Wireless technology for presenting from multiple platforms, such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones, is a must-have for conference rooms, classrooms, huddle spaces, and other collaborative environments.
Tech giants have developed proprietary technologies to make presenting wirelessly, or “casting,” a comfortable concept for users. However, developing a commercial AV product for widespread usage by end-users with a variety of devices, while still maintaining high-level security for acceptance by IT professionals, requires many carefully curated considerations.
Wireless infrastructure must be flexible to provide installation options for AV integrators and compatibility for users, with support for a wide range of portable devices, while also meeting the IT gatekeepers’ demands.
Most wireless presentation systems are on professional networks in corporate environments, education facilities, or government buildings. The wireless presentation system must be able to join these networks without compromising security.
Other applications require a wireless presentation system that serves as the Wi-Fi access point. Gatherings in ballrooms and exhibition centers are best accommodated when there is a device to which it’s easy to connect—without the need to join a locked-down or for-pay network—that also provides internet to users, without providing access to the rest of the network.
Bandwidth & Networking Protocol Requirements
An effective wireless presentation system must achieve a balance: operating on low bandwidth, preferably with support for multiple presenters, while still delivering video quality that meets the expectations of today’s users. To achieve that, a casting technology using 1080p resolution at 30fps ensures the network remains unburdened by heavy traffic; moreover, such a technology could allow high-quality video processing in the presentation system to upscale to 4K output on HDMI (after the network) for optimal viewing of spreadsheets and other fine data.
Operating system (OS) platform considerations are equally as important as the IT and AV considerations are. After all, OS platform support drives demand from the end-user organizations that purchase wireless presentation systems. Successful content casting from Windows, macOS, AirPlay, Android, and Chromecast web browsers requires the availability of sufficient open Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) ports. Developing a standard and consistently accessible functionality from Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac laptops, where a user interface is also a goal, is best served by a dedicated app. With Android devices, for which wireless screen mirroring is inconsistently implemented across brands and models, a dedicated app can similarly provide reliability and predictability. Native support is feasible for Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast operating systems. It’s worth noting that, although Chromecast support is rarely necessary for corporate environments, it is essential in kindergarten through 12th-grade (K-12) education applications.
An ideal interface for content casters would make a connection with minimal operator effort, hand walk users through the required steps, and become invisible to the user once a connection has been made. For the administrator of the system, control is needed for system configuration and contributor-selection options control.
One concern that has repeatedly arisen in the analysis of common installations for wireless presentation gateways has been people’s desire to access the wireless presentation system from both public and private networks. Ideally, both would be available simultaneously— private for staff and administrators, public for guests—while maintaining isolation between the networks for security. Additional security options can include passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), and data encryption. Looking at the research, the integrator and user preference is for network security to be implemented without resorting to the use of hardware dongles.
Collaboration support can transform a wireless presentation system into an interactive tool for brainstorming sessions, labs, and classrooms. With creative software, the same monitor being used for display can support collaboration elements like annotation, whiteboard functionality, and screen capture. Support for touchscreens and mouse and keyboard forwarding can facilitate casted content markup, presentation emphasis, and even source-device control.
An all-in-one wireless presentation system designed for widespread usage on varying portable devices must wisely balance IT, AV, and user-experience (UX) concerns. If it does, it will emerge as a viable, widely embraced solution to meet the increasing needs that conference rooms, classrooms, huddle spaces, and other environments present.