Screen sharing apps could be seen as the poor cousin of remote access tools. While the latter can be used to dial into and control a computer running the necessary software, screen sharing tools such as Mikogo only provide a viewing experience. It’s a one-way process, but that certainly does not mean that it is any less useful.
While remote access tools such as TeamViewer make it possible to control a computer from an Android phone or tablet, you might well wonder why apps designed to simply display what is happening on a remote computer might be useful.
Install an app like TeamViewer and you can control Windows or OS X from your Android device.
From a business point of view, such tools are great for giving presentations. Rather than battling with a projector, or having a group of people straining to see a single monitor, participants can dial into a presentation and view it on a variety of devices.
With Mikogo, Android tablets and phones can be used to view remote presentations, but there are also situations in which such tools could prove useful outside the world of business. Rather than gathering the family around a computer to view a slideshow, you can direct the presentation from your laptop while your family dial in on their Androids.
Just as with remote access apps, a desktop tool needa to be installed to share your screen to Android.
Apps like this can also be used to share websites, spreasheets, and almost any other application that you might want other people to be able to see. Of course, security is a key concern with tools such as this, so sessions are protected to prevent unauthorized viewers.
Setting up Mikogo
Before getting started, you’ll need to make sure that you have the desktop companion installed on whichever computer you want to share. Mikogo’s is available for Windows, OS X and Linux, so there is scope for working in a mixed platform environment.
Available for multiple platforms, Mikogo is a flexible tool with numerous uses.
Run through the installation on your desktop or laptop, and you’ll then need to grab a copy of the mobile app from Google Play.
When the desktop app is run for the first time, you will be invited to sign up for a new Mikogo account (free of charge) if you did not do so before downloading the software. Once signed in you can then start a sharing session – this is a simple menu selection and there’s no complex configuration to worry about.
Remote sessions must be instigated from the desktop.
Mikogo in Action
With the program running on your desktop, the app can be fired up on a tablet or phone. Dialing into a session that has been set up requires little more than entering the relevant Session ID – this information is provided in the desktop program.
Oddly, despite landscape support, you must log into a session in portrait mode.
Once login credentials have been provided, you’ll be connected to the remote session. Getting in on the action is fairly fast, but there is a noticeable lag in the display and performance is a little jerky even when using a fast network connection.
Intelligent scaling means that a viewer is able to view the entire desktop at once, but zooming is also available.
Join a remote session and you can view a remote computer’s desktop on your tablet or phone.
From a viewer’s point of view, there are virtually no settings to work with. Zooming is available using a pinch gesture, but apart from this, the only option is to leave. When you are zoomed in – which can be handy if you are using a small screen or need to check something in closer detail – you can then tap and drag to move around.
Mikogo enables you to zoom in to levels beyond 1:1 if you feel the need.
To help ensure that on-screen action is easy to see, Mikogo introduces a large, clear cursor that the remote viewer should find easy to keep track of.
In terms of ease of use, there is nothing to complain about Mikogo – it’s hard to imagine how the app could be any simpler or more intuitive. But while it’s easy to get up and running, it is not perfect.
We’ve already mentioned the laggy, jerky image quality. This can be addressed to some extent by adjusting image quality in the desktop program, but it does still mean that there are problems displaying fast moving output such as video footage.
There is also no support for multiple monitors. In business environments, and increasingly in the home, it is very common to have more than one display connected to a computer. Having a second monitor in place will not stop you from using Mikogo, but you can only view and share whatever is on the primary display.
For small companies, it offers a great way to host meetings without the need to gather everyone together in the same room. There are better and more feature-packed tools available, but this is a great option for anyone looking to keep things as simple as possible.
This is not the best screen sharing tool available. You may well decide that it makes sense to opt for a remote access tool instead so you have the option of taking advantage of extra features, but the Android version of Mikogo certainly has its place in the business world – and there is also potential for home users.