Wainhouse evaluates the CSE-800

The ClickShare CSE-800 is a 4K-ready, dual-display capable wireless presentation solution (WPS) with a handful of advanced collaboration features. The CSE-800 package is available from a network of Barco partners and includes the following CSE-800 base unit with dual Wi-Fi antennas – Four (4) USB presentation “buttons” and a button holder

Wainhouse Research is an independent market research firm that focuses on critical issues in the unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) market. The company conducts multi-client as well as custom research studies for industry vendors and consults with end users on key implementation issues. The firm also publishes a news blog, white papers and market statistics, and delivers public and private seminars as well as presentations at industry meetings.

The ClickShare CSE-800 is a 4K-ready, dual-display capable wireless presentation solution (WPS) with a handful of advanced collaboration features. The CSE-800 package is available from a network of Barco partners and includes the following CSE-800 base unit with dual Wi-Fi antennas – Four (4) USB presentation “buttons” and a button holder – Accessories (cables, rack-ears and mounting kit for the base unit, antenna extender cables, etc.) The center of the solution, the base unit, includes the following: – Two (2) 4K HDMI outputs – Two (2) 4K HDMI inputs – Two (2) Ethernet ports (for connecting two different networks) – Analog (3.5 mm jack) and digital (fiber, SPIDF) audio outputs – Built-in 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi radios – USB ports (for touch control and programming USB buttons) The CSE-800 supports up to 64 concurrent connected sources (mixture of wired and wireless), eight (8) of which can be displayed simultaneously across two connected displays (4 per screen).

Hands on testing...

System Installation: The CSE-800 base unit can be placed on a table or inside a credenza, installed in an equipment rack using the included rack ears, or installed on a wall or ceiling using the included mounting kit. A basic (stand-alone) installation requires only power, a single HDMI connection between the base unit and the display, and the installation of the Wi-Fi antennas on the base unit. For our testing, we connected two displays (one touch-capable), and an Ethernet connection to the base unit. Once power is applied, the system boots up and displays the CSE-800 welcome page (see screenshot below) which provides clear instructions on how to present with the system. All in all, it took our test team less than 5 minutes to install the CSE-800. Additional Note re Pairing ClickShare Buttons with Base Unit The ClickShare Buttons in the package come already “paired” and ready to use with the base unit. However, if additional buttons are purchased, those buttons will need to be paired before first use. ClickShare Button pairing is a quick and easy process that involves connecting one button at a time to a USB port on the base unit and waiting for the on-screen message saying the pairing is now complete. The pairing process also automatically updates the Button’s software.

