How Wildbit connects remote employees to company culture via video conferencing

When building apps, developers aim to make them super easy to use and navigate. But there’s a lot of complexity involved in bringing an app experience to life. Software company Wildbit aims to make that process easier for developers.

Born as an app-building consulting company, Philadelphia-based Wildbit transformed into a SaaS software solution when it launched its product Beanstalk—a workflow to write, review, and deploy code—in 2007.

Since then, Wildbit has created code collaboration products, email delivery for web applications, and deployment services for hundreds of thousands of clients all over the world.

When the company first started in 1999, the entire team worked remotely from their homes. Now, out of their 23 employees, half still work remotely from home, some from the U.S. and some internationally.

Even though half the Wildbit team works remotely, the company recently outgrew its original location in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia and found a new home on Chestnut Street. The new space occupies three floors and each employee has their own private office. It has a “homey” feel according to Wildbit founder Chris Nagele, and the team eats lunch together every day.

But what about those remote employees? Enter Highfive video conferencing.

“We built this beautiful new office and it was really important that we made sure the remote team didn’t feel isolated from the environment,” Nagele says. “I think video is crucial to that because having those face-to-face conversations and bringing those people into meetings is critical to collaboration.”

Currently, a top use case for Highfive at Wildbit is holding monthly team meetings in their upstairs lounge area with remote team members, when they discuss challenges and successes of the previous month. They’ve also used Highfive video conferencing for smaller marketing meetings.

However, private offices don’t always provide the best setup for collaborative meetings, where you may have a few people in the office meeting with a few others attending remotely. So as part of their new office design, Nagele plans to hook up a Highfive device in every Wildbit huddle or breakout room. This way if employees want to collaborate throughout the day, they’re not all huddled around a single computer screen but can use the Highfive device connected to a TV.

Beautifully simple hardware

To help the team connect, Wildbit has used a variety of online collaboration tools including Basecamp and HipChat. They’ve also previously used other video solutions like Google Hangouts and Skype, but those have posed problems.

“In Hangouts you need a URL and the URL is always very cryptic,” Nagele says. “Skype is a challenge because the UI is always a gamble whether it’s going to work or not, and HipChat Video works pretty well but it’s one-to-one.”

According to Nagele, Highfive is also preferred over Wildbit’s previous solutions because “those were a pain every time to set up.”

Onboarding new employees to the Highfive video conferencing software has been simple for Wildbit, and Nagele says he likes the security of logging into Highfive with Wildbit’s Google Apps account. This means only Wildbit employees can automatically join a Highfive video call.

The biggest upside to using Highfive? The simplicity and experience of the hardware, says Nagele. He wanted something they could hook up to the TV, which none of Wildbit’s previous video solutions offered.

“Hooking it up to the TV, getting it working, and setting up the account was really easy and straightforward,” he says.