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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => SR Forum Archives => Installed Sound/Contracting FUD Forum Archive => Topic started by: Austin Parker on July 19, 2006, 02:22:09 pm

Title: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Austin Parker on July 19, 2006, 02:22:09 pm
So I'm effectively in the bidding process, and the potential client wants to use a "Smart Board" as a way of displaying video images along with information about activities that are taking place that day (changing every day). Does anyone know of a quality product that I should investigate? I know about Smart Technologies and their "smart Boards", but was curious if anyone else had something in mind.
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Brad Weber on July 19, 2006, 04:45:49 pm
Austin,

Might this be better in the Pro AV forum instead of the Installed Sound forum?

Do you know any more about the specifics of the "Smart Board"?  There are front projection, packaged rear projection and flat panel overlay versions, which is involved?

How are they envisioning using the interactive capability of the Smart?  Are they thinking of simply handwriting the new activity information each day (perhaps inserting the video in a windows and then writing around it)?  Is there some other interaction?  Could the activity information be a second window showing a PowerPoint slide or something like that?

If they don't need the real-time interaction, then there may be better ways to approach this.  There are a lot of devices that would let you display a video and a computer image (such as a PowerPoint slide) at the same time on a single display, in fact some displays have some PiP capability internally.  Like everything else, the price varies with the capabilities and quality.
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Austin Parker on July 19, 2006, 05:22:08 pm
Yes, perhaps this is better suited for the Pro Av Forum (mods - move as needed). The board is of the rear projection type along with the flat panel overlay.

The rear projection model would be used simply as a way to hold meetings, display power point as well as display movies - on casters. The flat panel overlay (with interaction) would be used to display daily activities as well as provide a means for incoming visitors to gather detailed information about each activity for that day.

Getting power point to show up on a rear projection model isn't hard at all, its the flat panel overlay that I'm having trouble with. What would be the best way to provide real time interaction with information, while at the same time provide a "slide show" of the activities if there isn't a user at the screen?  In short: What software program with edit capabilities running on a computer will allow me to do all of this on the panel overlay?

The end user would like to have the ability to edit new information and changes to the panel overlay on the fly - always having the welcome room as up to date as possible.
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Don Boone on July 20, 2006, 11:40:39 am
Creating touch enabled presentations is generally done by programming with HTML tools so it works like web site.
I don’t know of any easy to use software packages that do that. We do this kind of hardware install all the time but the content comes from software content production companies.

Don
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Austin Parker on July 20, 2006, 07:10:16 pm
Powerpoint?
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Brad Weber on July 20, 2006, 09:46:39 pm
I think that what Don was referencing is that the interactive touch screen aspect is simply an input device to a computer, pretty much just like a mouse or other pointing device.  You can touch the screen rather than using with a mouse, but what that does is up to the software.

So typically you have what is essentially a web site but where you manipulate the site through the touch screen rather than your mouse.  The 'site' is custom programmed for the application.

Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Austin Parker on July 20, 2006, 11:26:48 pm
Brad Weber wrote on Thu, 20 July 2006 21:46

I think that what Don was referencing is that the interactive touch screen aspect is simply an input device to a computer, pretty much just like a mouse or other pointing device.  You can touch the screen rather than using with a mouse, but what that does is up to the software.

So typically you have what is essentially a web site but where you manipulate the site through the touch screen rather than your mouse.  The 'site' is custom programmed for the application.




Brad,

I understand the technology and how it is used. My fault for not making my last post clearer. "PowerPoint" was a reference to a possible cost effective solution to allow the end user to change info on the fly, and appear to have some kind of "user interface" - although by no means anything like a HTML application. Perhaps it is best to do away with the idea of a smart board flat panel and just have a flat panel as a display device, scrolling through slides of the daily activities....  
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Brad Weber on July 21, 2006, 09:10:41 am
Sorry, I misunderstood your earlier response.

Some activity or building directory type applications are interactive.  For example, the display normally shows a 'marketing' slide show or video but when someone touches anywhere on the screen you get a list of the day's activities.  When they touch on one of the activities it then brings up a more detailed description, the room the event is in and directions to that location.  After a time it goes back to the slide show.  For some reason that is what I was envisioning you were wanting and PowerPoint won't do that by itself.

For just a slide show that can be easily edited, PowerPoint probably is the most common way.  There are numerous message generator programs out there as well that have preset templates.  If they want to be able to change the information easily but not necessarily have to have interaction from the display itself, then a standard display and a PC driving it, either at the display or nearby (reception desk, etc.) is usually more cost effective.
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Austin Parker on July 22, 2006, 10:07:54 am
Brad Weber wrote on Fri, 21 July 2006 09:10

Sorry, I misunderstood your earlier response.

Some activity or building directory type applications are interactive.  For example, the display normally shows a 'marketing' slide show or video but when someone touches anywhere on the screen you get a list of the day's activities.  When they touch on one of the activities it then brings up a more detailed description, the room the event is in and directions to that location.  After a time it goes back to the slide show.  For some reason that is what I was envisioning you were wanting and PowerPoint won't do that by itself.



