After visiting the University of Surrey’s SPLASH space, I was put in contact with a company called Reflex, who is their preferred integrator. Andi Allan, Technical Sales Manager, very kindly answered the following questions:
Q.1. Are there incompatibility issues with the hardware and various operating systems?
No real incompatibilities, but multi-touch (like an iPhone or iPad) is only available with Windows 7. Otherwise the Sympodium and Smart boards are compatible with a decent range of operating systems and any hardware that can run them.
Q.2. Do you have any advice to offer regarding mobility of devices e.g. to share in a large informal group (i.e. sharing the computer by physically moving it around rather than watching or participating in a presentation)?
In general mobile audio visual equipment is always more prone to failure than fixed installations. This can be mitigated by using solid state drives, shock-mounting the hardware and so on.
Q.3. Are there any issues with different versions of Microsoft PowerPoint or Keynote?
The Smart software works ‘on top of’ any other software running, so should be fine with any version of Office or any other PC application. Effectively the Smart system acts as a replacement mouse.
[Andi has asked Smart and will get back to me about restrictions to do with specific software versions.]
Q.4. The University of Surrey directed me to a website with training videos, do you find that staff use the videos or prefer support face-to-face?
I think a mix is most effective. An initial in-person training session (which we can provide via a partner) is good for showing people how to use the technology and to inspire them to use it creatively and make the most of it. Online videos can then be very helpful for reminders, quick reference and so on.