Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

100 Mobile Product Ideas...#19...
...Slide clicker with preview...

Yesterday I was looking at wireless control devices for Powerpoint. All of my slides for training use copius animations and I like to walk around and wave my arms. Hey, maybe that breaks some of the text-book "rules" for presenters, but when I'm trying to engage students for an intensive 3-day session, I can't stand around like a lampost.

I always project onto a whiteboard, so I can scribble all over my slides. I haven't tried this on a tablet PC, but I sense that the whiteboard will be easier. Besides, I don't have a tablet and I'm not convinced enough to go buy one. My tide is currently flowing in the Mac direction anyhow (more on that topic later).

All this engagement with the slides means that having to walk up to a laptop and click keys, or a mouse, is cumbersome. I've used a wireless mouse, but it doesn't allow me to go back.

All this leads to my need for a remote control device specifically for Powerpoint.

Of course, with Bluetooth, I can use a mobile device as a remote control. This is nothing new. I blogged about it several years ago and people are doing it with MIDP and MS SmartPhone.

However, there's one key element that I realised I need from such a facility: the ability to preview the next slide. I find this is the number one technical challenge whenever I present.

With hundreds of slides, I simply can't remember the flow. Moreover, with animation, I often can't remember the exact sequence that I'm building the story. Therefore, telling the story can become problematic. And telling stories is what I have to do. Students have to have a sense of narrative, otherwise they get bored, lost or fail to grasp what's really going on.

I print out contact sheets with all my slides in miniature, which is fine, but preview on a PDA acting as a remote control seems like a powerful alternative. It would even be possible to preview the animations, as some fully blown Powerpoint-on-PDA products demonstrate.

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