You have an iPad but are afraid of it slipping from your hands while you’re speaking on-stage? Grabbit has a solution for both iPad 1 and iPad 2 owners, and at a quite affordable price too. With it’s hardshell body and quality leader strap, it appeals to both technologists and business men alike. It has several other features but it’s the strap what makes it useful for event organizers and speakers alike, or as they write “Ideal for presentations & one-hand entries. Great for showrooms, inventory work, hospitals, conference rooms, podiums & stages.”
I often speak about the need to challenge the basic assumptions of a conference in order to improve the event’s experience, and one of these assumptions is that you need a big screen so that the speaker can show his slides, etc.
A common deterrent to change the way an event develops is the lack of tools that conference organizers have access to, specially in events with small budgets. Now the “App Economy” is providing many of those tools at a very low price and Idea Flight (website, iTunes, twitter) is an example of his.
Idea Flight is an iPad App developed by magazine incumbent Conde Nast that enables a presenter to run his presentation from his iPad and have up to 14 other iPads following it through the same wifi network (or 3 in total via Bluetooth). While it’s not yet ready for being used in large conferences, it might become very useful in your next corporate meeting and maybe sometime soon enough it will scale up to allow more simultaneous users.
Idea Flight lets one person (the Pilot) use their iPad to control a presentation to an audience (their Passengers) to other iPads via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This does not require additional cameras, equipment, dongles, connectors or wires. The transfer happens so the Pilot has complete control over whether or not the Passengers have access to a hard copy. As a Pilot, one swipes through their presentation at their speed and can lock and unlock the content for Passenger to browse at their will. Files can be accessed via Dropbox, iTunes file sharing, email, or Keynote.
It currently only accepts documents in PDF format, which can conveniently be obtained by exporting a document from both Apple’s Keynote and Microsoft’s PowerPoint (and several other programs). Hopefully other formats will follow soon.
A nifty feature from Idea Flight is the integration with Linkedin profiles. Attendees can make their profile visible to the other attendees so that they can exchange their professional details without needing paper business cards.
The App is free for “passengers”, e.i. people that follow the presentation. To enable the “pilot” function you need to make an in-App purchase that costs 5.99 euro.
As I mentioned before, for the time being the App is limited to only one format (PDF), one device (iPad) and the amount of people that can be included in a presentation (15 wifi, 3 bluetooth).
Fixes to increase the usefulness
Hopefully, Idea Flight will soon be available for other mobile devices (tablets) but also laptops. I often carry my 11″ macbook air to meetings, instead of the iPad.
The iPad has become ubiquitous at conferences, especially tech ones. Not only has it eliminated the battery problems of laptops (the iPad’s battery lasts somewhere around 10 hs if you don’t do much video and games vs. 2-4hs of the average laptop) but also it offers great portability and a good weight-features ratio as a traveling device.
Now, it has also replaced the paper notepad (or similar) as the preferred support for panel moderators, who use the iPad to carry their notes/questions and eventually check on twitter what the room is asking or what the general comments are about the session.
A typical issue is hold-ability of the device. If you’re standing up or walking on stage you and you’re not holding it tight enough, if you’re gesticulating while talking or if you have sweaty hands (not strange amongst people on stage), it might slip and crash. The following iPad cases offer a practical solution for this:
Griffin Airstrap (web)
The team behind the presentation software Prezi published today a free App to view Prezis on the iPad (iTunes link). While the application does not allow you to edit your files (they say it’s coming), you can download the ones stored in your online account to show them on Apple’s tablet.
I’m a long time user (and fan) of Prezi and I tried it as soon as it was available. Unfortunately in the 2 presentatios I tried, the layout was all scrambled and the movements didn’t center on the frames correctly. Hopefully they’ll fix that soon.
From the official announcement on Prezi’s blog:
We’ll regularly update the Prezi for the iPad app. When using the current version please consider the following:
- Prezi for the iPad app allows you to show prezis that were previously created on your computer. The app does not have editor features.
- YouTube videos, PDF and SWF files does not work in the current version of Prezi for the iPad.
- When you open a prezi for the first time on your iPad, it can take a while to load depending on the size of your prezi. Even big prezis load super quick for the second run.
From TechCrunch’s post:
Right off the bat: we all know the iPad doesn’t support Flash, so not all existing presentations can be viewed in full if they contain Flash material such as videos. Apart from that, all presentations that were made in the past should be flawlessly viewable on the iPad.
When you open a prezi for the first time on your iPad, it can take a while to load depending on the size of your prezi. Even big prezis load super quick for the second run.
YouTube videos, PDF and SWF files does not work in the current version of Prezi for the iPad.
Inspired by frog design’s “remarketables” (weekly collection of remarkable marketing links) and by the amount of interesting stuff I come across (news, articles, tweets) but don’t have the time to publish as an individual blogpost, I’m starting a “Worth Noting This Week” series of articles, plus the selection of an interesting photo from a conference around the world.
