The days of using a video cable to share content in a meeting room are numbered. Wireless presentation systems were first introduced en masse circa 2012 and since then have been replacing video cables at a rapid clip. According to FutureSource Consulting, worldwide shipments of these systems grew 35% in 2017; moreover, approximately 16% of meeting rooms now have some form of wireless presentation system. The demand we’re seeing is no surprise given the benefits of wireless presentation: no more fumbling around for the right connector, instead just simply input a code and share your content on the screen within seconds.
With the high numbers of companies moving to these systems, more and more wireless presentation products are cropping up offering technology managers lots of options to choose from. While competition and multiple options are generally good for customers, it can also make finding the right solution challenging. So what are the key requirements and capabilities of wireless presentation products? What distinguishes true enterprise solutions from consumer-grade products is the ability to deploy, use, and manage the product at scale across potentially thousands of meeting rooms in a large corporate enterprise.
In this blog series we’ll examine the enterprise use case for wireless presentation solutions and identify the key requirements that technology managers should look for when evaluating products in this category. Let’s start by profiling the primary challenges posed by enterprise deployment environments.
Heterogeneous device / BYOD support. With the increasing need to collaborate and share various forms of content in group settings, enterprise wireless presentation solutions cannot stop at merely replacing the video cable. Cables limit group discussions because they create an environment where it’s easier for one presenter to dominate the screen than for several presenters to share the screen. Wireless presentation systems need to be the egalitarian solution to video cables making meetings more engaging, efficient, and productive for all users allowing them to participate with the device of their choice (BYOD) and share content of all types: files, images, drawings, and HD-quality audio/video. Laptop or mobile device, Windows or Mac, Android or iOS – it shouldn’t matter. Moreover, users on the guest network should be able to wirelessly share content on the same display as corporate network users for optimum partner interactions. Better support for heterogeneity means better, more productive, more enjoyable meetings. Wireless presentation systems really need to be collaboration systems; otherwise, they are merely wireless versions of video cables. However, supporting wireless collaboration for heterogeneous device types, operating systems, and wireless display protocols (eg, AirPlay, Miracast) so that there is high quality wireless sharing among them requires airtight integration of the wireless presentation system. We know from experience that this is no simple task.
Security in a BYOD world is tougher. Period. For all the benefits of heterogeneous device support, there are potential security ramifications that need to be managed or else the inclusive benefits of BYOD get undone by downstream security risks. If wireless presentation solutions are to support true collaboration among heterogeneous devices, they must include the features that allow for a rich multi-user wireless collaboration experience without degrading enterprise network security. The security technology that goes into a wireless presentation solution has to go beyond encryption if it is to allow a company’s employees and guests to share high quality content on-premises. The encryption algorithms, role-based access, and hardware architecture employed must all be above reproach security-wise.
Monitoring and managing devices in the ever-increasing number of meeting rooms and huddle spaces. From conference rooms to huddle spaces and welcome areas to transitional spaces, enterprises are full of formal and informal meeting spaces with more and more of them equipped with LED displays. Even offices are seeing a rise in display use as they become an increasingly popular site for ad hoc team gatherings. Companies that make the move to wireless presentation or collaboration systems to improve the usage and productivity of their meeting, huddle, and office spaces will be facing the prospect of how best to monitor and manage the tens, hundreds, and in some cases thousands (if deployed nationwide or worldwide) of these network devices post-deployment. Wireless presentation solutions must have centralized monitoring and management to avoid having AV or IT staff MDBWO (manage devices by walking around).
The few fundamental considerations listed above are true of virtually every enterprise and translate to a set of product requirements that quickly narrow down the number of wireless presentation and collaboration solutions viable for enterprise deployment. In the next installment in this series, we’ll dive into those requirements by looking at the pros and cons of perhaps the most fundamental question about this category of product: whether to deploy on the existing IT network. Be sure to sign up for updates so you don’t miss out on the remainder of the series!
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