Tag Archives: webcast

Slide Casting

In the last 5 years or so there has been a big move to lighter weight web-apps.  This has been tremendously empowering to end users who can combine them in interesting ways to solve problems.  While this often does not please the IT department due to circumventing established security, it does provide significant additional capability and flexibility for knowledge workers to gain access to functionality.

Teleconferencing used to be provided by large corporate accounts.  Now anyone can obtain a free service on their own.  Videocasting and web-conferencing is starting to go the same way.  Services like Livestream and Ustream allow anyone to broadcast a video stream free to an audience.  The pay version of those sites even allow you to white label, control access, and embed the broadcast into your own web pages.

There are plenty of webcasting solutions that will push slides: MS LiveMeeting, GotoMeeting are two of the low end ones.  There are also many higher end providers.  They often require downloads to make them work and many have additional complications like scheduling, passwords, etc…  Why can’t we get light-weight slide pushing?  Why do we have to go into a full web conference just to push a few slides (or photos) in real time to a colleague, a prospect, or even a friend?

Why can’t a simple meeting invite contain a link to a hosted page where my slides will appear as I push them through some lightweight client powerpoint plug-in?  Services like SlideShare allow us to post a presentation file and even attach pre-recorded audio, but they cannot simply push a slide to another person or set of people live so that everyone gets the same slide at the same time.

So, it seems for now we have two choices

  1. Continue to hope everyone received the file (.ppt or other), has the right software to open it, and stays on the same slide as the presenter
  2. Pay for and use heavy webcasting services

The only reason I can image why this capability is not yet ubiquitous is that PowerPoint is so standard and perhaps people do not consider it a hassle to continuously tell everyone what slide they are on (or just let them figure it out for themselves based on the audio).

What do you think?  Is this an open space for some innovation?  Does anyone else feel like this would be useful?

Unexpected Consequences

Before releasing a product it is always wise to do some customer research and to test said product with a sample set of customers.  However, one can never predict all the different ways that your product might be useful.  Unexpected consequences can be bad (children eating small toys), but some can be completely wonderful.

twebevent was recently launched as a way to combine video streams with a Twitter Chat.  We imagined that some people might blend audio from sites like TalkShoe and BlogTalkRadio to get a text chat going at the same time.  We did not anticipate that an enterprising user would embed an entire webcast technology.

@jfouts is a BrightTalk webcast user.  She realized that BrightTalk offers an embed and so she just plugged it into twebevent.  Voila, she had all the features of BrightTalk: slides, audio, polling, Q&A, etc… mashed wth all the features of twebevent: listed in the schedule, host branding at the top of the screen, Twitter Chat on her desired hashtag, etc…  You can view her recording here.

The moral of the story: the faster you get something out into the public domain, the faster you can learn everywhere it provides value.  There are lots of iterative improvements planned for twebevent, but we wanted to release it as quickly as possible even in an early state.  That strategy is paying off.