Thursday, November 6, 2008

Video Conferencing Problems Analysed

Interesting article on The AustralianIT web site about video conferencing, and the pros and cons of the technology. It mentions how "room-based, standard-definition video-conferencing systems still exist" but that they're now all but defunct. Shame for those companies who spent a small fortune on getting them installed.

eBeam's shared meeting server, combined with a web cam and Skype (or other VOIP/regular landline) does away with the expensive and complicated set up associated with video conferencing, and you can run your online meetings anywhere at any time.

If both locations have eBeam pods, each site can collaborate on documentation, maps or building plans, getting verbal and written/visual input from multiple sites simultaneously!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Want a touchscreen monitor? Use eBeam!

I found this clip on youtube yesterday, and thought it looked really awesome! Check it out.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

TurningPoint Audience Response System - Part the First...


Another favourite interactive tool I love playing with at work is the TurningPoint Audience Response System.

I'm going to put together several posts on this one, because there are just so many applications for it.

So, here's how it works...

TurningPoint Audience Response System (ARS) is a presentation solution that is used all over the world to create interactive conference presentations and evaluations, allowing the speaker to engage and interact with their audience during presentations.

It's comprised of TurningPoint software, which sits inside Microsoft PowerPoint, and turns any passive PowerPoint presentation into an interactive one, and hardware of credit card-sized response cards for your audience and a USB receiver for your laptop.

You ask a question of your audience, they answer using their response cards, and you show their responses immediately in your presentation.

TurningPoint ARS is ideal to use when you want to:

• Share information with a group, and establish that this information has been understood
• Gain information from a group quickly and accurately
• Develop ideas with a group and promote involvement and “Q&A”, offering everyone the chance to participate equally.
• Count votes with speed and accuracy and present the results instantaneously
• Promote discussion, create a challenge and engage a group

It’s a fantastic way to receive information from your audience, and also show them that their voice is being heard. The audience responses are collated and graphically displayed on the screen in real-time for all attendees to see, and individual responses are stored for future reporting.

These results can be exported directly into Excel spreadsheets, complete with graphical and demographic breakdowns to allow for easy analysis of the data for future presentations.

It's simple and fast information gathering, tha allows in-depth analysis of audience responses, in both anonymous answer format, (for sensitive questions, or large groups where identifying indivual answers is not required) and "known" responses, where you assign a keypad to a particular person to track each of their responses (for testing and assessment purposes).

The best part of the product, for me, is the reporting package. The part of TurningPoint ARS that the audience sees, the interactive powerpoint presentation, is brilliant for getting them involved and interested, but it's the way you can use this data to really get into what people thought during your presentation and how they responsed, that's really invaluable.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

eBeam me up!

OK, the first of the cool interactive toys I work with is the eBeam portable interactive whiteboard solution.

It's an interactive workspace, capture board and shared meeting server all in one.

When you use it with a digital projector, any flat, solid surface you project onto becomes an interactive surface. Neat, huh?

Walls, frosted glass windows, whiteboards, flip charts - you name it.

Using an pen stylus, you calibrate the interactive workspace (the same way you would with a fixed interactive whiteboard) using your projected image, and you're away.

Use it without a projector, on a regular whiteboard, panoboard, glass window, even butcher's paper on the boardroom table, and have all your pen strokes captured directly to your laptop. Save your annotations either as a screenshot image, or a video file, with real-time record and playback functionality.

You can also share brainstorming, planning and training sessions with external and remote sites through the use of eBeam's remote meeting server. This means that all attendees, over multiple sites, can add their ideas and notes directly into the presentation on the meeting host's computer.

Downer EDI Engineering use the eBeam solution in their boardrooms to create an interactive work surface on their frosted glass walls. They use their Bluetooth eBeams with in-built shared meeting server, and hold online meetings with their interstate offices, where all sites can view presentations, but also annotate and collaborate directly onto the documents etc using their interactive workspace.

They also use it for its Capture functionality, where whiteboard notes are captured directly to laptop, allowing their engineers to create plans, write notes, fill a whiteboard and erase their notes over and over, without losing any of their notations. They also use the real-time record function to capture thought processes as they happen, rather than just a "screen grab" of the end result.

There are some great online tutorial videos to be found at the eBeam manufacturer's web site that show you all the functionality of eBeam.

They show you everything from changing the batteries in your stylus right through to hosting a shared online meeting with multiple eBeams, and they're a great way to see exactly how the system can be used by businesses every day.

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As my first post on this blog, I'll write a little about what my intentions are, and give you some background on me!

I come from a communications background (BA English) but have worked almost exclusively in technology fields, so I see, every day, the divide between the tech savvy (shall we say "geeks"?) and the general population.

And although consumer technology is becoming more and more accessible to those not from a tech-minded background, there's a lot of sweet techie gear out there that is absolutely awesome, but is too daunting for the general population to tackle.

This blog is aimed at demonstrating how I (and the companies I work with) use interactive technology every day to improve communication and business processes, and maintain and improve "human" relationships in an increasingly impersonal world.

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