- TED decided to move TED Global 2011 from Oxford to Edinburgh mainly due to the limits imposed by lack of infrastructure in Oxford which according to Chris Anderson and Bruno Giussani was “limiting our intentions to develop TEDGlobal in new, imaginative ways”. TED also launched a beautiful iPad app to discover and watch TED Talks on and offline
- If you, as I did too, desired to have the “big red button” that Russell Davies was using to skip slides during his presentation at Lift10 (see photo above), now you can buy one! IMHO it’s too pricey (am sure you can DIY for much less, but hey… you are also paying for someone elses time and expertise). And talking about Lift, the early bird offer for Lift11 is over but you can still get a 25% off by using the promocode “FriendTwentyfiveOff”
- Venture Capitalist Mark Suster warns CEO’s and startuppers to be careful not to become a conference whore by attending all possible conferences out there. “In the same way you wouldn’t spend all of your day in front of your computer at the expense of customer interaction, there has to be a limit to attending conference. Mark argues that “In the same way you wouldn’t spend all of your day in front of your computer at the expense of customer interaction, there has to be a limit to attending conference”. He identified leadership vaccuum and the lack of focus as the two main consequences deriving from this behavior: “Do you see Mark Zuckerberg at every conference? Do you see Ev or Mark Pincus at every conference? Do you see Larry or Sergey at every conference? Name one, professional conference attendee that has built a successful software business? If you’re in the services business, looking to sell books or work in sales I get why you might spend more time at conferences. If you’re a startup CEO – don’t kid yourself. Get back to work. There’s a team in the office in need of your guidance”
- South by Southwest announced the initial list of 200 confirmed sessions for the 2011 SXSW Interactive Festival
- Jonathan Fields pinpoints the The 10 Commandments of Suck-Free Speaking, including giving a damn, telling good stories, simplifying and being generous with your audience (“It’s about them, not you”)
- The people at Blog World suggest 5 reasons to live blog their event with Posterous for the iPhone (iTunes)
- John Maeda from RISD describes how offline [experience] tastes better than online and his transformation into “a “born-again” supporter of the face-to-face experience. It’s been an interesting transition for me as coming from the technology world to discover that much of what I thought mattered … matters less when the whole community is right there and not living somewhere out there online”. The same concept can be translated to conferences, not because online networks shouldn’t exist but because the event organizer should really concentrate in making the physical experiences more meaningful…
- Tickets are now available online for the next 99% Conference on May 5-6, 2011… be aware that they tend to go sold out fast!
- On Tuesday 13th I attended the Design Mind Salon with three wonderful speakers: Marcel Kampman, Tjeerd Hoek (frog design) and the amazing Bill Buxton (Microsoft Research Labs) The event was co-organized by frog design and Microsoft, moderated by Monique van Dusseldorp and it took place at Felix Meritis, a beautiful location in Amsterdam. My photos are here and a brief review should follow soon.
- The Twitter peeps announced that they’re working on a new feature to follow and share in real time what’s happening at a conference
- Last but not least, the most important news of all 😉 : Yesterday I announced the new Conference Basics Newsletter, a monthly selection of tutorials, talks, event reviews and ideas that will help you organize an outstanding conference and stay up to date with the most interesting upcoming events and industry news. Subscribe now to the Conference Basics Newsletter
The App focuses on just one thing and that is watching talks, but does offer plenty of resources to search and discover new ones. Apart from the “featured” talks, you can search by themes, tags and through the “Inspire Me” button than will allow you to choose between TED’s own keywords (courageous, funny, persuasive, ingenious, jaw-dropping, beautiful, fascinating, informative, inspiring) and how much available time you have.
“The iPad presents a thrilling new platform for delivering a TED experience,” said June Cohen, Executive Producer of TED Media. “We rethought the user experience to take advantage of the portability, the touchscreen and the focused media time people have when they travel or settle in for an evening. We think TED fans will particularly love the “Inspire me” button, which creates a custom playlist to fill the exact amount of time they have free.” Via the TED Blog
A feature that I suspect will be very popular amongst commuters and travelers alike is the “Saved Talks” which downloads to your iPad your own selection of talks for offline viewing.
The latest newsletter of SlideShare announces that they are working on some kind of non-Flash version in order to support iPhone & iPad browsing.
From the email:
If you have been paying attention to the excited chatter about the iPad, then you have probably know that one of discussed issues is how the internet will look on the iPad without Flash.
Well one thing is for sure – SlideShare will look snazzy. It’s still being tinkered with, and is in beta, but we expect SlideShare to be iPad friendly soon.
To check out the Beta, just click on a presentation link – give us feedback – tell us what you would like.
Rest assure, SlideShare will go everywhere you want to take your presentations.
This will be another step towards full-mobility and maybe one of the bricks necessary for a new format of events that does not require a central screen (more on this soon!).
Chris Anderson, curator of TED Conferences, has just announced on twitter that the TED website has been upgraded to a non-flash version (based on HTML5) that allows you to watch the famous TED Talks on your Apple iPhone (and also in the upcoming iPad). A smart move as the iPad will be hitting the streets in less than one week and it does not support Adobe’s flash web-technology.
Edit: as noted by Nuthinking in the comments (thanks!), TED has not abbandoned the flash-version of the website but created a non-flash version that runs parallel to the other and is the one you are automatically redirected to when accessing with an iPhone (or iPad in the near future).
This is particularly relevant because as iPhones and iPad become ubiquitous, so does the consumption of online content in them and TED has great content to share. Note that I specifically refer to Apple’s products, though they are not the only ones that will benefit from this move. During South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) I noticed that from the population carrying a smartphone, 9 out of 10 had iPhones (sorry, no official statistics) and the iPad pre-sale has presumably sold 500,000 units so far, even before being available at shops!
Edit: it has been just announced on the TED Blog that “TED.com now available in HTML5, serving many mobile platforms, including iPhone, iPad“.