If you want to see what the future of presentations will look like, start with Prezi Next.
Prezi Next is a new set of software tools designed by Prezi that allows audiences to become one with a presentation through augmented reality (AR). According to Prezi founder, Peter Arvai, “This technology stack is something we’ve developed that works across mobile phones, browsers, installed on your computer—and it allows us to do things like AR.”
So what, exactly, does an AR presentation look like? Given how new the technology is, a lot of the power of AR with respect to presentations remains to be seen, but what we know so far is pretty damn cool.
In a traditional presentation, the presenter is standing in front of a room with a screen behind them featuring visual aids. And while these presentations can be beautiful, they also have their limitations. For instance, if you’re presenting a pitch to a team of investors in a web conference or you’re giving a presentation in a Zoom Room, you can either show yourself or your visuals; not both. And given the importance of body language and visual aids to audience attention and retention, this is no small loss.
With augmented reality, though, you can create visuals that dance right next to you on screen. In Prezi’s software, it’s a lot like designing any other presentation—you choose or draw your graphics and develop your design—but the difference is that instead of showing the design on a monitor or projector screen, it shows up in mid-air next to you as you’re talking. Think of it as a green screen, but cooler.
Prezi’s approach to AR is built on research that indicates audiences tend to get distracted by overly flashy visuals and excessive animations. So, rather than use AR to transport audiences and speakers to faraway lands, Prezi keeps the speaker at center stage while simple yet compelling visuals enhance their message. In other words, it’s not about wowing the audience with over-the-top AR visuals; it’s about making it easier for a presenter to convey their ideas.
Arvai thinks of Prezi’s role in the future of AR as a modest one but an important one: “We won’t put a woman on Mars, we won’t cure cancer, and we won’t make peace in Syria, but when we do our jobs correctly, we contribute to all of this.”
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