Beltug, the Belgian Association of Technology Leaders, is a membership organization that represents over 1600 professionals (including 1100+ ICT decision makers) working at the ICT departments of some 450 larger Belgian companies or public institutions. To inform its members about new market trends, Beltug regularly publishes members-only recommendations. In addition, Beltug organizes more than 40 seminars and conferences per year to cover a wide range of ICT topics. During these events, Beltug is using crowdbeamer to strengthen its premium member service.
Positive feedback from our members.
“In addition to a limited number of roundtable discussions and working groups, we mostly organize seminars and conferences during which speakers explain a topic or share best practices with our members,” says Ann Guinee, Beltug Project Manager. “Although these events have a highly interactive nature, they are primarily structured around a number of presentations during which speakers share their message with their audience through a set of slides.
A few months ago, we successfully tested crowdbeamer during a short series of smaller seminars. It didn’t take very long before it became clear that crowdbeamer is very easy to use. By simply connecting crowdbeamer to both the presentation laptop and the meeting room projector, we could instantly combine our more traditional way of working with the highly personalized information sharing that crowdbeamer stands for. Because we got so much positive feedback from our members during these tests, the decision to use crowdbeamer during all our seminars and conferences was an easy one. Over the past two months, we have been using crowdbeamer during eight Beltug events.”
Excellent visibility warranted under any circumstances.
“Thanks to its flexibility, we can use crowdbeamer for the wide range of events that we organize,” Ann Guinée continues. “During the smaller seminars (with up to 30 participants), we often use a U-shape setup such that everybody has a reasonably good view of the big projection screen. However, if we have more people registering than expected, we need to expand the U-shape setup with extra seating. Especially for the participants in the back, it can become hard to read what’s on the projection screen, let alone take pictures of the screen.
During larger conferences, with up to 100 or more participants, the conference room layout can become quite a challenge. Columns may obstruct the view of the projection screen for some participants. Setting up additional projection screens to provide everybody with a good view of the presentation may not be possible. What’s nice about crowdbeamer is that it warrants excellent visibility of all presentations under any circumstances and with any conference room layout, because people can watch the presentation directly on their smartphone, tablet or laptop.”
No more need for taking pictures.
According to Danielle Jacobs, the Beltug General Manager, “any seminar or conference organizer will instantly acknowledge the problem that crowdbeamer solves. During presentations, people in the audience often take pictures of the speaker’s slides to complete them with information later in the office or to share them with colleagues. That is not always possible, however. Especially if the projection screen is rather small or if people are seated at a larger distance, the quality of these pictures can be very disappointing. And what if they are overexposed, or if there is an annoying spot on one of them that covers part of an image or makes the most important words unreadable?
With crowdbeamer, that can no longer happen. Anybody in the audience can use the crowdbeamer app to take crystal clear screenshots of the presentation on their smartphone, tablet or laptop, in a higher resolution than what you see on the projection screen. Thanks to crowdbeamer, Beltug event participants can now get all information delivered straight to their personal device, and can complete that information with their notes on the spot.”
“Participants in our Beltug events easily get along with the crowdbeamer app,” Ann Guinée concludes. “Admittedly, our members are very IT-minded. We do not inform them upfront about the use of crowdbeamer however. Instead, we limit ourselves to a brief explanation using just one slide at the start of each event. The use of the app is entirely self-explaining.
What participants appreciate the most about crowdbeamer is the possibility to combine images and text: taking snapshots of the most important slides, completing them with comments, and saving all of that in the app and exporting it to other business apps such as Evernote or OneNote. Because the crowdbeamer app stores the information in a visual format, it’ so much easier to retrieve that information afterward. Whenever people ask themselves ‘Where did I ever write that down?’, the screenshots in the crowdbeamer app serve as a memory aid.”
Campfire sessions are gaining popularity at many events and conferences as a format that provides better learning opportunities. If you haven’t been in a campfire session yet, the name pretty much gives it away. Campfire sessions are smaller and more intimate than typical conference presentations and focus on fostering interaction and peer-to-peer learning. During the campfire sessions at the seventh edition of the Media & Learning Conference (Leuven, Belgium), crowdbeamer was used to help with that.
No more limits on visibility.
The seventh edition of Media & Learning has been entirely dedicated to Video in Higher Education, highlighting the latest pedagogical and technical developments in this field through an interactive agenda packed with inspiring talks, demos, campfire sessions, best practice showcases and hands-on workshops.
The conference’s campfire sessions provided a mix of presentation and discussion opportunities for audiences of up to 40 participants. While a central setup of 4 flat panel displays enabled everybody to watch presentations and video, the visibility was somewhat limited due to the distance between the participants and this campfire display unit. But thanks to the crowdbeamer app installed on their laptop, tablet or smartphone, all participants were able to watch presentations and video directly on their device and take notes alongside.
All the information you need, in one place.
Alessia Evi-Colombo, a Researcher at SFIVET (the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training) and a Ph.D. Student at the University of Geneva, joined several campfire sessions. “Using crowdbeamer during these campfire sessions has been a great experience,” Alessia confirms. “Many presentations had a lot of information to share. But given the distance to the campfire display unit, it was hard to read some of the presentation slides. With crowdbeamer, however, I could view them directly on my tablet and zoom in to get an even better view.
