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Presentation Tech Meets the Network: Presentation Systems

Presentation technologies, from projection systems to whiteboards, are no longer orphan technology, difficult to manage and operate and cut off from their information and graphical sources. Today, these systems are being integrated into the information technology enterprise like never before, with the result that many projectors more often resemble fast network computers than optical systems. To illustrate this trend, Syllabus has picked a few examples of the latest presentation hardware and software. Together, they show convincingly that traditional presentation systems have now become sophisticated local-area network and even wireless network appliances.

InFocus DP8000 Large Meeting Room Projector
InFocus claims to offer the new era of networked projection systems by turning its projectors into IT products. This network-ready system backs up that claim. The InFocus/Proxima DP8000 offers built-in networking capabilities that support the emergence of projectors as managed assets on the corporate network. This, in turn, helps IT departments reduce the total cost of projector ownership. The projector offers support for the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (BDCP) standard, which allows straight digital-to-digital signals. The unit features native XGA resolution and 3,000 lumens of brightness, and weighs in at 13.2 pounds. In addition to Web and video conferencing, the DP8000 can be used to view DVD, HDTV, digital photos, and other digital content geared toward e-learning and distance learning.
The projector works through network-management standards such as Microsoft Management Console to enable administrators to configure and control the projector- or a fleet of projectors- from a remote console.

Contact: InFocus Corp.; (800) 294-6400;

E-Beam Portable Whiteboard
Whiteboard users looking for a portable solution will want to check out e-Beam from Electronics for Imaging. E-Beam lets you print to a local printer without a computer connection, or 'beam' the notes to a Palm OS handheld unit. It also offers the convenience of capturing your whiteboard data using a PC or Mac. Despite its focus on portability, e-Beam still offers an array of features. Users can print whiteboard notes; capture lecture scribblings for after-class routing via PDF, JPEG, or HTML; make classroom presentations using an LCD projector and the e-Beam mouse; or replay whiteboard drawings using the play controls. Users can adjust the size or color of the image captured. The nifty design includes special sleeves and erasers. These send out an electronic signal to the system giving a location as well as color. Users simply pick up a sleeve or the eraser and begin writing or erasing. E-Beam mouse understands the sleeve signals. The two receivers mount onto the whiteboard inconspicuously and enable users to capture a surface as large as 8 feet by 5 feet.

Contact: Electronics for Imaging, e-Beam Division, Foster City, Calif.; (650) 357-3500;

Canon Video Visualizer RE-350
The Video Visualizer RE-350 allows instructors to display and project three-dimensional objects, as well as high-resolution images such as photos, slides, and X-rays, including larger then normal sizes. Integrated with a VCR and a computer, the RE-350 frees classrooms from the old overhead projector and opens up possibilities for displaying all sorts of artifacts: works of art, tools, anatomy specimens, and more. All of RE-350's necessary controls are located on the front panel, making the system extremely convenient to use. Canon also offers a Remote Control Box and Controller, giving users added flexibility and freedom of movement.

Contact: Canon USA; (800) OK-CANON; .

Presedia Express 2.0
Presedia Express is a content management system designed to quickly and efficiently move content from the creator to the user. Consisting of a content manager, transcoder, transform engines, and delivery manager, Presedia allows users to capture, manage, and deliver Web presentations and quickly convert PowerPoint presentations into online multimedia teaching tools. Version 2.0 adds many new features, including an easy-to-use interface that enables AICC-compatible quizzes and surveys to be quickly added into any PowerPoint slide. Other key enhancements include extended animation support, an audio import utility, and a visual audio editor. The system automatically tags specific text within each PowerPoint slide to enable intelligent search capabilities. Key to Presedia's strategy is capturing data in chunks, breaking up the material into its constituent elements—text, graphics, audio—and storing these elements in XML. The XML data can then be searched, combined, and rebuilt for proper display on various output devices such as Web browsers, personal digital assistants, CD-ROM, and smart wireless phones.

Contact: Presedia, Sunnyvale, Calif.; (408) 616-0050;

Sony VPL-FE110 Wireless Projector
The start of the art in presentation hardware is moving in the direction of—you guessed it—wireless. Why? More and more projectors are being connected to networks, wired or wireless, to access users across the enterprise and to distribute content. The reduced cost and hassle of using cables are just added bonuses. Sony's VPL-FE110 wireless projector includes an internal Windows CE operating system, which enables it to display Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint presentations and JPEG and GIF files, as well as browse the Internet. For connection to a local-area network, it features a PC Card Type II slot for wireless and wired Network Interface Cards, as well as Memory Stick or Compact Flash cards for memory storage of 30 MB of information. Users can send the projector presentation files by connecting a PC to the LAN. Windows CE enables the projector to be accessed from anywhere via a simple Web browser. This enables service providers to check the current lamp life and overall status of the projector, and allows users to download presentations from anywhere in the world.

