MagPointer: Conversation with Yossi Pinkas

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:00 AM IST



Yossi PinkasYossi Pinkas is co-founder of MagPointer. MagPointer is the developer of a PowerPoint add-on for improving audience engagement during presentations, making presentations more interactive and easier to follow.

In this discussion, Yossi explains how you can use MagPointer to make your presentations more responsive and interesting.

Geetesh: Please tell us what MagPointer does, and in how many ways can presenters use it?

Yossi: MagPointer is a PowerPoint add-in that helps the audience follow the presenter and remain focused and engaged. The software allows presenters to enlarge, focus or highlight specific slide elements, on-the-fly and without any preparations in advance.

With MagPointer, the presenter can highlight text or specific table elements (cells, columns or rows), enlarge objects, create frames and zoom on slide areas. All this is done in real time, with no need for any preparations in advance.

In many cases, MagPointer relieves presenters from the tedious and time consuming task of preparing slideshow animations in advance. Beyond time savings, the real-time nature of MagPointer makes presentations more interactive, as the presenter can choose what to highlight or focus on in response to questions or comments from the audience. The application also enables a smooth navigation back-and-forth between slide objects, keeping the presentation flowing when the need arises to refer to previous or future slides and objects.

MagPointer is targeted mainly at data-rich presentations, such as those presented by university and school teachers, trainers, consultants and various other professionals.

MagPointer is extremely useful for webinars and online presentations, where the lack of eye-contact make presentations difficult to follow. It is also valuable for face-to-face presentations, and its floating smart bar makes it easy to control MagPointer operations using remote control devices or apps such as the mobile mouse application for iPhone and Android handsets.

Geetesh: Can you share how MagPointer evolved, and why you decided you create this PowerPoint add-in?

Yossi: MagPointer was developed by my co-founder, Vadim. In his role as a technical lead in a large high-tech company, he was presenting to his team or managers presentations which include rather detailed slides describing project technical details, system architectures and design requirements etc. He felt there should be a better way to focus his audience on a certain slide object than stepping to the screen and pointing it out. As he was familiar with the internals of Microsoft Office and its APIs, he decided to develop an add-on that will identify the different objects in each slide and allow real time manipulation of those objects.

I have joined Vadim after realizing how useful the MagPointer app is in my activities being part of an investor’s group. We often had Skype conference calls with startup companies seeking investment, and those included PowerPoint presentations using screen share. The presentations usually included schematics or tables such as revenue forecasts, competitive analysis, etc. that were rather difficult to follow. We found that with MagPointer we could easily follow the presenter, and even when losing attention for a moment, could always go back and find what he was referring to on the slide.

After filing a patent application, we released a beta version of MagPointer in June 2012. Following feedback we’ve received on the first beta version, we have completely redesigned the user interface and added a floating smart bar that made the use of the software highly intuitive and provided better support for using remote controls in face-to-face presentations.

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