Presenting in Stand-Alone Mode: By default, the ClickShare 800 operates in what WR refers to as “stand-alone” mode in which all shared content is transmitted over a dedicated Wi-Fi network. The ClickShare Button Concept As shown, ClickShare uses the included “buttons” (USB dongles) to create dedicated Wi-Fi network connections between the client devices and the base unit. In addition, the button also includes the required PC (Windows, Mac) software to capture and send the content to be shared. This approach, which is leveraged across the entire Barco ClickShare portfolio of products, offers numerous benefits including – allowing employees to maintain their connection to the corporate network – enables guest users to present without needing to connect to the corporate network – avoiding the need to find, download, and install wireless presentation client software Unfortunately, this approach does not work for mobile devices without a USB port (see Presenting from Mobile Devices section below). For this first round of testing, we connected the following devices to the CSE-800: – MacBook Air running Mac OS 10.12.5 and connected over Wi-Fi using a ClickShare Button – Surface Pro 4 running Windows 10 Pro and connected over Wi-Fi using a ClickShare Button – iPhone running iOS 10..3.2 and connected directly to the ClickShare Wi-Fi network – Galaxy S6 Active running Android 7.0 and connected directly to the ClickShare Wi-Fi network – Two (2) Intel NUC PCs running Windows 10 Pro and connected over HDMI (wired) Presenting from Mac and Windows PCs To present from the Mac and Windows PCs, we simply inserted the ClickShare Buttons into USB ports on our content source devices, waited for the systems to detect the integrated storage device within the button. At this point, the LED ring on the button was blinking white. We then executed the ClickShare application,1 and a few seconds later the LED ring on the button stopped blinking and stayed white indicating that we were ready to share content. We then pressed the centre disc on the ClickShare buttons, at which point the LED ring on the button turned red (indicating that we were sending content), and our content was immediately displayed on the screen. The ClickShare “button” workflow is quick, easy, and intuitive. In addition, we like the fact that users are given status information (reminder to launch the app, blinking white LED on the button etc.) throughout the connection process. But most of all, we appreciated the system’s ability to present high-resolution content (2736 x 1824 on our Surface Pro 4 for example) at a full 30 fps. The CSE-800 also supports wired presentation content. To test this capability, we connected an HDMI cable between a Windows notebook and the HDMI input on the back of the CSE-800 base unit. Once connected, the CSE-800 automatically detected the wired content input and displayed our PC screen on the shared display. We then repeated this process using other Windows and Mac PCs/notebooks. In all cases, the CSE-800 successfully detected our wired content connection and displayed the content with the same quality provided with the ClickShare Buttons. Presenting from Mobile Devices To share content from our mobile devices, we completed the following steps: 1) On our mobile devices, installed beta versions of the ClickShare app for Android and iOS designed to work with the beta software running on our ClickShare base unit. 2) Connected the devices to the CSE-800’s dedicated Wi-Fi network 2 3) Launched the ClickShare app on the mobile devices 4) Selected the CSE-800 from a list of available ClickShare devices presented within the app Note – in stand-alone mode, the need to connect to the ClickShare’s dedicated Wi-Fi network means only one ClickShare device will be listed. In network integration/enterprise mode described later, the list would likely include multiple ClickShare devices. 5) Chose the type of content to be presented from the ClickShare app menu and clicked the “Share” button. 1 ClickShare-friendly organizations are likely to include the ClickShare app within the standard software build for some or all of their users, which would eliminate the need to manually launch the ClickShare app. 2 While operating in stand-alone mode, sharing content from a mobile device requires connecting the device to the ClickShare’s dedicated Wi-Fi network. This, however, is not as easy as it seems because the ClickShare’s Wi-Fi network requires a password that is not readily available to the user. This password is available within the web UI of the base unit only. As shown, the ClickShare mobile apps support the following: – Screen Mirroring (sharing the device’s screen) – available on Android only (not iOS) – Document (sharing PDF and Word documents, etc.) – Photo (sharing stored photos / images) – Camera (sharing a live view of the device’s camera) – Browser (opening and sharing a browser window) – Sharing content from Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive 3 The ClickShare app also allows the user to annotate over any shared content (other than screen mirroring images and live camera images). The beta Android and iOS ClickShare apps worked well during our testing. We did, however, notice that content shared from our mobile devices was displayed with high resolution but a low frame rate. The CSE-800 also allows mobile users to share content using AirPlay (available on all Apple devices) and Google Cast (available on Windows and Android devices). We tested these methods with good results.

Automatic Layout Control: The CSE-800 supports the display of up to four sources of any type on each of two displays. To minimize the burden on the user, the system automatically positions the various sources on the screen. A user can also force a full-screen view of his content by using a long-press on the ClickShare Button. Note that this action does not hide the other shared content items … it stops the other content shares. To resume, people will need to re-share their content again. 3 While connected to the ClickShare’s dedicated Wi-Fi network, the mobile devices may not depending on the network capabilities of the device, have access to cloud-hosted content and services (e.g. websites, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive). During our testing, our mobile devices connected to both the ClickShare Wi-Fi and the Internet (over 4G).

Moderator Functionality: The automatic layout control automatically ensures that everyone’s shared content is visible on the screen. For more granular control, the ClickShare PC app offers moderator functionality. To avoid confusion, only one person can act as a session moderator at a time. Once a person activates moderator mode, users (including the moderator) can no longer start/stop the sharing of their content on their own. Instead, all available content sources (user PCs, mobile devices, etc.) are shown as thumbnails within the ClickShare app on the moderator’s PC The moderator can then select which sources to display and control the on-screen layout. Moderator mode provides granular control of the on-screen experience, offering a degree of production-like quality to the session. This is especially valuable while using dual-displays. Although we suspect that most users will use automatic screen layouts, moderator mode worked beautifully during our testing.

