Yes, the time has come. Simple to use, inexpensive, and effective, wireless technology has come to the conference room. Enterprises and individuals can now enrich the experiences of meeting participants and presenters with little additional equipment and the right technical understanding.
Overcoming Previous Limitations – The Wireless Dream Is Now a Reality
Wireless conference systems free presenters from the need to be tethered to one location and add additional flexibility to installed systems. That has been a longtime dream.
There are challenges though, including distance limitations and interference between the broadcasting device and the receivers. Presentations with multimedia-intensive content and large file sizes consume bandwidth when steamed over the network. Security concerns about who else is looking at my presentation are real. All of these limitations are now being resolved with the current generation of wireless presentation systems. Emerging solutions are continuing to improve the available options so that wireless has become a must for most meeting situations.
The Bring Your Own Device Revolution is here, and wireless presentation systems make adjusting to the increasing demands of collaboration easier.
Which Wireless Presentation System Should You Choose? – It Depends
Selecting the best wireless option for you will be determined by a number of factors. Here are seven questions you should ask as you move toward a wireless conference room:
1. How many conference rooms do I want wireless presentation in?
Physical distance, obstructions, and airborne interference can impact the reliability of wireless transmissions. Some systems are designed to overcome these drawbacks and others are limited in the way they can be deployed.
2. Do I need to interface with mobile devices including smart phones, tablets, and laptops on different operating systems?
As we discussed last month, to accommodate the collaborative needs of organizations, a full range of communication formats and devices should be compatible with the wireless presentation system. Many systems, including Google Chromecast and Apple TV, only work with corresponding devices/browsers making interfacing with them challenging. Others are much more flexible and some of these solutions provide a way to upgrade legacy analog systems to accommodate digital only devices and can extend the life of older systems as the analog sunset approaches.
3. Will more than one presenter using different devices need to be able to contribute materials to the presentation?
Some new wireless systems like Crestron’s AirMedia can easily access and display a full range of materials in any format on any portable device. Up to 32 presenters can seamlessly collaborate using any kind of smart phone, tablet or laptop to share files, videos, or presentations.
4. Will video conferencing participants need to be included?
If you are using videoconferencing as part of your collaboration strategy, wireless presentation technologies can easily be integrated into video conferencing rooms, but the right precautions need to be taken. EDID and HDCP management issues must be properly addressed when using a wireless presentation system in conjunction with video conferencing.
5. Will a dongle or additional device be required?
Dongles are often the simplest wireless systems to deploy, do not require network connectivity, and are great for isolated Conference Rooms. Unfortunately, they are also small, easily misplaced, have distance limitations, and can be difficult to deploy and manage in large numbers.
6. Do you need an app for that?
Most dongle style transmitter/receivers don’t require any software or an app. Apple TV and Google Chromecast require specific devices or Google Chrome to be used. Some systems require the user to download a free mobile app to work with an iOS or Android device.
7. How much bandwidth will my presentation materials require?
The quality of video playback and download speeds depend upon the available bandwidth. Google Chromecast and Apple TV are designed to facilitate home entertainment on HDTV. They work exceptionally well with video from compatible services and computer files in specific formats but they are not flexible enough for most enterprises. Other choices are designed for enterprise deployment. Compression technology has come a long way in addressing network bandwidth concerns and there are solutions from Crestron, Barco and Teqavit that are built with Enterprise networks in-mind.
Your answers to these questions, and others that are unique to your organization, will determine which wireless presentation solution is best for you as you upgrade your conference room technology. At Integrated Media Systems we know that the right choice will depend upon the technical needs of your users. To help you understand the different technologies we referenced in this article, we have created the comparison chart above. Soon, wireless conference rooms will be the rule rather than the exception. To insure you are not left behind and deploy the right wireless presentation system, please contact IMS today.