TechSperience

Transcript of Episode 25 - A Cure For the Conference Room Blues

April 8, 2020

Episode 25 - A Cure For the Conference Room Blues

with Tyler Meckes

 

 

This transcript was first posted on the Connection Community.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Welcome to another addition of The Connection Podcast. I'm your host, Tyler Meckes. Today, we're entering the age of the modern workplace, enhancing collaboration, and also digital workplace transformation. Companies today have been leveraging technology to make day-to-day business lives more efficient and effective for all their employees and their businesses. And each year, business professionals spend about 163 billion minutes on conference calls. And the average conference call being about 38 minutes long, out of that, 15 minutes of that is wasted either getting started or dealing with distractions on the call.

 

So, to put this into more of a perspective, that's costing businesses $34 billion over the year. That's a lot of time and money wasted. Today in the Techperience we'll be talking about conference room solutions with two technology industry giants, Microsoft and Logitech. And I have a couple incredible guests on today to talk over workplace transformation. I have Dan Fischetti, Bob Knep, and Jen Jakubowicz. Thanks, so much for being on the show today.

 

Bob Knep:

Thanks for having us.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Could you all start off by just, introducing yourself? I guess we could start with Jen and then just go around the table.

 

Bob Knep:

Sure.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Just, a little bit about what you do and about yourself.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

Yep. So I am Jen. I am a Channel Marketing Manager at Logitech. I help to support AMR. Basically, as part of that, what I'm doing is helping to educate not only our channel partners, but end customers about our solutions and how they can really enhance the overall experience.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Very nice. Bob?

 

Bob Knep:

And I'm Bob Knep. I'm a Senior Global Alliance Manager here at Logitech. I'm responsible for working within our business group focused on video collaboration. Part of my role is to work and drive the field strategy with Microsoft on how to drive Teams adoption with our devices.

Tyler Meckes:

So you're a very busy guy then. (laughs)

 

Bob Knep:

Very busy.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Awesome. Dan?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. Dan Fischetti, Senior Program Manager with Connection out of our Microsoft Center of Excellence. Primary job responsibilities are building and developing our go-to-market solutions when it comes to everything Microsoft. And obviously we're here to talk Teams today. So, Teams is the biggest driver right now that Microsoft is really looking at us as reseller, so to speak, to help drive Teams adoption in today's market.

 

One of the key areas that I am focused, and from the Microsoft side, is how do we partner with our key industry partners when it comes to developing full, rich solutions around a Microsoft cloud stack? Clearly, here we are talking Teams, talking Logitech. I'm ready to get after it.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Awesome. And it sounds like it's a pretty perfect marriage that we'll get into a little bit further. But first, to start off, I'm really curious to hear. I guess we could start with Bob and Dan and Jen as well. What are your thoughts on some of those stats that I read off at the beginning about the time and the money that's going into wasted time really?

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah. From my standpoint, you know, just from a hardware standpoint and walking into meetings, so many times you walk into a conference room and people just don't know how to start the meeting. Right? You spend a good 10 minutes just how do you get the display up and running? How do I join the meeting? Are the wires loose? Why isn't it working? So there's a lot of issues that people deal with just to start up that meeting. So you're absolutely right, Tyler, that there's so much time in the beginning of meetings that get wasted just by doing a meeting. That's one of the things when we've developed our product that we look into is how do we simplify that approach for our customers?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. No, and Bob, just to kinda lay onto that a little bit further is like, I've been up there. I'm sure you've been up there. As you're fumbling through everything, trying to get everything set up, whether you're half hour early or 10 minutes early at the end of the day, you still have people 10 minutes late dialing in, noise in the background. Everything's going on. It's already wasted time, and you only have an hour to get whatever messaging across to everything.

 

So, we have solutions out there in today's modern workplace that can deliver across the entire stack when it comes to all the different communication platforms. And that's- that's Microsoft Teams.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Absolutely.

 

Bob Knep:

Funny enough, Tyler, when I was doing my time on the drive here today, before I did the presentation and the training classes. I put in extra time, because I had no idea what your meeting room looked like, and how to join up, how to set up and prepare for the training. So, I prepped myself mentally to come in and say, "I'm going to need 10-15 minutes to get this meeting up and running."

 

Tyler Meckes:

Right.

 

Bob Knep:

So, it's absolutely goes to your point of 10 to 15 minutes to start a meeting.

 

Tyler Meckes:

And really not everybody is as proactive, being that you work for Logitech, and you do meetings day in and day out. I wish everybody was like that, but, with Logitech and Microsoft Teams we could get people on track with this.

 

Dan Fischetti:

What was the breakdown on the weekly on the minutes? Did you have that? Was there a breakdown how long-

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

It's about 15 minutes that is wasted trying to start a meeting.

 

Bob Knep:

Oh.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

So, I'm sure there's listeners out there that have experience where they walk into a room and there's all these complicated remotes, and they're trying to figure out how to start that meeting. And then IT gets a phone call. IT doesn't want to deal with that. So really, overall, we're trying to figure out how can we make that simple.

