The eBeam System 3 wireless whiteboard capture device is expensive as virtual whiteboard systems go. It also uses Bluetooth technology, so if you're not already equipped with that, you'll need to purchase a
The eBeam System 3 follows the basic form and function of a whiteboard capture device. It comes with a transceiver that sticks to your whiteboard with either suction cups or magnets, and it has a set of dry-erase markers that slide into battery-operated holders, plus an eraser, a plastic pen insert that serves as a mouse when you use the eBeam with a projector, a USB cable for nonwireless use, and a set of batteries. The setup process is simple: you just attach the receiver, insert the markers, load the software, calibrate it so that the eBeam System 3 knows how big your whiteboard or flip chart is, and you're ready to start writing.
eBeam System 3's software has a standard set of features, including the ability to create new pages, save versions of pages as you go, show you a view of your presentation in thumbnail or slide-show format, and change the thickness and color of pen lines as they show up on your computer or handheld. You can save whiteboard files in a number of formats, such as PowerPoint and HTML. The eraser unit also communicates with the eBeam System 3 receiver so that as you erase on your actual whiteboard, the same lines disappear on the software whiteboard. eBeam includes a quick-launch sticker that attaches to your whiteboard, allowing you to perform tasks such as printing pages and starting new ones, which saves you from having to access the software via your computer or PDA.
One of the major advantages of the eBeam System 3 BT is that it lets you share your data with remote users either within your company intranet or via the Web. Unlike the Mimio Xi, which requires that you use third-party software to do this, eBeam's software has this functionality built in, and Luidia (eBeam's parent company) hosts a Web server that any eBeam System 3 customer can use for free. The creator sets up a meeting and can invite up to 25 Web users or 10 in-network users. Remote users have the choice of downloading the free eBeam software to their own computers or just logging in via a Web site that lets them view the presentation through a Java applet. The eBeam client software has an embedded Web browser, so you can integrate Web information into your presentation and share this with remote users. Within the eBeam client software, there's also a Meeting Manager view that lets you send e-mail invitations; it then lists all of the participants and allows them to chat among themselves. Heavy users can also buy the eBeam server software and install it on their own network. The server software allows up to 500 users and 50 simultaneous meetings.
When used with a data projector, the eBeam System 3 has mousing capabilities, which means that you can project your desktop onto a whiteboard and use the eBeam System 3 mouse insert to click around any applications or desktop functions.
Our testing procedure for these devices was based on real-world use and subjective evaluation. With the eBeam System 3 capture device, we had no problems writing or erasing notes on our whiteboard. Unlike with other devices that created extraneous pen strokes, the eBeam System 3 recorded only what we had actually scribbled on our test whiteboard.
The eBeam System 3 Wireless BT comes with a two-year warranty. Toll-free tech support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.