With too many years in the AV industry behind them, Duncan Peberdy and his business partner Jane Hammersley set up their own consultancy company in 2008 – Space 2 Inspire – to advise corporations on meeting room technology and the meeting process itself. Quickly establishing themselves as meeting experts, Prentice Hall commissioned Duncan and Jane to write “Brilliant Meetings” for their business series, which was published in 2009. In 2009 the Multi-Slides plug-in for PowerPoint was developed, and provides users with all the advantages of multiple display, all from a single computer running a single PowerPoint slide show.
In this conversation, Duncan talks about the Multi-Slides add-in for PowerPoint.
Geetesh: Tell us more about Multi-Slides – does this work with multiple projectors, and what does one need to benefit from this PowerPoint add-in?
Duncan: Monotonous PowerPoint presentations have been the main catalyst in the development of Multi-Slides combined with results from research which suggests presenters and lecturers alike are looking for a better way to display, interact and capture the material they are presenting.
For many years now single slides have been viewed in isolation, forming disconnects in processes, comparisons, equations etc. Multi-Slides offers the ability to change this, without changing the way that people want to work – with PowerPoint.
Multi-Slides provides communicators with an effective tool to actively engage and influence their audience through the power of being able to show multiple consecutive slides from the same PowerPoint presentation. University lecturers and business executives can better connect with their audiences, using the power of information persistence to gain attention, build stories, and establish connections, using graphics and information that best support their material.
For a meeting room or lecture theater with 2 or more displays, Multi-Slides is simply loaded on to the host computer ensuring that all the displays are connected to individual outputs and Windows is extended across the desktop onto each display. When using Multi-Slides for a presentation, via the new icon found in the Slide Show menu of PowerPoint, the first slide appears as normal, but when the show is advanced, slide 2 replaces slide 1 and slide 1 moves across onto the next display (projector or LCD display) and remains on view. The same pattern occurs for as many displays as you have connected. As each new slide appears, all custom animation, hyperlinks, etc., work as normal.
A further benefit of having simple control from a single computer is that Multi-Slides allows you to quickly exclude a display. Now, for example, you can display pre-prepared PowerPoint slides on projectors 1 and 3, leaving projector 2 to display additional information that supports it; this could be an embedded video, a live webpage, a Twitter forum to gauge feedback, or an image from a video conference camera or visualiser.
Customer feedback has recently driven us to develop an entry level, single display device solution called Multi-Slides Presentation +, which displays 2 consecutive PowerPoint slides on a single monitor or projector. Without the need for any additional hardware, it’s a fantastic tool for previewing a presentation that you’re about to deliver, or for reviewing information provided in PowerPoint format.
Geetesh: Can you share some case studies in which Multi-Slides can add an extra layer of benefits to a presentation.
Duncan: Here is some information on two such case studies:
Vodafone: Vodafone’s Unified Communication Division uses Multi-Slides in customer-facing meetings. Displayed on two wall-mounted 50” LCD displays, the presentation is controlled from the table with a Smart Sympodium touch panel. PowerPoint slides with quite complex information are shown together, and during negotiations additional information can be added to the slide using PowerPoint’s annotation tools. If something needs greater clarification, Multi-Slides inserts a new blank slide as the next slide, without leaving presentation mode. The additional information, which previously would have been written on a disconnected flip chart, is now captured straight into PowerPoint, and can be viewed alongside the information that required additional detail.
With everything captured into PowerPoint, a true archive of the real-time meeting is achieved, and the information can be immediately circulated as a native PowerPoint file, or easily converted to PDF.
University of Nottingham: The Visual Learning Lab at the University of Nottingham hosts a Multi-Slides installation with six projectors; a facility that can be used by all university departments. Results from research conducted into the teaching of Classics has shown that with more information visually arrayed around the room to compare and contrast, the higher the levels of student engagement. This was achieved through more significant and detailed discussions on the material displayed which in turn led to quicker conclusions.
Communication to the students in any area of learning is improved further by having information displayed for longer, and is proving exceptionally valuable where students have different first languages or conditions such as Dyslexia. Another option is to have the information meaningfully displayed in two or more languages simultaneously.