Tablets

Tap into the cloud for iPad presentations

Will Kelly highlights three options for using an iPad and a cloud-based presentation service.

The iPad, when combined with the cloud, can produce great mobile multimedia presentations. Cloud presentation tools are especially ideal if you are outfitting your sales team with tablets.

The iPad and a cloud presentation service offer the following benefits:

  • Centralized management of important corporate, sales, and technical presentations in the cloud and not across devices
  • Delivery of a multimedia experience with presentations through the use of online and embedded video

SlideRocket

SlideRocket is a long-time favorite cloud presentation solution of mine, especially when it launched an iPad app. This is available as a free- or subscription-based service.

The free SlideRocket Player app lets you access both SlideRocket and PowerPoint presentations in the SlideRocket cloud. You can play presentations and download them to your iPad for offline viewing. Figure A shows the SlideRocket iPad app open to available presentations. Figure A

SlideRocket iPad app.
SlideRocket presentations are robust multimedia experiences when you play them on an iPad. Figure B shows a SlideRocket presentation ready to play. Figure B

A SlideRocket presentation that's ready to play.
You can invite others to view SlideRocket presentations. This is an interesting and engaging alternative to viewing your presentation via an overhead projector. Figure C shows the Send Invite dialog box. Figure C

SlideRocket Send Invite dialog box.

SlideRocket also supports the inclusion of YouTube or embedded videos directly in slides.

Prezi

After a briefing from the Prezi team a few months ago, I had a hard time at first realizing how to put Prezi to work, because I live in a world of traditional PowerPoint decks. The Prezi format needs to be seen to be believed, because it's more of a continuously scrolling interactive, pinch-and-zoom -- unlike SlideRocket or PowerPoint slides. Figure D shows a Prezi presentation where I've zoomed in. Figure D

Prezi presentation (zoomed In).

The free Prezi for iPad app lets you pinch, zoom, and tap through presentations. It also provides online and offline support. Prezi is worth exploring if your mobile workers do presentations that include complex art like engineering or medical drawings.

Prezi allows you to edit Prezi presentations on the iPad. Figure E shows the editing tools. Figure E

Editing a Prezi presentation on an iPad.

SlideShark

While SlideRocket and Prezi use alternative formats for presentatios, SlideShark sticks to standard PowerPoint. This makes it a natural choice for organizations that might be apprehensive moving into alternative file formats for their mobile presentations.

The SlideShark team has put a lot of thought into the SlideShark iOS app, with features that support the whole presentation process. You can use a single SlideShark account to access and download presentations to one or more iOS devices. The app supports either a VGA or HDMI adapter for connecting to an overhead or projector, and it includes AirPlay support (iPad and iPhone 4+). Presentations can also be viewed offline. Figure F shows the main screen of the SlideShark iPad app: Figure F

SlideShark iPad app.

SlideShark includes multiple channels for getting your slide decks into the app, including:

  • Opening email attachments on your iPad
  • Upload PowerPoint slides decks to the SlideShark web site
  • Import PowerPoint slide decks from Box, Dropbox, Syncplicity, and Google Drive
Playing a presentation on the iPad preserves all the animations, fonts, and graphics in the original PowerPoint presentation. You can tap and swipe through presentation slides and even swipe up to jump to specific slides or additional SlideShark features. Figure G shows a PowerPoint presentation open in the SlideShark iPad app: Figure G

PowerPoint presentation open in SlideShark.

SlideShark also supports *.wmv and .avi videos embedded in PowerPoint  2010 presentations.

When presenting with SlideShark, it's easy to appreciate the Presenter Mode (iPad 2+), which includes slides notes, slide timers, and an animation counter. These can be hard tools to master in PowerPoint itself, so while SlideShark does a wonderful job implementing these features, it doesn't excuse you from rehearsing with these features prior to hitting the road to your first iPad and SlideShark-based presentation. This includes getting the hang of pressing and holding your finger on a slide to create a laser pointer-like feature. You also have the option to hide and reorder presentation slides directly on your iPad.

SlideShark lets you replace outdated presentations with newer versions without losing tracking and viewing data. This feature, combined with prudent management of a SlideShark account synced to multiple iOS devices, means that sales people can always have the latest sales presentation on hand.

iPad to cloud presentations

With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the emergence of the iPad in some corporate enterprises and vertical industries, these three presentation apps offer a secure multimedia experience that brings together the best of the cloud and mobility for presenters. What presentation apps do you use on your iPad or Android tablet? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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