Wireless protocol for transmission of powerpoint & other slides

At every conference I go to, with a few rare exceptions, we always see people wasting time fiddling with computers and projectors in order to show their presentation, which is (sadly) almost always in powerpoint. Many laptops won't switch displays until they see a monitor on the VGA port, which makes things take longer.

So how about a wireless protocol for sending presentations from laptops to projectors or a computer connected to the projector. Over 802.11 or bluetooth, presumably.

Of course, if the presentation is powerpoint or other popular slideshow format, all this needs is a way to transmit the file, and then the control keystrokes. There are already protocols to do this for teleconferneces, where people in another city are watching the slides on their own computer, but I have not yet seen this used at a conference. There could also be a video protocol where the laptop screen is mirrored to the projector through an efficient screen transfer system. These already exist and are free (VNC, for example) but they could be improved by pre-sending the next slide, if it's static, for instant transition. Fancy animations (which are a curse anywhere) and videos would be a bit slower but should be fine over a good network.

An authentication protocol would be needed, the speakers would get a passcode for access.

Of course, this can also be sped up if speakers are told to set up their laptop in advance, while the prior speaker is speaking, with a good video switch that simulates a monitor so the laptop can be put into external mode. With a wireless protocol, some advance setup would be needed but it need not be on the stage.


Trying to predict whether any given conference room has a permanent projector, or a portable model, and what capabilities that projector might have, would become a mug's game. Even requiring an advance copy of the presentation in, say, PDF to load onto the room's system has proven problematic at conferences I've attended.

And as alternatives, such as OpenOffice.org become more popular, and the underlying format for PowerPoint continues to change, it becomes clear that the source file isn't likely the best part of the problem to focus on.

A decent video switch (e.g. google "NTI Veemux") should be better able to solve the problem (without the need to "simulate" a monitor), with at least two video inputs and two independent outputs (some include an audio switch) by allowing a presenter to "prep" their system on a live monitor while the previous presenter is still giving their presentation, and switch over to the room display(s) (without recabling and without delay) when they're up.

Maybe an a/v switch with at least three inputs and two outputs should be standard conference equipment: one "live" output, and one "prep"; one input for the conference organizers, to show agendas and conference info as needed; a second input for presenter prep; and one input for the current presenter.

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