Latest Telepresence and Visual Collaboration News:
Easymeeting TWS: A New Videoconferencing System from an Unexpected Source
Easymeeting is a cloud videoconferencing service provider, focused on making VC "just as easy as using your mobile phone." They are known for services including their EasyConference cloud service, their EasyDirectory "VC phonebook," and their focus on high touch customer care via their Easymeeting Experts program. We were a little surprised to see a new hardware offering from such a service oriented company, so we reached out to Caity Serra at Easymeeting to get the scoop.
While we haven't had a chance to demo the product, we learned from Caity that it was made in partnership with ZTE, which has a good pedigree for producing quality VC appliances. This helps to assuage our concerns about Easymeeting's first foray into the world of hardware. We can also say, based on its specs alone, that it hits the main "checkmarks" for today's VC users, including 1080p resolution and dual monitor support, and matches up well against competing systems at its price range (MSRP $5,999).
With the basics now covered, let's turn to Caity for the full story behind this new endpoint.
Telepresence Options: "We have always thought of Easymeeting as a cloud / software company. What made you decide to put out a hardware product?"
Caity Serra: "Easymeeting is still a cloud/software company just as we always have been. Our services will remain hardware independent and fully interoperable with other systems on the market today. The reason we have decided to offer a hardware product in addition to our cloud is that we wanted to be able to take full control of the user experience for our customers. From the moment they pick up the remote, to the moment their multi-part meeting ends, troubleshooting, RMA's, and the purchasing experience; we wanted all of it to be the easiest experience possible. While we have always worked with and partnered with many of the other vendors, we felt things were continuing to become more difficult or intricate. We have not launched this product as a direct competitor of the other vendors, but to offer something that is easy to buy, easy to sell, and easy to use for partners and customers."
TPO: "The industry buzz is that the future is software, and hardware is shrinking and struggling. What made you decide to buck this trend?"
CS: "We believe that the video industry is going through a bit of an identity crisis. After years of making each "UC" version more complex than the one before, customers got confused, prices remained too high, and the user experience was nearly dismissed. The mobile tools are great and bring the valuable aspect of flexibility to the market that is vital, but the experience of a high quality video system can still only be beaten by real face to face meetings. Its crazy how many companies have invested in hardware or even infrastructure and don't ever use it because it's too complex. We thought the market was well overdue for an alternative to this."
TPO: "How did your team create this new product? Are you the OEM? Is this a rebranded version of an existing appliance from another firm? Is it your design with outsourced manufacturing?"
CS: "As our CTO would say, it's all and none of the above. Once we decided that this (the Easymeeting TWS) was a goal, our R&D team searched for the perfect fit as far as a partner in the design and manufacturing of the box went. For the Easymeeting TWS, we partnered with ZTE corporation because we quickly found that they had the same market aspirations in delivering a high quality, easy to use system designed for the every day customer. While this project started out as an OEM plan, we were able to collaborate on the actual design of the box and firmware to produce what we believe is a great system, alone or in the Cloud."
TPO: "We assume the goal of this product is to support Easymeeting customers, who come in for the cloud service, but may in fact need a meeting room appliance and would like to get everything from one source. Is this accurate, or do you intend to push this product through partner channels and compete on the open market with traditional endpoint vendors?"
CS: "Our number one goal, as you said, is to offer this to our partners and customers along with the EasyConference virtual meeting rooms as a seamless solution. Our EasyConference service is the bread and butter of what we believe in, here at Easymeeting. However, we have purposefully designed the system to work just as flawlessly outside of the Easymeeting Cloud as it does inside the Easymeeting Cloud. As confusing as the market has become for customers, the dealers are also trying to figure out how to maintain their knowledge on every line item in their quotes. That is why we keep things simple, one system with one EasyConference subscription and you are having multi-party calls within minutes. To summarize, we know that the engineers believe a product will succeed just because it is possible, the sales teams believes they will succeed if it's cheap enough and the marketing team believes it will succeed with enough commercials; the truth is that a product will succeed when the customer understands exactly what they are getting, and exactly how to use it."
Final note: The "TWS" stands for "time well spent" which is a recurring theme throughout Easymeeting's service (and now product) lineup. As our regular readers know, we at TPO firmly believe that visual communications (when used properly) is a particularly efficient communications tool, with serious productivity benefits. This new addition to the Easymeeting portfolio will allow customers to get their endpoint hardware, and infrastructure service, all in one stop, as well as simplifying their support options (if they need help with hardware or software, they just call Easymeeting for full service). The result is less time troubleshooting, and more time enjoying the benefits of visual collaboration. Time well spent indeed.
About the Author
David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate publisher at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.
Add New Comment
Telepresence Options welcomes your comments! You may comment using your name and email (which will not be displayed), or you may connect with your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or DISQUS account.
See what happens when YouTube and TPO come together at the Telepresence Options YouTube Channel.