Blackboard and Annotation Capabilities: The CSE-800 includes a few features normally found on advanced collaboration / ideation solutions; local (display-based) blackboarding and annotation. To use these features, the CSE-800 must be connected to a touch-capable display. Fortunately, Barco currently supports more than 35 touch displays and controllers with the CSE-800. In fact, one of the touch displays in our lab environment is on Barco’s approved list.4 Accessing the blackboard or annotation capabilities requires only a two-finger touch anywhere on the touch display.5 – If no wireless content is being displayed on the system at the time, the CSE-800 provides an icon to activate blackboard mode. – If one or more content sources are being displayed on the system at the time, the CSE-800 gives the user the choice of activating blackboard or annotation mode. 4 As a point of reference, WR is aware of some solutions that officially support only two or three touch displays. In this regard, supporting 35+ touch displays from the date of the products first release is clearly a strength. 5 For some reason, the CSE-800 welcome screen does not include any information about activating the blackboard or annotation functions. Hopefully this will be addressed before this beta code goes live. Blackboard Mode In line with Barco’s theme of keeping things simple and easy to use, the CSE-800 blackboard offers only a handful of features including: – Three pen sizes / widths – Five pen colors (white, black, red, blue, and dark yellow) – An eraser and a clear button – Enable / disable grid background – Save on-screen image We tested the blackboarding function on three different touch displays, including one on Barco’s official list of approved touch displays, and in all cases blackboarding worked as expected. On the Barco approved display, the touch latency was ~ 100 ms – which is on-par with most of the other touch solutions we’ve tested. One minor nit – the ability to choose a black marker color on a blackboard doesn’t really make sense. While the blackboarding features are somewhat typical, the Save function offers some interesting functionality. When the Save button is pressed, the system automatically saves a snapshot image of the blackboard onto all connected PCs using a ClickShare Button. Remember that although the CSE-800 ships with 4 buttons, the unit can support up to 64 connections from a combination of ClickShare Buttons and mobile users. The Save button can also be used to save a snapshot image (in PDF format) of the blackboard onto a USB thumb drive. Note that for better printing, the saved image actually has a white instead of black background. Annotation Mode The annotation mode on the CSE-800 is exactly the same as the blackboarding function described above, but using a screenshot of the shared content as the background. This mode is accessible only when at least one content item is being shared. And note that if more than one content item is currently being displayed, the background will include all of those content items. As a result, if a user wants to annotate over a specific content item, it may be necessary to un-share one or more currently shared items. We tested annotation mode and it worked quite well.

Web Configuration Options / Additional Features: Via its web user interface, the CSE-800 offers access to some additional features and configuration options. To simplify the configuration process, Barco offers a configuration wizard that steps users / admins through the process of … – Defining the system name – Setting the system date / time – Set system password – Configure network connectivity (SSID, channel, etc.) – Selecting the desired security level (see table below for the security levels and various features)6 In addition, the web UI also provides access to many other settings ranging from input and output resolutions, audio settings, additional security settings, automatic firmware upgrades, ability to upload a new system welcome page (dubbed “wallpaper” on the system), and more. The web UI also allows the user / admin to change the network operating mode of the system. By default, the system uses what WR refers to as “Stand-Alone” network mode in which the base unit acts as a wireless access point (WAP). The CSE-800 also supports a mode Barco calls, “Network Integration.” In this mode … – The internal Wi-Fi of the CSE-800 base unit is disabled, and the base unit uses a wired connection to connect to the corporate LAN – The ClickShare Buttons are configured to connect to the corporate LAN over Wi-Fi (the web-UI offers access to various connectivity options including EAP-TLS, PEAP, WPA-2-PSK, and more). – Users wishing to share content using the Barco ClickShare app, AirPlay, or Google Cast must be connected to the corporate LAN – usually over Wi-Fi 6 For our testing, we used the lowest security level. As a result, we were able to present content without having to enter passcode. We expect that most organizations will require passcodes. In many ways, the network integration operating mode is similar to the standard mode used by competing wireless presentation systems. However, thanks to the ClickShare Button concept, guest users can share content without needing to connect to the corporate network. As a part of this assessment, we tested network integration mode, and it worked perfectly. To be clear – the CSE-800 can be used without ever accessing any of the settings and modes within the web UI. However, these capabilities allow enterprises to customize and ruggedize the experience.

Analysis and Opinions

The CSE-800 is the flagship wireless presentation product from market leader Barco. As a part of this assessment, we took the CSE-800 through its paces, and in almost all areas the CSE-800 met or exceeded our expectations. – Content sharing from PCs using the ClickShare Buttons and the wired (HDMI) content input worked extremely well, offering very high quality, full-motion images. – Content sharing from mobile devices using the beta ClickShare app also worked well. – Content sharing using AirPlay (Mac PCs and iOS devices) and Google Cast (PCs and Android devices) worked like a charm. The CSE-800 offers both automatic layout control and manual control (via moderator mode). This is especially valuable in dual-screen environments where a total of eight (8) shared full HD content items can be displayed simultaneously. We tested both layout control methods extensively with great results. We also spent some time using the newly added (currently in beta) digital blackboard and annotation capabilities; both of which worked as expected. And finally, we successfully tested network integration mode by connecting the ClickShare Base Unit and Buttons to our corporate LAN. Overall, the Barco ClickShare CSE-800 offers a compelling combination of flexibility, usability, and performance. For those seeking an exceptional, enterprise-ready, wireless presentation experience, the CSE-800 will not disappoint.

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