Collaborating on Your iPad

Flickr by leondel

Photo Credit: From Flickr by leondel

The iPad is changing the mobility landscape. More mobile workers and corporate executives are making the iPad and other tablets their device of choice for mobile computing.

I must admit I was a little sceptical of using the iPad to replace my laptop, but without the need to create documents using desktop apps like Word, PPT and Excel, I find the iPad is light to handle, instantly ‘on’ and intuitively elegant in its user design.

But the real powerhouse iPad apps that I found for mobile collaboration really blew me away, not only in terms of how I can connect but how easily I can participate in active collaboration meetings.

Bridgit and VidyoMobile Apps

Enterprise employees often need to work connectedly and securely, so not just any app will do. SMART Bridgit from SMART Technologies and VidyoMobile from Vidyo are powerhouses in richness and usability. In part 1 of this blog I will talk about the Bridgit app.

Using Bridgit on my iPad, I can connect into meetings and actively participate very effectively. Bridgit lets me see exactly what is going on in the meeting, from whiteboard content to the screen of a PC using PowerPoint or any other application. Not only can I see what is going on, but I can actively join the discussion and annotate on the whiteboard or PowerPoint.

Collaborative Meeting from a Coffee Shop?

To give you a better feel for the power of this app, l will describe a collaborative meeting scenario. The meeting was called to review a section of the company website and make changes. Here is the meeting set-up:

  • Meeting room with 8 people, 2 SMART boards (interactive whiteboards) at the front of the room, running off a PC
  • 3 co-workers connected via their PC’s from various locations (desktop, home office, laptop)
  • 1 road warrior (the dept manager) on his iPad, connected via Wi-Fi from a coffee shop
  • Using the SMART Bridgit software to connect the room with all remote workers, as well as an audio bridge connection

The 2 SMART boards are sharing their content with the remote workers. One of the SMART boards is showing the company website page that is being reworked. The other is a whiteboard screen with 8 pages of notes, so far in the meeting.

Each of the remote workers, PCs and iPads, can annotate on either the website image or on the whiteboard screen with a click or touch, without having to ask for control. That is how many-to-many web conferencing works – powerful!

Any of the PCs connected to the meeting can choose to share their screen (whatever content is on the PC) with a simple click, and it will be seen on one of the SMART boards as well as the other PCs and the iPad. The iPad and PC users have the choice of viewing any of the 2 SMART screens or the shared PC screen as the main content window on their device. They can annotate, highlight or take control of the screen.

Back to the meeting …

The manager would like to look at some marketing data that just became available on their ERP system. He doesn’t have access from his iPad, but he can take control of one of the remote PCs that has access to the ERP system and he can navigate to the required report and then display it on one of the SMART boards in the meeting room. Wow!

Then, the manager wants to go back to page 5 of the whiteboard notes to add some further details based on data in the report. He simply clicks the icon of the 5th page on his iPad and it brings up as the current shared screen on one of the SMART boards and easily adds his notes.

Then he takes another sip of his latte in the coffee shop …

Bridgit on the iPad is a free app, but the company must have access to Bridgit web conferencing to join all the different participants as described in the scenario.

Check back for Part II – using the iPad for video conferencing.


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