Snaking across the floor in meeting rooms and conferences cables lie in wait, ready to unleash themselves on unsuspecting victims.

And while most meeting rooms have concealed ports under floor panels or in tables, sometimes you can't avoid running cables across the floor to support different room configurations. They need to be concealed with cable covers or tape, which can also be a tripping hazard. And it’s not just about trip hazards - setting up conferences and meeting rooms can be a chore just because of the amount of cabling required.

  Computer cables

CABLE TROUBLE? A wireless presentation system may the answer, says Alan Taylor. PICTURE: Griszka Niewiadomski/www.freeimages.com.

Thankfully, help is at hand. Wireless presentation systems have been developed which are perfect for churches, conferences and other events where cable clutter can be a problem or when multiple people are presenting with their own devices and fumbling with cables and adapters can stop the flow of the meeting. 

Barco ClickShare
This device allows you to share your laptop screen wirelessly and clears your floor of clutter.

It does this by the use of a button that plugs into your laptop's USB port and wirelessly connects to a base unit. 

There are several packages available, with the base package being enough for small to medium meeting rooms.

Contents of this package include a base unit (which is a wireless access point) and a USB button.

Plug the base unit into the HDMI port on your TV or projector and power and it starts broadcasting a wireless signal. Plug the USB button into your laptop and it adds another drive to your system. Run the ClickShare file for Mac or Windows from that new drive, and you'll see a message that it's connecting to the base unit. Once it says it's connected, press its large button and your screen is shared. Press the button again to stop sharing. 

You can also pre-install the software so it's ready to go as soon as the button is connected. 

A ring light around the button shows the status of the button. Blinking white shows it's not connected with the base unit. Steady white shows it is connected. And steady red means it's sharing. 

All sound on your laptop will play via your TV or you can set it to play through a room audio system. 

Buttons that come as part of the package are paired with the base unit. Extra buttons can be purchased and paired easily by plugging them into the base unit's USB port.  

Combine the Barco ClickShare system with video conferencing equipment and your screen can be shared with your callers. At work, our units are paired with our Skype for business systems and it's a matter of pressing Present in the Skype meeting for our content to be shared with the other parties. 

Barco has several models available to suit from small rooms to large rooms where up to 64 devices can connect and share content.

Prices for the Barco ClickShare system start at $US999.

Airtame
A close competitor to Barco's ClickShare is Airtame. Unlike ClickShare which comes with a button and a wireless base unit, Airtame is button only. The button connects to your existing wifi connection and you download a small  application which will connect with the button over wifi. This application is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. 

Setting up Airtame isn't as simple as Barco's ClickShare, which is preset for connection.

First you need to connect the button to the your TV or projector's HDMI port. Add power to it via the provided adapter and download the Airtame app from https://www.airtame.com/download.

Once you installed the app, you can begin connecting Airtame to your wifi network. First, the app will connect to the Airtame's wifi network. It will prompt you to name your Airtame device and then lead you to connect it to your wifi network. The Airtame screen will change to default and your laptop will switch back to your wifi network. And you are ready to stream.

Even though the package doesn't include a dedicated receiver like the ClickShare, the Airtame has its own built in wifi for a direct connection between your devices. You’ll need to connect the Airtame to your own wifi network if you need to display internet content or files from network drives.

Which is fine, but if you have problems with your wifi or it's congested by a lot of connected devices, then you could have problems streaming or suffer lag.

Airtame is available for $US299.