Contact: Sony Corp.;

Panasonic PT-L711XNTU Wireless Projector
Wireless presentation technology may make cabling and networking simpler, but it has a huge additional organizational benefit. Remote command and control features allow multiple users to collaborate transparently in giving presentations. Panasonic's PT-L711XNTU wireless projector enables users to transmit data using the Wi-Fi (802.11b) standard when an optional wireless LAN card is inserted into a PC and to remotely check the projector's status and diagnose and fix problems. With no need for a cable connection, users can control continuous presentations from multiple PCs. A single PT-L711XNTU can be connected to and receive data from several PCs, with no need to switch input settings. This expands usability by allowing for participatory sessions—with users taking part in a presentation on their own PCs. The Panasonic unit comes with a CD-ROM that includes a Wireless Manager, which allows presenters to save images displayed from a connected PC and send them to the projector during a presentation, and a JPEG Converter utility, which converts BMP or TIFF images and Microsoft PowerPoint files into JPEG images for storage.

Contact: Panasonic;

Iogear Phaser Handheld Radio Mouse
What do you get the untethered faculty member who has everything? How about a wireless mouse? Iogear Inc.'s Phaser is the first PS/2 handheld radio mouse with a built-in laser pointer. The device enables presenters to highlight material or direct audiences to specific locations with its light beam. The wireless tool can be controlled up to 50 feet from the computer. Using high-band radio waves, the Phaser also provides accurate cursor movement. The product, priced at $59.99, has a contour design that comfortably fits the shape of the hand. The mouse is Windows-compatible and comes with a three-year warranty. Later this year, the company will release a combination version of Phaser that will be USB- and PS/2-compatible.

Contact: Iogear Inc.; (949) 428-1111;

Kurzweil 3000 Assistive Reading Software
The National Institutes of Health estimates that 15 percent of the U.S. population, or 34 million Americans, has some form of learning disability. For some of them, Kurzweil systems mean the difference between an education and a world of ignorance. The Kurzweil 3000 software helps people with reading or learning difficulties increase their reading speed and comprehension. The system uses a multisensory approach—presenting printed or electronic text on the computer screen with added visual and audible accessibility. The product includes dynamic features designed to adapt to each individual's learning style and minimize frustration for both the learner and educator. For instance, the Kurzweil 3000 offers the reader the ability to control the speed at which text is spoken, the increments of words being read and highlighted, and the reader's personality. Version 6.0 of the 3000 system includes floating licenses, enabling students can log on anywhere, whether in the lab, classroom or library; a pronunciation editor that allows global changes in the synthesized pronunciation of words; auto-correction of OCR errors; PDF file access; and support for Windows XP.

Contact: Kurzweil Education Systems Inc.; (800) 894-5374;

Sharp Notevision M25X Wireless Projector
Sharp Electronics Corp.'s flagship entry into the wireless projector market is the Notevision M25X, which uses IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN technology and image compression to enable real-time data transmission via a wireless network. The M25X also features Wireless Reality Presentation technology based on a new vector quantization (VQ) technology that makes it possible to compress and decompress still images with high compression rates and high image quality. Like the other systems listed, the M25X allows users to transmit from multiple PCs to a single projector or from a single PC to multiple projectors, without having to plug and unplug connecting cables. In addition, the M25X's memory card slot is compatible with a wide variety of cards, letting users deliver presentations directly from the projector without needing an accompanying notebook or PC. The lightweight projector weighs in at 5.8 pounds and features native XGA resolution and 1,900 ANSI Lumens brightness. The projector benefits from Sharp's CV-IC System II, a video-processing chip that cleans up jagged edges, minimizes image noise, and implements keystone corrections.

Contact: Sharp Electronics Corp.; (888) 467-4277;

Tandberg 550 Video Conferencing System
Tandberg, a Norwegian company specializing in video conferencing systems, has taken an early position in the wireless sweepstakes, releasing a unit that includes a slot for wireless LAN cards. This feature enables the Tandberg 550 system to be used as a shared office resource. The simple cabling requirements of the system enable it to be used in any available office space with a wireless LAN, providing all users easy access to video conferencing. The 550 also provides standards-based embedded encryption, allowing research teams to protect their intellectual property by ensuring the secure transmission of audio, video, and electronic data during a video conference on public networks. Another key feature of the 550 is the PC SoftPresenter, letting users show PC files and presentations in real time. This feature allows users to step through the slides of a PowerPoint presentation using a remote control, with no need to use a PC mouse or keyboard. The VGA output support enables these documents and presentations to be seen at their full resolution. The Tandberg 550 runs up to 384 kilobits/sec on ISDN or 768 kilobits/sec on IP. For wireless LAN environments, the system supports standard PC Cards, such as those from Cisco, Compaq, and Lucent.

