In the ever-changing world of presentation technology, simplicity is king, says Wim De Bruyne, vice president – GM meeting experience at Barco.
With the emergence of the hyper-connected workforce, the past couple of years have seen an ever-increasing amount of integration of laptops, tablets and mobile devices into organisations. The ‘always on’ employee lives beyond their desk; they’re drafting emails and documents on the go, and leveraging digital tools to manage workflow, productivity and decision-making.
Yet, presentation technology remains one of the areas where staff are still lacking sufficient know-how, according to our research. In fact, it was employees’ lack of digital skills that most IT professionals blamed for presentation problems, citing it as the biggest IT support challenge companies face today. Apart from potentially ruining the presentation itself, failure to set-up presentation technology leads to meetings being disrupted, business being affected and IT departments suffering a huge drain on time and resources.
The good news is that the days of cable tangle madness are numbered with new presentation technology solutions set to transform the way we work even further.
But is hardware really the culprit for presentation technology going wrong and can software be the saviour of future office meetings and national productivity growth? Based on the current cream of the crop of presentation technology, the answer falls short of a resounding yes.
Projectors, despite their ancient age by the standards of fast-moving tech cycles, still form the cornerstone of most presentations. Fortunately, they have come a long way since magic lanterns were used to project images onto glass slides in the 1800s.
Whether one opts for LCD, DLP or LCOS technology, the latest business projectors are light, small in size, often portable and have a colour brightness of around 7,000 – 11,800 lumen. With the new wave of 4K resolution projectors, which bring out maximum detail and allow for daylight use, we can expect them to stay around for a while.
Equally, large format displays got a big boost in popularity. Offering high-resolution picture quality, the latest introduction to the market comes in the form of electronic paper. Ultra-thin and considerably lower in power, e-paper displays remain visible in sunlight due to their reflective nature.
The emergence of BYOD and evolving meeting scenarios, particularly those leveraging UC tools such as Skype for Business and Zoom, often require different collaboration tools to simplify the AV environment. With the power to create face-to-face meetings across diverse locations, we’ve observed a rise in businesses integrating screen-sharing solutions into their IT equipment to enhance their connectivity, interactivity and (remote) collaboration.
Cisco Spark, an interactive whiteboard using voice-tracking technology with screen-sharing, touchscreen drawing and videoconferencing features, is setting an innovation standard for the industry and many will be following.
At ClickShare we don’t foresee the trend of blackboarding and annotation being incorporated into new presentation tools slowing anytime soon, which is also reflected in our latest screen-sharing solutions.
A marriage made in heaven
Of course, no discussion regarding the state of presentation technology would be complete without mentioning the shift from hardware to software.
Although there’s been much hype surrounding the growing number of pure software players and the complexity they are taking away, hardware is far from dead. Hardware is essential to provide a seamless and secure meeting experience, ensuring quality of service and local integration of peripherals. However, we are moving towards a stage where hardware will serve as platform rather than be the key differentiator. This is a result of the AV industry becoming gradually more interlinked with the IT industry. AV signals will turn into IT signals, bridging the divide between the IT, AV and channel world.
To enable seamless meeting experiences it is important that the industry players team up and build an ecosystem. By that token, we’ve recently engaged with the Logitech Collaboration Program (LCP), which seeks to integrate our complementary technologies to foster easy and affordable meeting room collaboration.
Simplicity is king and drives higher engagement
The best presentation technology is not a matter of hardware or software, it’s a matter of simplicity and the creation of an engaging and seamless user experience. Therefore, when we bring presentation technology into wider industry debates about business productivity and digital skills, the key focus shouldn’t be on whose responsibility it is to train staff on meeting room equipment. Instead, businesses should invest in tools that require zero learning curve. For many this is already happening, but those who are not well down the path need to think now about how they should adapt their business models to reflect these new solutions, efficiencies and levels of connectivity or risk missing out.