Daily Archives: April 1, 2005

Huge PowerPoint Info from Professor PowerPoint!

Now it can be told and revealed. Check my story on InformIT for the full details of Microsoft PowerPoint Secedes from MS Office. Suffice it to say that this is huge, HUGE, HUGE — only my sources in the PowerPoint community let me reveal the sordid underbelly of what has been festering in Redmond. Here’s a hint — check the package of the next version of Office and guess what WON’T be there. Read it all now! (It’s all there with the full final slide show from the PowerPoint team).

What Can Presenters Learn from the Entertainment Industry?

Talk about fish out of water – I am a regular attendee at a show in L.A. called Digital Hollywood. Most of those present, including press, are looking for answers or solutions to digital delivery at the very high end of the broadcast/film and music spectrum.

There are panels on HD formats, new DVD formats, music distributions strategies, online games, and so on. So what’s a guy who teaches Microsoft Office and PowerPoint presentations to glean from all this?

One thing that struck me is the overused word “convergence”. A colleague Bob Befus of Presentations Strategies in Durham, North Carolina (a firm that specializes as a one stop shop for high end corporate events and provides solutions from AV to internet broadcast and conferencing) has spoken of the convergence between AV (audio-visual expertise) and IT (the realm of information technology professionals).

Well at Digital Hollywood, where technology used to be a dirty word along with the word “digital” in the entertainment industry, IT professionals are now among the attendees. I spent some time talking with Vice President at Universal Music group who is an ex-musician who became a computer programmer and now runs IT for the music division of the studio.

He was telling me a bit about how he and his colleagues had finally succeeded in having the entire music industry (including Apple’s iTunes) adopt a new standard for meta-language to tag and identify musical tracks.

To an Office user this is sort of like having the entire computer and PDA industry adopt one standard database format for contacts and calendars so that any snippet of contact or appointment information can be understood by any device or program, including Outlook. Kind of a far fetched dream for technologists (until the advent of XML), but in the entertainment industry, where things have to work out of the box the compelling aspect of consumer demand made this standard happen. (It only took three years to adopt).

Perhaps more interesting from a presentation standpoint was the presence of a broadcasting company with a product that really may belong at InfoComm.
Continental Vista Broadcasting offers a suite of products that enable anyone to broadcast interactive video on the web with additional features like chat, polling, advertising – using features they call “Talk2Event, Talk2Advertiser, chat rooms, forums, polls, surveys, real-time tickers, live statistics, an emotion meter, an interactive advertising window, contests, auctions, online donation acceptance, and e-commerce.”

In some ways this reminded me of the MediaSite product from Sonic Foundry, except that it provides a similar set of services from the perspective of a broadcaster rather than a technology company. But the results are the same – viewers can actively participate in a broadcast.

Why can’t this broadcast just as easily be a corporate presentation rather than what is commonly considered entertainment? In fact one of Continental Vista’s niches is what they call academic and corporate education. The demo is a fully branded interactive broadcasting portal for a client (LexiPoint) which offers premium on-demand seminars.

Now there is no reason why such a set of content offerings could not just as easily supplement or convey real time meetings for a pharmaceutical company or provide training seminars for an automobile manufacturer.

Not surprisingly Continental Vista’s product is a proprietary media player that incorporates technology that uses standard Flash MX-based files along with any other standard video format as input.

Got PowerPoint – use one of the many PowerPoint to Flash converters or output key slides as bitmap images.

I know what you’re thinking – how much does this cost? Like anything marketed in the entertainment industry “it depends”. But among Continental Vista’s clients are some academic and religious institutions that suggest that pricing models can be compatible for high end presentation projects.

How does this translate into marketing for presentation professionals? Here’s a suggestion – instead of saying to a client that you will provide them with AV and presentation services for their event, you tell them that instead you will provide the with a network for online and on demand broadcast of their content, which will include full interactivity, polling and chat.

The results are essentially the same, with the same features currently contemplated by any event planning unit. But for the recipient or viewer they don’t think of it as technology (and complex) but they see it as TV broadcast online. And for the client I would suggest the prestige of being a “broadcaster” greatly trumps the cachet of being a presenter.

Instead of being Professor PowerPoint you are now Ted Turner. (A legend in your own mind, which is a good way to position a client).

Calling All Pres Pros – A Roll Call

Hey to All the Pres Pros in the Presentation Worldscape and the ICIA Presentations Council

I just got off the phone with my fellow blogger and Blogmeister Lee Potts.
We were strategizing about how to attract the Pres Pro community to this blog.
We sorta were spinning our tires…and tefloning with zero resistance on black ice at -40 C (can you tell I’m unusually influenced by climatic conditions North of the 49th p.)

Our first set of questions revolved around the obvious – Is there really a Pres Pro community to attract? and Are they really the kind of "animal" that wants to blog about their work,lives and industry ? Both Lee and I have observed some interesting social characteristics of the Pres Pros we’ve met through the ICIA Pres Council.First and foremost they usually are "lone wolves" who usually toil alone in corporate and business environments,yet enjoy "running with the pack" and talking passionately about the tools of the trade.Sounds like a great set of circumstances to herd these "unique cats" and funnel them to a sounding board and pack of like-minded folks.

We also pondered if blogging was a new behavior they could adopt,truly enjoy and display the same intense passion as the infrequent gathering of the "pack" at trade shows.There are already many great PowerPoint,Presentation site and product related blogs out there….Geetesh Bajaj of Indezine (a Council member BTW),Robin Good of Masterviews,Tony Ramos,Cliff Atkinson of Beyond Bullets,Sooper Pointless,Doug Klippert of Unofficial Microsoft Stuff.More than enough variety,choice and material to sink their teeth into.

Maybe that was the problem,all the presentation material and info they needed was already sitting there on a silver platter ready to grab and run.

So what’s missing in their lives that can connect them to this blog and will "engage" them to make the jump to ongoing communication and idea exchanges?

Were their lives so perfect that they just didn’t anything to get them through the pressures and stresses of deadlines,technology snafus and idea blocks?

Do they truly possess a pack instinct?

By this point Lee and I were struggling in our attempt to define the ultimate benefit and "glue" for this blog.
We had already invited several folks we knew had LOTS to say about ANYTHING related to Presentations.They all thought it was a GREAT idea but were slow to jump in…."too busy,what’s a blog,and what’s a blog got to do with me and Presentations anyways…was what we consistently heard".

So…we decided to reach out again and ask all these and other yet undisclosed folks to stick their big toe in the "blog pool" and tell us what they think,need and want.

Sound off !!!!
Blog us.Comment.Post.Be a contributor.Share your thoughts.

Make this post the Roll Call to action and the LONGEST COMMENT THREAD you’ve ever seen.
I want to see tons of feedback here or we’ll "unleash the hounds" and add to your "stress and jitters" in unforeseen ways (…oooooohhh…that even scares me).

Ray ( digital tyrant )