Last month, I talked about the progress of wireless technologies in relation to data projectors and I promised that in our October e-news, I would provide an overview of a product that can be used with new or existing projectors in order to make them wireless.
The product I wanted to highlight is the LiteShow III, manufactured by InFocus. It is a relatively small unit (W: 133.4mm x D: 139.7mm x H: 31.8mm) that plugs directly into a data projector and then communicates, via WiFi (Wireless 802.11 b/g/n), to a desktop or laptop, as per the diagram below.
The package comes bundled with a USB thumb drive which includes software and documentation. However, the software is also stored on the device itself meaning that you can log-in wirelessly to the device and install the software, without needing the USB thumb drive.
Probably the thing I love the most about this product is that it’s so easy to use and, in terms of wireless networking, it’s very easy to set up and start using immediately. There is a ‘Quick Start Guide’ included that provides a step–by-step walk through for the end user which is a relatively straight forward process and should only take 5-10 minutes to set up the first time.
Using the Software
Once the software is installed, a simple click of a button allows a computer to connect wirelessly to the data projector via the LiteShow III. The projected image displays a passcode and this must be used to log in before the connection can be established, which prevents unauthorised users from logging in.
One of the key advantages of this product is the ability for multiple people to log in at one time to take advantage of the ‘QuadView’ feature. Essentially this means that up to four screens can be displayed on the projected image at the same time, as per the picture below:
The device can be accessed individually by each computer, or a teacher can act as the moderator of the session, picking and choosing which screen, or screens, are displayed at any time. This is great for classroom collaboration and it means that a teacher can display a student’s laptop for the whole class, to provide different views and solutions at any time.
The device is also capable of video streaming (including audio) and its wireless video streaming capability is as good as any I’ve seen when it comes to data projectors. That’s not to say that it is perfect, but it is consistent when streaming videos at lower quality (videos at lower bitrates). One of the reasons I would still recommend a wired connection is because wireless may not cover all of your streaming video requirements.
In a classroom, this unit provides more flexibility than a physical connection as it means a laptop doesn’t necessarily need to be plugged into the wall and kept in one place. There is a train of thought that advocates teaching throughout a classroom, rather from one designated area and this product certainly provides a method for a laptop to be used in that way whilst still maintaining a data projector link. It also promotes accountability for each student’s work and more interactivity between the class, by allowing each of their laptops to connect to the data projector.
There are many teachers who have been calling for wireless projection for years and whilst there is still room for improvement, the technology is finally catching up with those demands. This product also takes the convenience of a wireless projector to another level by providing multiple students, as well as the teacher, access to this wireless feature.
There are some exciting thoughts and innovations that are changing the way we think about and use a classroom environment and this is a product that may assist with that. One thing to note is that, as I’ve mentioned in my previous article, I still would always recommend a physical connection in any data projector installation.
A physical connection is generally very reliable, takes care of any video streaming concerns and it also provides contingency against issues that can sometimes occur with wireless networks.
If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 1300 VIDEOPRO.