Contact: Tandberg;

3M Wall Display/Ideaboard
3M's Visual Systems Division's flat-screen Wall Display presentation system is a one-solution system for your display requirements. According to 3M, the Wall Display eliminates the need for a television monitor, dry-erase board, multimedia projector, flip chart, screen, and digital whiteboard and is appropriate for classrooms, small to medium conference rooms, and executive offices. The system can be used as a digital whiteboard by incorporating 3M Ideaboard software. The Ideaboard application enables users to capture notes in color and save or send them in various file formats; print notes directly from the screen when using as a copyboard; and broadcast notes in real time to remote participants. Ideaboard is compatible with Microsoft NetMeeting. A 'playback' feature allows session participants to 'rewind' and replay all drawings on the board, including erased items.

Contact: 3M Corp.; (800) 488-4954;

Plus Vision V-807 Digital Projector
The smallest digital projector we found, the Plus Vision V-807, weighs about 2 pounds. The system, about half the size of a typical magazine cover, is ideal for faculty road warriors. The projector matches subnotebook PCs in compactness, featuring built-in functions for mobile presentations and a full-function remote control card. Yet even with the drop in weight, the company has tried not to sacrifice robust features. The V-807 hosts Picture-in-Picture, 4-Way keystone correction, an extensive on-screen menu, and a DVI interface. The projector features auto-detect inputs that automatically identify and project RGB and video input sources, a built-in progressive scan converter, and a short throw lens that allows users to place the projector close to the projected image.

Contact: Plus Vision; (800) 211-9001;

Promethean ACTIVboard
Promethean's ACTIVboard is a combination of digital whiteboard technology and classroom-friendly software. A cordless battery-free pen transfers multimedia lesson materials onto the large ACTIVboard screen. (Two pens are provided.) Instructors can interact with the whiteboard using the pen or remote control via the ACTIVslate, opening up options for group work and collaboration. The ACTIVslate, an A5 graphic tablet, operates remotely with the ACTIVboard. It frees instructors and students from having to stand at the board for presentations. In a classroom, there might be one ACTIVslate that is passed around or one at every workstation or desk. Promethean's software package ACTIVstudio, controlled via the pen, adds functionality that makes the whiteboard a suitable replacement for acetates, flipcharts, and slide projectors. At its most basic level, ACTIVstudio simulates a dry-erase marker or chalk, but with the added capability of multiple colors and line thicknesses. ACTIVstudio also can deliver Web content and other digital resources from the PC, and users can then highlight, annotate, and mark the text with special effects. Promethean also sells handheld keypads embedded with analysis software. The product, called ACTIVote, allows each student in a classroom to respond individually to teacher prompts. Designed to promote student interactivity, the individual keypads can be programmed to deliver anonymous or identified responses.

Contact: Promethean, Lancashire, England; 0870 2413194;

Smart Technologies Concept Mapping Software
Smart Technologies, a leader in the interactive whiteboard market, is taking a technique recognized by learning theorists as a way for students to brainstorm and organize their thinking, and translating it into a technology tool. Instructors can use the company’s Smart Ideas 3.0 concept-mapping software for Windows to diagram abstract concepts with labeled symbols and connectors. Students can use it to plot lab reports, book reports, or essays. The software’s interface enables users to preview and expand diagrams and link to more information. One innovation of the Smart Ideas software is the addition of multilevel diagrams. Teachers and students can use the software to build in three dimensions, not just two, creating sublevels and moving freely among them. In addition, users can attach live Web links, files, movie clips, and presentations to symbols, thereby making the concept map a multimedia tool. Templates and clip art are provided with the software. Users can save,
e-mail, post to a Web site, or distribute files via an intranet. Smart Ideas concept-mapping software is optimized for use with a Smart Board interactive whiteboard. The board can be written on with the use of a mouse, pen, or finger.

Contact: Smart Technologies, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; (888) 42S-MART;

Epson PowerLite 600p Multimedia Projector

For educators looking for power and portability in a projection system, the Epson PowerLite 600p multimedia projector weighs in at 9.6 pounds and features substantial brightness of 1,700 lumens in native SVGA resolution. The unit uses a 0.9-inch high-aperture LCD to produce rich colors across the entire screen and a 400:1 contrast ratio for sharp blacks and whites and crisp text. The projector features six projection modes that are user-selectable based on the projection environment. The model is designed to provide quiet operation (38 db), including five-watt amplified sound for clear audio output that can fill an entire room. The Epson 600p is among the first projectors to meet Microsoft Windows color quality specifications using a color management technology developed jointly by Epson and Mitsubishi. This makes it possible for the projector to reproduce the same natural color tones as monitors.

Contact: Epson; (800) 463-7766;

Elmo HV-7000SX Presenter

The Elmo HV-7000SX with SXGA output uses digital signal processing technology and is ideal for direct connection to LCD projectors. The presenter is equipped with wireless remote control and allows full page viewing with eight or 10 points. The HV-7000SX is designed for use in conference rooms, lecture halls, and auditoriums. It delivers true SXGA resolution of 1.5 million pixels with a 1/2-inch Progressive-Scan CCD. It provides an analog RGB (SXGA-75 Hz, 7.5fps) output and digital interface USB (high-speed image transfer). It has a high quality 10x optical zoom with 2x electronic magnification.

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