This is exactly what I would like to be able to accomplish, but as it seems, the actual programing or software interface to get this done may be above the abilities of the end user - which is why I asked earlier if there are any easy to use software interfaces.

Any hints on some what easy to use interactive software?
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Rick Johnston on July 22, 2006, 10:15:26 am
As Brad said, Smartboards are touch-screen control interfaces. They allow you to control a computer in exactly the same way as you'd use a mouse.

Some models have whiteboard-style pens and erasers and proprietary software that lets a user draw annotations on the screen, but that's probably not needed for your project.

I've seen content created with Flash, Director, Opus and HTML. All work equally well, but good ol' HTML is the cheapest to commission and easiest for a user to change if it's set up properly.

All the user would have to do is change entries in a linked database to update the display. A separate forms-based input screen can be written in an app like Access to make that job easier.

Regards,
Rick Johnston
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Austin Parker on July 22, 2006, 10:37:41 am
Rick Johnston wrote on Sat, 22 July 2006 10:15

As Brad said, Smartboards are touch-screen control interfaces. They allow you to control a computer in exactly the same way as you'd use a mouse.

Some models have whiteboard-style pens and erasers and proprietary software that lets a user draw annotations on the screen, but that's probably not needed for your project.

I've seen content created with Flash, Director, Opus and HTML. All work equally well, but good ol' HTML is the cheapest to commission and easiest for a user to change if it's set up properly.

All the user would have to do is change entries in a linked database to update the display. A separate forms-based input screen can be written in an app like Access to make that job easier.

Regards,
Rick Johnston



Rick,

While it's not the actual theory or usage of a smart white board that I don't understand, it is programing of such a device in a K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) way that I'm having a hard time.

Flash, Director, Opus and HTML are usually the software packages I direct the end user towards, but only when the client has a IT or Tech Dept. or some individual that is capable of using these software packages.

I don't think that the secretary, office manager or even corporate executive have the patience or diligence to go through code - of any type - to program their display daily. Changing entries in a linked database comes easy to you and I, but to people who's sole responsibility is running an office, code might as well be an alien language.

Unfortunately in this circumstance, the office doesn't have a full time IT or Tech dept. that can take on the programing of the display (even if it is just simple database changes). I would love to be able to do what Brad simply put, but don't think that teaching these (some what advanced) software packages will go over well.

Perhaps I can turn this over to the guy they have who develops their web site, and have him take on the responsibility of adding daily information to the site. Then I could use the interactive touch screen over lay as nothing more than a large computer monitor, used to navigate the organizations website. If this is not possible, I feel as if the only way to get something close, but not interactive, is PowerPoint; that is unless there is some software that I'm not aware of.

Thanks for all the continued help!


Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Brad Weber on July 22, 2006, 11:33:26 pm
This may simply be one of those "they can't have their cake and eat it too" situations where your client can't realistically expect to have advanced flexibility and untrained personnel running it.

Like others, I usually leave the software and content creation side up to others, but there are a number of companies offering packaged kiosks and kiosk software.  They may be able to provide a software package that is fairly well templated but with some ability to easily add specific data or interact with applications like PowerPoint.  I don't really know the specific packages but just do a Google search for "kiosk software" and you'll get a number of companies the appear to offer software packages.

One thing you will find is that some custom kiosk packages are very particular about which touch screens and overlays they work with.
Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Rick Johnston on July 23, 2006, 10:13:05 am
Austin Parker wrote

I don't think that the secretary, office manager or even corporate executive have the patience or diligence to go through code - of any type - to program their display daily. Changing entries in a linked database comes easy to you and I, but to people who's sole responsibility is running an office, code might as well be an alien language.

That's the beauty of a forms-based entry screen. The user double-clicks an "Update Display" icon on his/her networked computer's desktop. A screen comes up that looks exactly like the display. The user simply changes the words and hits "Submit." The database and display are updated automatically. The code runs in the background.

Regards,
Rick Johnston

Title: Re: Smart Whiteboards
Post by: Don Goguen on July 26, 2006, 12:54:35 pm
In my previous position we did a lot of corporate installs using SmartBoards.  They interface with the connected computer via installed software that makes using them seamless with applications like Word, Excel or IE.  I have not had any trouble with "teaching" clients how they work though in some installs this add-on has gone mostly un-used.  You can give them the technology but can't make them use it.  

They are fine when used in an environment that has a dedicated computer for the device but often times I got requests for these in conference rooms with users that will come in with laptops.  They just couldn't get past the point that the system will only run with the Smart software and every user would have to have it installed and would need to know how to calibrate it.

With either the overlays for plasmas or the projection boards, they are fairly easy to install unless you need to run cabling any distance.  where we needed to extend the USB we have used Cat 5 extenders from Icron.  RS232 was easier to work with.

As to similar products to compete Smart is the market on this one.