters or support quad screens with four presenters.   When combined with 4K resolution, this enables each presenter to have a high-resolution 1080p image that makes the details of a spreadsheet easy to read.

Touch Back

When connected to an interactive flat panel or projector, the touch back feature can enable a presenter to annotate and control the presentation directly from the screen – while wirelessly saving the changes and notes on a Windows notebook.

Custom Welcome Screen

Commercial-grade wireless presentation systems typically have welcome screens that can be customized via text or special welcome graphics to provide instructions or reminders to the people in the meeting room.

What types of devices can I connect to a wireless presentation system?

All popular wireless presentation systems can support Windows and MacBook either using a button connection (BenQ / Barco) or using the company WiFi network.   For mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, you can either plug in a button or use an app running on the device.

Some systems also can connect to Chromebooks, Blu-Ray players, and other types of devices such as digital cameras where the buttons can take the HDMI content directly from the device and enable a wireless presentation without any extra software.

How much do they cost?

Most wireless presentation systems used in corporations are typically priced between $500 and $2000 per room.  In addition to the cost of the equipment, some systems – such as those using WiFi networks – can require special network configurations and setup in order to perform properly.   Some brands also require annual subscriptions for features such as security updates.

To compare different types of systems and calculate the TCO for your organization, you can click here to learn more about how to apply the Gartner TCO model to wireless presentation systems.

Where can I learn more?

Wireless presentation systems are often tested and evaluated by IT research firms such as Wainhouse Research as well as industry trade publications such as Commercial Integrator.   You can also read articles on the comparisons between popular models.

To learn more on the BenQ InstaShow system that is easy to set up, visitor-friendly, and can connect to nearly any HDMI device for your presentation, please contact insidesales@nmicro.ca

Why every meeting room needs split-screen technology post COVID-19

Modern wireless presentation systems with split-screen can make your collaboration space safer and more productive

In a Post COVID-19 meeting room, the need for social distancing means that these rooms will have to work much harder in the future.  One way to do this is to enable wireless presentation systems with split-screen technology to enable your single display to display multiple presenters at the same time.   Similar to having multiple monitors on a desktop, there are five key benefits of incorporating split-screen technology in a meeting room.

Productivity

By splitting a projector or flat panel display into multiple sections, you will have more virtual space to use in your meetings.  When a screen is split into sections, you can have different applications or concepts on showing at the same time from different presenters.  The latest systems can enable four different 1080p screens on a 4K display, eliminating the need to switch between multiple apps in a collaboration session.

Safety

While social distancing measures are in place, a wireless presentation system using split-screen technology enables presenters to share their content on the screen at the same time – while maintaining proper separation.  In addition, since the presenters use separate transmission buttons or standardized screen mirroring protocols such as Airplay, there is no risk of transmitting a virus by passing a cable around.

Comparison

If you are working with multiple spreadsheets, project management tools, or product roadmaps, splitting up a single display into multiple sections can enable you to quickly compare your data – and make better decisions.   When the two files are side by side, it is similar to a dual monitor setup, without the hassle of running extra cables. Look for a system that can maintain high resolution (1080p or higher) on each section when you start splitting up the screen.

Collaboration

In a post-COVID-19 world, many meetings may need to incorporate some sort of video sharing application such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.  With a split-screen system you can have the video of the remote person you on one screen, your presentation on the second screen – and backup photos and spreadsheets on the other two screens.  Being able to see all the information at one time helps the team make better decisions – and gets everyone on the same page.

Easy to install and use

In the past, installing a split-screen system in a meeting room required special video processors, programming, and lots of extra cables to be installed and hidden under a table.   With a commercial-grade wireless presentation system like the InstaShow S WDC-20, you can add wireless a wireless split-screen system in less than 20 minutes to any projector or flat panel display.   Since there are no special apps needed – the system can be used by anyone in the room without any special training.

But how much do they cost?

While a split-screen wireless screen mirroring system is more expensive than consumer-based products such as Chromecast, you can add an InstaShow S system to your meeting room for under $1500 (link to product buy page).   There are other commercial grade products available that will also split the screen but many require special networking setup, proprietary apps, or annual subscription fees.    If you are an IT manager, you can also download a handy e-book that enables you to evaluate the different types of wireless screen mirroring systems to see which might be right for your organization ( link to e-book)

If you want to learn more about how different products compare, such as the Barco Clickshare, or Mersive Solstice, you can access our comparison page section here.

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