Dynamic Element add-ons for PowerPoint: an Interview with Kurt Dupont
Kurt Dupont is the CEO of PresentationPoint, the online store for PowerPoint presentations with real-time dynamic elements. The offered add-ons can integrate daily news or live weather data into presentation slides and much more. The information displayed is automatically updated via RSS feeds during the presentation mode.
We talked with Mr. Dupont about the benefits and applications of dynamic PowerPoint elements and here is what he had to say…
1. How did you come up with the idea of integrating dynamic ELEMENTS into PowerPoint?
Well, we sat together with our friends at PresentationLoad, who are building great and unique templates for PowerPoint users. Our company, PresentationPoint, is more technical with a focus on data. So, we came up with the idea of working together for new and simple solutions that many people can use for real-time information screens. We would build the technical part and put the logic in a PowerPoint Add-on, and PresentationLoad would add a great template to it, showing off the different possibilities of that new package.
Take Dynamic TIME. Here you can instruct PowerPoint to display the current time. A live clock in that, for example, gives a countdown to a given date, or acts as a timer for a 10-minute pause in a presentation is not possible in PowerPoint. Dynamic TIME offers all of this, combined with great visuals.
And after TIME, we created NEWS for live RSS news and WEATHER for dynamic weather reports on your slide. Everyone can use news and weather on an information screen at the company or waiting areas. And companies use television screens for announcements and the marketing of their products. And to get more attraction, they add live news and weather.
Video to Dynamic NEWS:
Video to Dynamic WEATHER:
2. Why use Dynamic ELEMENTS and DataPoint?
Basically, the Dynamic ELEMENTS products are isolated subsets of DataPoint. With DataPoint, you can link to various data sources already. Take weather for instance. The raw weather information is often communicated as an XML file. DataPoint can link to XML files in general, but DataPoint gives no meaning to a certain field.
Dynamic WEATHER is different. We know to what XML service or file we are connecting. The only variables in here are the location or city, and Celsius or Fahrenheit. After that, we know what column it is that displays the current temperature. We know the icon for the weather forecast for tomorrow and for the coming days.
And since we know to what we are connecting, we can use proper names and instructions, which are much more user-friendly and thus, it can be used by non-technical people. With Dynamic WEATHER, we are still connecting to XML files in the background, but nobody needs to care about XML. That is the big advantage of the Dynamic ELEMENTS Add-ons compared to DataPoint.
Of course, when you want to display sales or production figures of your own factory or database, then you have to use a more generic tool like DataPoint, which is ideal for linking to any data source.
3. Would you say that the Dynamic ELEMENTS are solely intended for presentations of larger organizations and public display boards, or can private users also benefit from it in their daily work?
We often see that all kinds of businesses, whether it is a large factory or just a local shop owner around the corner, they all move towards digital information. Handwritten messages on paper, with tape on the wall are so old-fashioned and unprofessional. People use screens, picture frames or iPads nowadays because they are cheap (even though paper is cheaper), but moreover, they are professional and bring out some kind of professionalism to the visitors and customers.
4. From where did www.PresentationLand.com originate?
PresentationLand.com is a real showcase of our DataPoint generation tool that automates the generation of presentations. With our Enterprise edition, you get a command line tool that you can use to create snapshot presentations. DataPoint presentations are statistical presentations with real-time data. So when you open it, the information of the slides gets updated automatically. That is DataPoint functionality. But, in some scenario’s, you need to generate snapshot presentations with historical data, or you need an updated presentation for your sales team, every morning. Or you need reporting on the various projects going on in your company, for the weekly management meeting.
At PresentationLand, we illustrate this feature by generating some 50 newspaper presentations of various countries and multiple weather presentations. We regenerate those presentations there, every hour on a server machine, completely automated, thousands of presentations each day. You can pick a country, choose a newspaper of that country, and download a PowerPoint presentation with the latest information of that newspaper as if you were reading the website or newspaper itself in PowerPoint format. And that is what we are saying: use PowerPoint for presenting information. Nobody wants to see summaries and final reports in Excel. PowerPoint is made for presenting.
5. Are there currently any new live Add-ons or similar software being planned?
The most recent launch of a new product was Dynamic WALL where you can display a large PowerPoint presentation with one computer or a videowall with multiple monitors. Imagine a videowall with menu and price information in a take-away or fast-food restaurant.
We have some ideas for other Add-ons for the future, but at this time, we are very busy in supporting our customers with the ideas that they bring up, and new features that they want to add to the existing products.