Huddly is a technology company devoted to getting rid of bad meeting room experiences with next-level camera and conferencing solutions. The original concept that brought Huddly to life, was a collaboration-focused camera which was smart, simple, and effective – perfect for not just the traditional meeting rooms, but also the new smaller and open collaborative environments of modern workplaces.
I caught up with VP of Sales and Strategy for Huddly, Fraser Park, to learn more about the emerging company, and what they’re trying to accomplish with their disruptive innovative technology in the UC world.
Why Does Huddly Define Itself as a “Software Business”
When the idea for Huddly first began, it focused on building a camera for an age of technology where people were moving away from hard codecs, into the world of software. As we’ve progressed through 2017, we’ve seen countless companies turn away from legacy systems, to embrace cloud solutions, and even streamline their meeting room spaces into smaller “huddle room” environments. This is where Huddly really shines with its new camera technology.
Since, for now, Huddly’s product portfolio is all about the camera, I wanted to know why the company defines itself as a software brand. Fraser told me that to understand that, I needed to understand how the camera works.
“The Huddly GO is a software defined camera, with a unique VPU chip which allows us to create differentiated experiences through software. The camera can use neural networking systems to learn, it can do intelligent things to make the meeting room more engaging with object and person recognition. It’s what we consider to be the start of the next stage of smart camera technology.”
On the surface, the Huddly camera might look simple enough, featuring some of the common abilities you’d expect from a standard webcam, like degradation-free zoom and pan/tilt. However, when you dive into the capabilities of the technology, you find something even more incredible.
“We’re just starting to scratch the surface with what’s possible with this new system. It’s why we’re coining the phrase “Intelligent Collaboration Cameras” to describe the next phase of video conferencing.”
What’s Your Plan Around Strategic Partnerships?
Just like many businesses throughout 2017, Huddly has invested a great deal of time and energy into strategic partnerships for their company. Their first collaboration was with NEC, over the “InfinityBoard”, which helps end users to tap into digital whiteboard functionality during their conference experience. At the end of October, Huddly also announced a collaboration with Google.
“We were chosen by Google as the default camera for their collaboration bundle. They chose us because of our ability to build images in software, which meant we could create multiple video streams out of a single lens.”
“We presented Google with 3 video streams, the first is a full field of view, the second is an area of interest stream, and the third is a data and analytics stream. They’ve been able to use that functionality to enhance their meetings solution.”
For Huddly, collaborations are the starting point of their strategy for long-term growth. NEC allowed them to tap into the interactive board space, while Google allowed them to take the next step into the technology world.
“Google has given us immediate validation for all the other partnerships we’re working on – and we’ve got a lot in the pipeline.”
What’s the Huddly Plan for 2018?
Fraser told me that moving into 2018, we can expect to see many more strategic partnerships from Huddly as they strive to broaden the reach they have in the collaboration space. They’re talking to most of the leading collaboration/video platform and hardware providers.
“For us, it’s about validating our camera in as many spaces as possible.”
The camera became available to the public in the middle of December 2017, which means that there are distribution and reseller channels all over the world for people who want to access this new technology. Distributors are currently available in the UK, EMEA, APAC, and the United States, and the reseller base for Huddly is growing daily.
Fraser told me that early 2018 is going to be big for Huddly.
“We’re going to be showing off new Huddly bundles in various conference and event spaces, and we’ll also be working with new companies too. There’s InfoComm on the horizon too, where we’ll have our own stand to showcase Huddly and demonstrate some of the partnerships we’ve built.”
Huddly will be releasing a new product in 2018 too, which Fraser told me will be a complement to the existing camera product, as well as something that offers some “extra horsepower”.
“We’ve got a roadmap to add to the product line, and in 2019, there’ll be another extension on the horizon to do with IoT devices and multiple cameras working together.”
Do You Consider Huddly to Be Disruptive?
It’s easy to see that Huddly has a lot of potential to offer the Unified Communications space, particularly as their portfolio will continue to grow in the years ahead. Fraser told me that he fully believes that Huddly is a disruptive brand, and for them, the aim is to be the people who start introducing the next generation of cameras to the world.
“If you look at some of the bigger traditional players out there, there’s still people building the same large mechanical pan/tilt, limited view cameras that are not suited for the huddle rooms or the new more open collaborative environments in the modern workplace.”
“As the conference environment changes, it’s almost as though some brands are simply ignoring what the marketplace is telling them they need. I think traditional manufacturers are going to have to start approaching things differently if they want to deliver value to their customers.”
“Our value is going to come from the fact that we can build some unique and new experiences which will delight collaboration users in the modern workplace and enable people to work more productively, simply and flexibly.”
For Huddly, the aim is to completely turn the video conferencing experience on its head, opening the door for a new era of flexible meeting spaces, huddle rooms and highly engaged mobile workers. With such a disruptive piece of tech, it’s no wonder they’ve coined their own new term, with the “Intelligent Collaboration Camera”.