Corporate PowerPoint files now play on iPad

Brainshark this week at Macworld|iWorld goes live with an enterprise version of its PowerPoint "translator" for the iPad.

Brainshark's online technology dissects the elements of an uploaded PowerPoint file, and converts them into an MP4 video format that, played via an iPad app, faithfully mimics the full range of PowerPoint features. According to executives for Brainshark, the presentation on the iPad, via the SlideShark client app, looks and feels exactly like a native PowerPoint. At the same time, the presentation is fully optimized to work with the iPad's touch interface.

There's no PowerPoint app for iOS and today iPad users have to convert those files into a PDF format or into Apple's rival program, Keynote. The single-user iPad version of SlideShark was introduced last October.

The new SlideShark Team Edition, for the iPad, is being released Jan. 28 on the product Website This version adds a range of features intended for enterprise users, who now access the converted PowerPoint files in a common account. Designated administrators can set up new users, assign permissions, and make sure users have the latest presentation version.

As with the single-user version, PowerPoint files are first uploaded to Brainshark's online servers, which handle the conversion. With Team Edition, the uploads can be done by an administrator, who then can grant access to individual employees or groups.

Individual employees can be authorized to upload PowerPoint files, which can then be made available to others.

Administrative rights can be granted to more than one user. Administrators work with a dashboard-like user interface to administer the files and users, and to monitor a range of analytics on what files are being viewed, how often, and other user activities.

The enterprise Slideshark version comes with a pool of 5GB of online storage. Individual PowerPoint files typically are 4-5MB, according to Brainshark, so something like 1,000 files can be stored with this allocation. Additional storage is available.

Enterprise customers can sign up for a 60-day free trial for SlideShark Team Edition. The software and service is priced at $149 yearly per user. The initial release can support hundreds of employees. Brainshark plans to add features later this year to support thousands, and to extend support for other tablet operating systems.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.


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