Peter Ryckaert has been active in the internet business since 1995, and has been recognised in 2006 as the Flemish Youth Entrepreneur. With his previous company DigiPoint he also won the Trends Gold Award for the innovative realisation of a completely new remarketing platform for the automotive industry (used by General Motors). DigiPoint has long been among the top-3 internet companies in Belgium before being sold to Cegeka, a pan-European ICT group active in 11 countries. In 2015, he started the crowdbeamer venture, together with co-founder Hans Romaen.
In this conversation, Peter talks about crowdbeamer.
Geetesh: Peter, can you tell us about crowdbeamer, what it does, and what motivated you to create this simple product that no one else thought about?
Peter: Crowdbeamer is the first mobile system that streams any screen content wirelessly to all connected portable devices, such as smartphones, tablets or PCs. A lot of effort has been spent to create a true “plug & present” solution: presenters can simply connect any video source to a crowdbeamer via HDMI or VGA and start streaming instantly. No software installation is required. And thanks to crowdbeamer’s built-in WiFi and battery, content can be shared anywhere, anytime.
Whether someone in the audience has a device running on iOS, Android, Windows or MacOS, doesn’t matter. With the crowdbeamer app installed, everybody can connect to crowdbeamer’s private WiFi network, and have access to the same feature set. Our free app enables everybody in the audience to watch the presentation on their own device, zoom in on the finest details (a great benefit for the visually impaired!), selectively save high-quality screen captures (up to Full HD quality), add personal notes, and share all of that with other business apps. That not just creates a unique experience. Our customers report crowdbeamer significantly increases productivity during meetings and briefings, conferences, training sessions, …
The idea for crowdbeamer originates from a problem which my co-founder Hans was confronted with, when organizing technical conferences. Because printing huge sets of handouts is no longer sustainable for environmental and cost reasons, we came up with a solution to create digital handouts on the spot, providing full flexibility to speakers and conference organizers, and providing significant added value to the audience as well.
Geetesh: Although crowdbeamer can be used conventionally, you do speak about other non-conventional, unique ways to use crowdbeamer. Please tell us more. Also, where can I buy this product, and how much does it cost?
Peter: Giving a presentation is still very much a conventional process: a presenter connects a laptop to a television display or a projector, and the other participants watch the content on the big screen. With crowdbeamer, we enable presenters to think and act out of the box. In fact, crowdheamer removes a lot of barriers because as a presenter you are no longer confined to locations with a full-blown AV infrastructure. Using crowdbeamer, you can present wherever it makes sense to do so. If you want to give a presentation on the factory floor, share information with your audience during a guided museum tour, or share images from a microscope in a lab, that’s all possible. Neither does crowdbeamer restrict you to common presentation styles, making it easy e.g. to present amidst your audience, such as in campfire sessions. With crowdbeamer, you can also easily use dynamic presentation sources while giving your audience to possibility to capture the content. Examples include dynamic PowerPoint presentations with tools such as as DataPoint, Prezi’s, live software demonstrations… during all of which participants can easily build their own documentation set by taking snapshots.
Talking about unique applications: there are plenty of other use cases. Event organizers can use crowdbeamer to give a presentation in a bus while moving in between event locations. Seminar and conference organizers can easily provide the audience with presentations in different languages, or give a presentation in between dinner courses by placing tablets on the different tables. Crowdbeamer can become part of an art performance, for instance when an art painter is filmed during his performance and this is broadcasted to the audience while they are listening to accompanying music. Personally I really like the impact created in education, when a teacher uses crowdbeamer to step outside the class room, and starts interacting with his students in a location that has a direct link with the course.