Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Online presentation service Prezi, which aims to bring creativity to PowerPoints, has hit a significant milestone after passing 20 million registered users. The company — which was founded in Hungary, Europe, and has an office in San Francisco — is marking the occasion by introducing audio to presentations, in response to user requests.
The service’s growth is impressive and, having hit 10 million users in May 2012, the company has doubled its base in just 10 months (with an average of 1 million new signups per month), while its iPad app has registered almost 2 million downloads. Back last year, it introduced a PowerPoint import tool when announcing the 10 million user landmark, and this time around it takes its cue from the much-maligned Microsoft product by allowing users to “amplify” their presentation with sound.
The new addition is flexible since it allows users to import any kind of sound, whether it be a presentation-long narrative, or short sound effect to enhance the visuals.
Prezi jokes that the introduction sees it “break the sound barrier” and, while an amusing soundbite is exactly that, CEO Peter Arvai tells TNW that the additional of audio is another “element to enhance the visual journey” of how ideas are shared online. “A lot of people make Prezis that work best without narration, so the ability to add that makes a lot of sense,” he adds.
For those that are unfamiliar with the service, it turns presentations from dull decks of slides into a journey-like experience using said visual approach which zooms between each part of the presentation.
Arvai points out that, beyond having 20 million people sign up for the service, it has become the choice of top influencers. He was present at TED this month — where the company announced the winners of a campaign to ‘remix’ existing TED PowerPoints into Prezis — and he says that 20 to 30 percent of the presentations there were made through its platform.
That included the much-lauded idea for breaking down plastics with soil bacteria discovered by students Miranda Wang and Jenny Yao. Unfortunately the presentation is not yet live on Prezi, but Arvai says it is a proof point of the kind of thinking that the platform encourages.
Looking forward, Arvai says that the company is immediately focused on three goals. Building Prezi clients for more mobile platforms — “Android is a really interesting option for us and we’re looking into it”, he says — increasing support for international languages beyond Spanish, Korean and Japanese, and helping develop the Prezi community.
The company is also set to expand its global presence with a number of on-the-ground hires in Korea when Arvai visits the country “in a couple of months”. That’s an interesting move that is a sign of its focus on Asia.
Headline image via Maxx-Studio / Shutterstock
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