With more than 6,500 communications and IT executives descending on Orlando last week, Enterprise Connect remained the premiere venue to see the latest digital communications technology and services for the enterprise space. Conversations with attendees, customers, partners, and the press covered a range of topics on technology, innovation, and scalability. We talked a lot about how developers are using the cloud to simplify and accelerate video conferencing ubiquity and we showcased the possibilities of always-available, real-time video over Verizon’s 5G wireless network. With IT professionals, we listened to their increasing desire to find an easy, affordable, scalable video conferencing solution for their business. Collectively, three themes were constant during our conversations: technology, simplicity, and easing the procurement process.
The Tech: WebRTC Matters
Questions about Highfive technology always seem top of mind when we chat with people, especially at events like Enterprise Connect. “Video First” was something of an unofficial theme, while too many vendors were still touting their on-premise, hybrid cloud, and user license-based models for video conferencing. At Highfive, we’ve pulled everyone into the AWS hyperscale public cloud, focusing on the room, not the users, and giving IT and workers the video experience they’re craving. And everyone wanted to know how we’re doing it.
More conversations were had related to WebRTC and its impact on video and audio conferencing. The potential this technology has for enterprise IT seems to hit on all of their current challenges. WebRTC gives workers a simple, easy-to-use video conferencing experience from the browser; it nearly eliminates IT’s need for upgrades and maintenance; and it lowers the TCO across the board and removes the need for single user licenses.
Conversations about technology quickly segued into talk about the cloud. Even NoJitter’s Enterprise Connect recap pointed to “cloud” as the one word heard most often during the event. While most of the legacy providers want to hold on to on-premise solutions, it’s clear that hyperscale cloud is where the market is going (with Highfive, it’s already there). Seeing video conferencing as a service—many attendees told us—is where the cloud highlights the differentiation between vendors. Combine hyperscale cloud with WebRTC and our cloud-native operating system and Highfive checks off all the boxes IT attendees want.
Catching the attention of everyone was our recent news with Verizon 5G, where we ran a video conference over their 5G wireless network at 8K resolution! More than a few vendors at Enterprise Connect were talking about “the future of 8K video conferencing,” oblivious to the fact that Highfive achieved it over Verizon 5G wireless with no hardwired connection! The potential here is groundbreaking, so watch for more news from Highfive.
Simplicity at Scale
Attendees made it clear that no technology is worth the effort if the resulting solution is too complex for their end users. So, when we showed them how simple Highfive was to use, they were more than impressed. “Easy to use,” “elegant,” and “dead-simple” were terms thrown out by nearly everyone who stopped by our booth when describing what they were looking for in their video conferencing.
Simplicity and speed were a hallmark of our “setup challenge” contest, where we timed how long it took someone to unbox, setup, and power on a Highfive all-in-one, in-room video conferencing solution.
Just as with the technology, setup speed means nothing if the result doesn’t work well and deliver a desired outcome. One attendee watched and listened, mouth gaping, as she demoed Highfive on the expo floor. “We’re in the middle of this event hall,” she said. “in a makeshift conference room, no ceiling, a constant flood of noisy background conversations, and the audio on Highfive is crystal clear.” Others commented on the exceptional audio and video quality of Highfive compared with the awful conferencing solutions they paid huge money for in their expensive meeting rooms.
Connecting with the Channel
Another hot topic at Enterprise Connect was the move toward video in contact and support centers. Enterprises are looking for an exceptional customer experience, but it’s clear that so many video conferencing vendors are still miles away from delivering on that expectation. Video is king, and with Highfive offering such a simple experience, we’re starting to engage with this market in novel and meaningful ways. Stay tuned for more on this topic.
To help more enterprises hear the Highfive message, we’ve been working hard to expand our channel relationships. Ingram Micro and Best Buy are two high-profile distribution partners we’ve been working with for nearly a year, and more relationships will be coming through the new partner program we announced during Enterprise Connect. Additionally, Highfive has further expanded its burgeoning channel program to forge new partnerships with key distributors and resellers in Canada, Europe, the UK and Ireland, as well as Australia.
Prior to joining HPE, where he also led the Americas Networking and Hybrid IT channels and later served as the Director of U.S. Distribution, Popham held various channel roles at Avaya, Motorola, and Symbol Technologies. “This is all about building a win-win opportunity for us and our channel partners,” said Popham, Highfive’s new Vice President of Global Channel Sales in a recent interview with Channel Partners. “While we refreshed (our channel) program, we’ve also looked at processes, pricing, deal registration, and the way we do things and work with the channel to make sure it aligns with our channel-first, channel-friendly mentality.”
Our channel program isn’t the only new thing we’ve got brewing here at Highfive. We tipped our hand during some conversations at Enterprise Connect with other potential partners and members of the press in regards to technology, backbone, and integrated content.
Keep an eye on our blog for more great announcements coming very soon!