A refugee from 18 years in corporate management and marketing, Rikk Flohr turned his attention inward to his 20-year love affair with photography. He founded his design firm Fleeting Glimpse Images in January 2006 and divides his days between various print and screen design projects, presentation consulting and, of course, photography. He lives in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
In this conversation, Rikk discusses using an iPad as a presenting tool.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about how you can use the iPad as a secondary monitor in PowerPoint’s Presenter View?
Rikk: PowerPoint’s Presenter View is a great feature – especially to those of us who do more presenting than designing. Basically, it allows you, when attached to a second monitor, to port your live presentation to your audience while retaining a more robust view for the presenter. This robust view includes a view of the current audience view, a clock, your speaker’s notes, and a preview of the upcoming slides. There are additional tools available which are traditionally the domain of presentation remotes. I use it both as a rehearsal tool to tighten timing and delivery as well as a teleprompter when speaking.
The bane of the feature is that it requires a second monitor in order to become active. For us road-warrior presenters that means, without an additional monitor or a projector handy, we cannot use it. If I want to rehearse in my hotel room at night, I likely won’t have a second display with me. This all changed with Apple’s introduction of the iPad. The iPad, in conjunction with an app from Apple’s App Store suddenly makes Presenter View available to the road warrior without a huge equipment premium.
The app in question is called Air Display and made by a company named Avatron. Installing the paid app in conjunction with a free download (both Mac and PC are available) gives your computer access to the iPad as a secondary display. The entire operation works over WiFi. As long as the iPad and the computer are on the same network, you can stream your screen content directly to the iPad. If no WiFi is available you can make your computer and iPad communicate over an ad-hoc wireless network. Configuration is pretty easy and the connection is robust. Just don’t expect your video refresh rate to be great over the iPad. It is simply a remote touch screen to allow you to use the Presenter’s View function in a rehearsal environment.
Geetesh: What are the benefits of using the iPad as a secondary monitor for both Windows and Mac users?
Rikk: The benefits are two-fold:
- You can now rehearse your timings with your notes and a clock with a single computer and your iPad – both of which will conveniently fit in your existing laptop bag. This means any place is a rehearsal opportunity using Presenter View. Printed notes are no longer needed for your laptop rehearsal as the iPad displays your notes for you. You know what slide is coming up next and how long you have rehearsed. For those who prefer to present using Presenter mode it makes the rehearsal seem more true-to-life without the need for an additional projector or monitor.
- In the actual live presenting arena, the iPad becomes a little more. When coupled with your laptop and your projector, you can turn the iPad into a presentation remote (albeit a large remote) perfect for the podium. Your notes are present, your slide is present, your next slide(s) and your speaker’s timer is all there for you to see. Most importantly, you can use your fingers to advance or retreat through your slide deck, black or white your screen, invoke a pen tool to draw or highlight – all from the iPad’s touch screen. In dimly lit auditoriums it is easy to see. We’ve all tried reading printed notes in a darkened auditorium before, right? Your laptop remains near the projector for ease of signal and cabling while your Presenter View on the iPad follows you about the room.
Caveats: If you like, you can roam with your iPad within the realm of the WiFi’s signal. Please remember a couple of items however. The iPad demands attention and attracts attention. Don’t lose track of your audience by your being seduced by the bright attractive screen. It is easy to become engrossed in your presentation in Presenter View and lose your audience in the process. The iPad also likes to rotate its screen based upon its orientation. Turning an iPad which is being ported from a laptop which is also connected to a projector into portrait orientation can do some funky things to video so be aware.
All in all, the iPad can enrich the speaker’s ability to effectively rehearse and deliver a presentation augmented with Presenter View if used wisely. Just don’t let that shiny tablet come between you and your audience.