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Wireless presenting is probably the hottest new trend across meeting rooms right now, with every presenter, room designer and facilities manager wanting freedom from the “tyranny of cables”. The benefits of wireless BYOD are also pretty clear — vanishing cable clutter, time saved while getting started with presentations and fewer worries about damaged or missing cables. But as a whole slew of devices become available, choosing the right one for your meeting room can become confusing.

Our team at Actis has tried out several wireless presentation systems and put together some suggestions on how you can pick the right device for your meeting or collaboration space.

Approach 1: Keeping it really simple
The simplest form of wireless presentation connectivity that you can adopt is a device which creates a simple wireless connection between the display and the source, which is usually a laptop. Consider this a simple cable replacement which generally consists of a receiver (connected to the display via HDMI) and a transmitter, which is connected to your laptop.

Simple plug-and-play devices offer the most basic wireless presentation access

The Infocus SimpleShare and Barco ClickShare are good examples of this kind of device. They provide quick and straightforward connectivity to the display and a push button on the transmitter that initiates the display onto your target screen. There is little or no software installation required, which allows users to quickly get going with their presentation even if a new source device is involved. The receiver can support multiple devices which allows switching between multiple presenters. Basic security features are also supported.
While laptop support is pretty simple, check to see if full BYOD is supported via an app on your smartphone or tablet. Try and make sure that you pick a model with at least two transmitter devices (usually dongle or puck form factor) so that switching between presenters is smoother.
This approach provides the most basic and affordable solution for bringing wireless presentation to meeting rooms, but keeping track of these dongle-style devices may get complicated when there are a large number of users.

Ideal for: Smaller meeting rooms, where fewer presenters require connectivity. Can support a larger number of presenters, but requires additional hardware to allow this. The wireless range of such devices may be a constraint.

Approach 2: Fitting in with your IT infrastructure
For enterprises, security policies and access restrictions may demand a solution that is in sync with their existing network infrastructure. This makes it important to consider how they would provide convenient access and variable privileges to guest presenters who need to present and access the internet too. Factoring in the constraints that may be in place on your network, it is important to choose the right fit for your organisation. If you have a larger room to cater to, pick a solution that supports a larger number of users.

Enterprise AV providers like Crestron, Extron, Barco and others offer solutions that play well with enterprise networks, making things simpler for users and system administrators alike. Crestron’s AirMedia 2 devices are available in several variants, which are suitable for various kinds of collaboration spaces — lobbies and lounges, conference rooms and training spaces. They support smooth video delivery and incorporate security protocols like 802.1x network access control, Active Directory® user authentication and AES-128 content encryption. SSH/SSL/TLS and HTTPS are also supported.

Extron’s ShareLink solution is another one that is comfortable in enterprise environments and supports simultaneous content sharing from up to 4 devices. There is a variant which allows admins to set up a stand-alone wireless collaboration and presentation system, and another network only model which works via your existing wireless network. Both iOS and Android apps are also available for mobile devices which introduces greater flexibility in the presentation options for users.

For most mid to large enterprises with high room usage, this type of solution may be the most practical. Since each room would feature a dedicated device, users can just walk in and present with minimal time and attention required to set up.

A wireless presentation gateway may be a better and more secure solution for enterprises

Approach 3: When you want wireless presenting and more

While wireless presenting is a pretty big innovation by itself, it can come along with a lot more? For example, Crestron has incorporated its AirMedia system into their Mercury device which is an all-in-one solution for huddle rooms and smaller meeting rooms. In addition to wireless and wired connectivity to the display, it has a built-in speaker, room scheduler, support for audio and video conferencing and basic control features too.

The Cisco Webex Board has a different approach - this consists of a large display with a 12-microphone array that is tightly integrated with the Webex service for audio and video conferencing. It also supports digital whiteboarding which adds interactivity to your meetings and allows sharing of meeting notes later using Webex Teams. It also uses some AI features to make remote meetings more intuitive for the participants.

Both these devices, and some others, feature tighter integration of wireless presenting into the room itself, which results in better usability and simpler installations. They also play well with standard network security policies, ensuring confidentiality of meeting content is maintained at a high level.

Wireless presentation features are also being integrated into a new generation of collaboration devices

As we’ve seen, there are a lot of choices available if you are looking for a wireless presentation solution with BYOD support. It’s important to evaluate how you would plan to use the system, and where, before you pick one. Different room types and applications can affect your choices and one-size-fits-all certainly does not apply to wireless presentation devices. For enterprise users planning a retro-fit to existing rooms, the better choice may be the add-on products (Approach 1 or 2), but for major upgrades or new installation a better approach may be to look for an all-in-one meeting room product that has this functionality built-in (Approach 3)

It’s also important to take into account what your future needs may be, and how users in your organisation are most comfortable collaborating, so you can choose the right device for them. For most users, this means a seamless process in connecting wirelessly to the room display with their existing devices - whether they are laptops, tablets or smartphones.
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