What I loved most about crowdbeamer is that I could take notes precisely at the place where I needed these notes to be. The app gave me the flexibility to screenshot any presentation slides I wanted to take with me and to add notes to those screenshots. Taking notes during presentations can be a big challenge, at least if you want to have your notes next to the presentation slides. With the crowdbeamer app, it’s different as you get everything in one place without any effort.
We all know that advanced technology can sometimes be a bit hard to use in the beginning, but that’s not the case with crowdbeamer. In fact, I found the crowdbeamer app to be self-explaining and intuitive to use. Even if I had no prior experience with crowdbeamer, the app let me create a set of handouts in a very smooth way. I can now take these handouts back home with me, ready to use them at work.”
What I loved most about crowdbeamer is that I could take notes precisely at the place where I needed them to be: alongside the screenshots of the presentation slides.
Write less and think more.
Rebekka Schmidt, an Art Didactics professor at the University of Paderborn, was impressed with crowdbeamer during the campfire sessions because “crowdbeamer makes it easy to listen to the presenter and interact with peers actively. Since you can decide for yourself when to capture presentation slides or video fragments, you don’t have to worry about missing important information. You can also add notes at the same time, without having to write down everything that is already being presented.
Honestly, I’ve come to realize during these campfire sessions that it would be perfect for my students to use crowdbeamer during my Art Didactics classes. Just like all of us write down far too much information whenever we join a presentation, students spend too much time scribbling details during classes. I’d rather have them write less and think more about what I’m teaching. That’s precisely what crowdbeamer makes possible.
Because mobile devices are a fast-growing part of our future, there is a strong need to integrate them tightly into how we work and teach. As a tool that enriches presentations and classes, crowdbeamer is an excellent example of how mobile devices can bring substantial benefits to our professional lives.”
I can certainly see the value of crowdbeamer at the type of conferences we organize as it really makes it easy for everyone, and not just speakers, to share interesting resources and materials without any fuss.
Luc MeulewaeterCampfire sessions & crowdbeamer: a perfect fit to foster peer-to-peer learning.
Every year, hundreds of medical professionals take part in the conference of the Belgian Society for Aesthetic Medicine and Lasers (SBME-BVEG). This conference not only features traditional presentations but includes various medical demonstrations as well. The use of high-quality video recordings is essential to let a large audience join those live demonstrations. When looking for better solutions to share the live video recordings in real time with all conference participants, crowdbeamer was identified as the way to go.
Sharing medical demonstration videos with a large audience.
During the annual SBME-BVEG conference, Soapworks produces video recordings of the medical demonstrations and broadcasts them live via the conference room’s central projection display. “And although that works quite well,” says Jo Van der Beken, AV Consultant at Soapworks, “every year again, we see so many people using their smartphone or tablet to take pictures or make video recordings of what we broadcast on the big screen. That can hardly be comfortable for anyone, and it’s bound to produce low-quality images as well. We’ve always thought there should be a better way to share these recordings with the conference audience. Thanks to crowdbeamer, there is.”
Viewing demonstration videos directly on a tablet or smartphone.
According to conference organizer SBME-BVEG, crowdbeamer’s main benefit is that everyone can watch high-quality images directly on their own tablet or smartphone. It doesn’t matter whether these images relate to the video recording of a medical demonstration or a traditional type of presentation. Crowdbeamer streams all images via its built-in WiFi straight to the mobile devices of all conference participants.
Using the crowdbeamer app, the conference participants can not only view those images from close by. They can also take snapshots, add notes and then save all that on their own device. With crowdbeamer, all of them get to see the images in the same quality – regardless of their distance to the conference room’s central projection display. And thanks to the zoom function in the app, they can even clearly view the smallest details.
Suitable for an audience of any size.
During the SBME-BVEG conference, crowdbeamer was used during five parallel sessions. In each of the smaller conference rooms, one crowdbeamer device was sufficient to stream presentation and demonstration images to everybody present. In the largest room, where more than 250 participants were welcomed, a network of crowdbeamers was used to share presentations and video recordings with all participants.
First and foremost, crowdbeamer is a tool that enables us to deliver a better service to all of our conference participants. Attending medical demonstrations has become a lot more comfortable, and participants can build a personal documentation set on their tablet or smartphone.
An app that is super easy to use.
“Since this was the first time we used crowdbeamer during an SBME-BVEG conference, we worked closely with our AV partner Soapworks to provide all participants with practical information on the crowdbeamer app,” says Dr. Jean Hébrant, SBME-BVEG President. “For example, the conference brochure included a brief explanation of the possibilities offered by this free app, and how to install it. We also took steps to provide support for the app during our conference, but we quickly noticed that all conference participants found the app very intuitive to use.”
Securing sensitive information at the push of a button
During a medical conference such as the one organized by SBME-BVEG, it often happens that sensitive or confidential information is shared with the participants. Using crowdbeamer, the presenter can easily secure data at a push of a button. In doing so, images are no longer digitally shared with the conference participants (although they can still be displayed on the conference room’s central projection display).
A better service, thanks to crowdbeamer.
“First and foremost, crowdbeamer is a tool that enables us to deliver a better service to all of our conference participants,” says Dr. Hébrant. “More comfort during the conference is an essential part of that, as there is no longer any need to take pictures or make video recordings of the central projection display. Moreover, everybody receives the same high-quality images.
Thanks to the crowdbeamer app, all participants can build their ready-to-use documentation set on their own tablet or smartphone and take it home with them at the end of the conference.”
Luc MeulewaeterTaking pictures during a conference? The Belgian Society for Aesthetic Medicine and Lasers just got rid of that.