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Sharing Video Made Easy
Business users who need to share presentations from their laptops or desktops might consider Airtame, which will let them project the content to one or multiple displays simultaneously using mirroring technology. Mirroring puts control in the hands of the presenter, rather than consumer devices that use casting technology that delivers Internet content to a device.
Airtame has a variety of built-in features useful in enterprise deployments. The first is device management, which Airtame provides in a free service called Airtame Cloud. The first step is use the service to discover which Airtame devices connect to a display's HDMI port. Then you can easily customize every Airtame device, selecting names and background images as well as grouping the devices. Airtame Cloud allows you to update device firmware, and see the device's status and Wi-Fi signal strength.
The Airtame device, which is slightly larger than a thumb drive, connects to a display's HDMI port. Airtame comes with a separate power adapter; I recommend planning your installation out and using an UCTronics 802.3af Micro USB Active PoE splitter (48V to 5V 2.4A). This adapter provides Power over Ethernet to the Airtame device, and provides a hardline network connection. This is important if your presentation is latency-sensitive, because you'll experience slightly more latency over Wi-Fi than you will when connecting a network drop. I've installed this twice, and what I noted is less than two seconds of latency over Wi-Fi. This compares to about one second of latency over a cabled network connection, as a friend of mine has experienced. What this means is that after I click "Next" to advance a slide, the audience sees the slide is less than two seconds.
Airtame can be used in extended-display mode, too. Extended display applications will utilize display 1 as the control screen (the desktop) and display 2 as the second output, for audience viewing without presenter controls. However, to use the Airtame in the extended display mode, I had to connect a second monitor to my laptop RGB. Airtame said it intends to release an extended desktop feature in the first or second quarter of this year.
This device must have one amp of power, deliverable in three ways: through an AC adapter that ships with the unit, via a USB adapter that pulls power from the display and delivers it to the Airtame, or using the UCTronics adapter I mentioned above. When making your power choice, make certain you have enough power when using PoE switching and consider how the power traversing your network might cause damage or disrupt data flow. The Wi-Fi option with USB power eliminates any power hitting your network, but I prefer delivering PoE power from a protected closet, which will combat that latency I mentioned earlier. Latency is relevant to certain types of presentations and collaboration. Local power is never really my first choice, and if the site has whole panel protection then I'd be inclined to consider the use of local power if latency isn't a concern.
To address security layers and concerns, you can configure Airtame to multicast between VLANs. Each device can also be password-protected, and Airtame provides numerous notes on configuration, troubleshooting, and improving the overall configuration in its help pages.
I've used Airtame with macOS and a Windows 10 laptop, and both installations were transparent. I also spent some time reading the notes on calibrating video, and expect to spend more time learning about each display's settings, such as turning off automatic lighting adjustments that tend to disrupt the presentation with icons showing up at the bottom of a display. Airtame allows considerable control over the content, giving the presenter a way to switch between material on a desktop or the Internet on the fly and to move in and out of applications when doing demonstrations.
Businesses need to remove generational barriers to collaboration, and Airtame has done a nice job of providing a means to place presentations to one or more displays. Video has high-impact potential, and being able to present visual elements can be particularly impactful.
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