Say “HELLO 2” Collaboration Disruption
Introducing the HELLO 2 From Solaborate
As businesses around the world continue to embrace the trends of remote working and globalisation, the demand for innovative technology continues to accelerate. Today’s organisations need tools that allow them to collaborate and communicate seamlessly, without having to worry about switching between multiple devices and platforms.
Solaborate, a company devoted to next-level communication solutions, recently introduced the newest generation of their “HELLO” device. The HELLO 2 product combines communication and collaboration into a simple end-to-end solution for ongoing productivity in the ever-changing workforce.
I sat down with CEO, Labinot Bytyqi, to find out more.
Tell Us About the Business and Yourself
According to Labinot, “Solaborate” stands for “social” collaboration .
Labinot has an exciting history in the marketplace. He moved to the United States in 1999 as a war refugee from Kosovo and began to earn his degree in computer science and business management almost immediately. After college, he joined SAP, starting in services and moving into product management. “That’s where I discovered the gap in the market for collaboration.”
Labinot told me that SAP was receiving calls daily, which the company sometimes had to cancel and reschedule merely because they couldn’t work and communicate at the same time.
“I left SAP and founded Solaborate to search for more than just a video and audio tool – I wanted something that could offer a collaboration tool. We started this search almost 6 years ago on the software side, and eventually moved into hardware.”
The idea for the HELLO device emerged after Intel announced their “PC on a stick” technology. “I was inspired to see if I could create this all-around device for audio, video, and collaboration. That’s how HELLO was born”.
What is the HELLO Product?
Though stunning in its design, the HELLO device is deceptively simple at first glance. It looks like a webcam, but the truth is that it’s so much more. “We created the HELLO device to truly integrate audio, video, and collaboration for the first time.”
The first device launched in 2016 as an end-to-end option for encrypted video, audio, and collaboration technology. HELLO 2, the latest generation will also support new solutions such as whiteboarding, and video conferencing through platforms like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom, Google Meet and more.
HELLO works by transforming a standard business screen into a communication device that can do everything from video conferencing, to screen sharing, voice assistant support, and digital whiteboarding.
What’s Going on inside of the Device?
The 4K camera and microphones are easy enough to spot on the HELLO device, but I was interested to learn more about what was happening behind the scenes from a collaboration perspective. Labinot told me that when the company created the technology, they wanted to keep it open. “That’s why we decided to do it on Android. We wanted to tap into the thousands of applications that were already there and give people a chance to build their own apps too.”
With the HELLO 2, you don’t only get a system for an audio and video call; you also get something that can handle all your collaboration needs too, like whiteboarding and screen sharing.
“We even built our own whiteboarding system, the HELLO Touch TV – a 4K TV for real-time content sharing. However, customers can also integrate the HELLO 2 with all the major systems already out there too.”
With a completely open solution, Solaborate ensures that their customers can both collaborate with their solutions and take the best of breed applications from other parts of the market into their meeting rooms too.
Tell Us Why You Decided to Launch on Kickstarter?
True growth for Solaborate and the HELLO device began on Kickstarter – the social funding website. This site is a hub of early adopters who are willing to get behind companies that can solve significant problems. “The Kickstarter community hasn’t just backed us, they’ve also provided us with insights into what they need from us.”
Labinot told me that the main thing the company appreciates about Kickstarter is that it has allowed them to listen to the community. “When we did our first-generation device, they told us that security was important, so we made it so that you could get more privacy and security out of your systems with an instant mute and camera shut-off button.”
Another thing that Solaborate focused on was the size of the device. “We made it small enough to be portable but kept the high-quality tech. We wanted it to be perfect for huddle rooms, but it also contains a 4K camera with less than 2 percent distortion, so you have that amazing view. We spent 2 years developing the camera lens alone.”
What is the Gadgets and Extensions Part of the Device?
One of the components mentioned on the Kickstarter page and the product page for HELLO 2 is the presence of gadgets and extensions. I was keen to hear more about these from Labinot.
“We wanted to take this beyond the traditional communication system, so we created an open platform that would allow people to add applications and gadgets as they saw fit. We’re even introducing a HELLO Creator Edition system that’s specifically for developers who want to build applications and hardware extensions on top of their communication platform. We’re looking forward to see what people create.”
Labinot believes that technology is best when the community is empowered to use it in the way that best serves them. Already, the HELLO device is helping healthcare companies to communicate, monitor patients and more.
How Are Things Going for the HELLO 2 so Far?
Finally, I was excited to find out whether Solaborate is thriving in the communication space. Labinot told me that the Kickstarter Campaign is going well. “We have about $307,000 plus of HELLO 2 pre-orders so far, and I’ve been bootstrapping the company up to this point.”
Solaborate has a very dedicated team, and they’re going to be announcing some exciting go-to-market partnerships in the months to come too. “Right now, the product will be available on Amazon after our Kickstarter, and on our website. However, we’ve been overwhelmed by suppliers and distributors that want to stock the system too.”
From both a technology and affordability perspective, Solaborate’s HELLO device is a true technology disruptor. We’re keen to see how it evolves after the Kickstarter is complete. HELLO 2 will work around the world and should be available for purchase soon!