For years, planning for successful slide show presentations was a simple task. A presenter could arrive in the room and be highly confident that the video connection on their laptop would match the cable running to the projector. As the digital age has progressed, and presentations can be shared from a variety of devices, the certainty of connecting quickly and easily has become a greater challenge. There is a growing importance to communicate with presenters and technology vendors ahead of meetings to ensure that everyone’s needs are met, regardless of the device or platform the presenters prefer. What can you do to make sure a busy conference is fully prepared to connect quickly and look great?
One Dongle to Rule Them All?
The rapid advancement of computer and display technology has created an ever increasing toolbox of potential connectors and adaptors that are necessary to connect a presentation device to the projector. Traditionally, the analog connection known as “VGA” was a simple universal connection that could be found on most devices. Fast forward to the present, the video connection format known as “HDMI” has quickly become the standard digital video cable. As quickly as consumers and electronics makers adopted HDMI, newer and smaller presentation devices have introduced nearly a dozen different types of connections that all need to be considered. Ensuring that your next event has the capability to connect to HDMI from a variety of unique connectors can be a big challenge.
How Many Flavors?
As Apple Macbooks and iPads have become more popular meeting presentation tools, they have grown to use an increasing variety of connectors – namely DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt. These are all common connectors that are found on many current Apple devices. Older Apple computers also have several additional connection types – such as DVI and Mini-DVI. These are all easily converted quickly to HDMI with very good results. When determining the needs of a meeting room presentation, it is a good practice to identify the type of computer being used in order to share that information with the technology vendor and to suggest the presenter provide a “dongle” that adapts from their machine to HDMI.
USB-C is an emerging digital connection that can be found on the very newest PC, laptop, tablet, and mobile products. Equipped with a high-bandwidth connection for current and future devices, this format is a step towards a connection that can be used by virtually any device or product for the foreseeable future. As display and projector quality continues to improve, the USB-C connection will be capable of delivering even higher quality images, videos, and slides to presentation audiences. How far off is this future? Chances are there are several presenters at your next event that will already have this connection on their new laptop. The future is now!
How does one plan for future filled with so much uncertainty?
The best prepared AV strategy is to collect and share information between meeting planners, presenters, and technology vendors. Preemptive questionnaires for session presenters should always include questions about the type of device/laptop the presenter intends to use for the program, along with a checkbox of the type of video connection that the presentation computer will have in the room.
Meeting planners and technology providers can be proactive and move away from analog devices and systems that utilize the outdated VGA format to newer digital systems based on HDMI. Modern HDMI switchers can accept several different converters, universally known as “dongles,” making it easy and effective to quickly change connections for programs that have different laptops with a variety of digital connections.
Suggesting to presenters they come prepared to a meeting equipped with a dongle is a good first step. The reality is however, that you cannot assume that this step alone will make the program successful from start to finish. The best plan of action is to work with an event technology partner that is prepared for every presentation. They will be able to help build a meeting program that is stress free and operates smoothly. AV meeting experts can provide suggestions on how to organize meeting rooms that are able to accommodate all presenters while minimizing the overall expense of planning for unknown surprises. If you are able to overcome these event technology hurdles, your next event will be a success.
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