There’s countless ways to share content and collaborate on projects with friends and coworkers who are located far away. But what about with a group of people all in the same room? There might be a big TV, a video projector and ten mobile devices present, and still people are usually left scratching their heads.
A Denver-based startup, Mersive, launched a product today to simplify this interaction, and make higher-quality displays easier to access. Its software, Solstice, allows anyone to beam content from their tablet, laptop or mobile device to a larger display or set of displays, and it allow groups of people to share the same screen simultaneously. Showing off their product today at the Silicon Valley conference DEMO, Mersive demonstrated how five people could collaborate and share from their individual devices across a single, large screen, or stretched out onto two. The software replaces expensive and cumbersome video input hardware that’s now usually required to align pixels to allow for screen sharing from different devices. Instead, it aims to create a “single pixel landscape.”
Right now, several U.S. government agencies and the large defense contractor Halliburton, where there are command centers, are trialing Solstice. But Mersive co-founder Christopher Jaynes has a bigger vision of democratizing access to screens everywhere. For example, in sports bars, patrons could post their running commentary to the game on one of the televisions. Or in airports, two traveling colleagues could together build a last-minute Powerpoint on that unwatched TV in the corner. “Our displays are not part of our shared infrastructure,” says Jaynes. “This makes them probably the largest untapped, unconnected infrastructure in the world today.”
Mersive, founded in 2006, has an interesting history. It grew out of Jaynes’s research at the University of Kentucky, and its funding so far includes an investment from the CIA-backed venture firm In-Q-Tel and a grant from the National Science Foundation. Its other products are also aimed at lowering the costs of high-end audio visual technology by replacing hardware components with computational software power.