 

Dan Fischetti:

I mean, 15 minutes, yeah, that's probably on average. Maybe a little over four hours a week.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Right.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Imagine, what could you do in four hours extra work productivity a week? Like I know I (laughs) might be able to do a little bit more then. I might be able to do five more podcasts. I don't know.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Well, hopefully-

 

Dan Fischetti:

(laughs)

 

Tyler Meckes:

... hopefully we'll have you on some more for them, Dan.

 

Bob Knep:

Maybe only work 56 hours instead of 60 hours a week.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

(laughs)

 

Tyler Meckes:

Yeah, right? I don't know. Wishful thinking, I think, Bob.

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah, right.

 

Tyler Meckes:

(laughing) But, even before we get into the ... to how Logitech and Microsoft work together, I think it'd be important for. We have listeners of all different varieties here. Dan, could you just give a little, like a 10,000-foot overview of what Microsoft Teams is for somebody who has never heard of it before?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So cloud-based service. Microsoft's 365, Office 365 products are out there. Thinking of Teams as it's that one collaborative tool that pulls together Microsoft Outlook, legacy Microsoft Skype for Business. I'm trying to think here.

 

Bob Knep:

SharePoint.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Sharepoint, yeah. Thanks, sorry. You would think I would know all this by the top of my head.  And well, it's just an easier way to work out of all the Microsoft product sets so you don't have to keep opening up all the different applications. You could respond to email, IMs, peer to peer calling, whatever it is. You could do it directly out of Teams, and you never have to leave that application ever again, realistically, when you have it set up appropriately. So having it all at your fingertips is pretty amazing when you start using the tool the way it's been designed to use.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So do you see it more as a collaboration tool? 'Cause I think, Bob, you mentioned in training as well, that you've seen some customers as well potentially moving away from Outlook and using Teams. Now, do you think that that's going to be ... And now, it seems like that would be pretty crazy to totally switch over. But what are your... looking into that side of things.

 

Bob Knep:

Team is really the hub of everything somebody can do. Right? You bring in your collaboration tools, as they mentioned, like SharePoint. You can host files in there. You can share documents, work on the same documents at the same time. You have meetings. All your notes from the meetings in one given place. People communicate through there because it's instant. In this, today's society, everybody wants that instant response, that instant gratification. So Teams gives you that 'cause it's like sending an IM or a text message, and it pops up, notification. You're sharing, collaborating on a regular basis. So yes, people aren't sending an email waiting for a response anymore, because they want that response. Teams gives you that ability to collaborate right at your fingertips.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. And the really cool thing about it is when you tie in all the applications the way Microsoft ties it in from a search functionality through all the notes, through everything you're doing, you search in everything, and it's going to pull it back out of the repository and give you exactly what you were looking for when you hit on the key words, obviously.

 

Bob Knep:

Right.

 

Dan Fischetti:

That's huge because I know me personally, when I like try to find whatever 16,000 documents I'm working on Excel, whatever it is, it's a pain to go find it on file servers. As long as everything's Office 365 subscription-based, it's all there.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So, this is a great way to organize and manage it-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah.

 

Tyler Meckes:

... like a data repository.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Exactly. And it's all backed up, and the repository backs into SharePoint as well. So it's amazing. It is a life-changing application, that's out there, from especially in the business side; it's working. So-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Interesting.

 

Dan Fischetti:

We're here to help. We're here to help our customers adopt and get used to this new modern workplace.

 

Tyler Meckes:

And Microsoft's Center of Excellence team here, Connection, does a great job from a sales perspective. I rely on your teams, Dan, day in and day out, and really getting that support and kind of helping our customers with digital transformation is… It’s great to have people like yourself. So, thank you for that as well.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Welcome.

 

Tyler Meckes:

And to get back into the Logitech side of things, Bob, could you just take a step back and talk about where you guys started as an organization, where you guys are now, and also where your projections are, besides with Microsoft and Teams in the future?

 

Bob Knep:

Sure. So when most people hear of Logitech, they think of keyboard and mice. Right? In fact, that's how we started. We built the first mouse in 1981. Over time, we've developed different products and have acquired different organizations and really created a robust portfolio of different products. We actually have five business groups now within Logitech. Our creativity/productivity group is the group that does the keyboard and mice. We have our music group which has our Ultimate Ears, our Jaybirds for sport enthusiasts out there for earbuds and running and stuff.

 

Tyler Meckes:

The big eSorts phase.

 

Bob Knep:

And then we have our- our gaming division. So, we have, mouse, keyboards, for gaming. We also have, uh, headsets and all that. So we've acquired companies now and built our own products to really evolve. In fact, our gaming vision, because of eSports, it's one of our fasting growing, um, groups within Logitech.

 

And then we have our home group. Right? So, we have Circle 2 cameras, which are security cameras for businesses and residence. And our Harmony remote, which allows you to connect all your smart devices within your home and control them all through one remote.

 

And then finally, our video collaboration group, which we're here to talk about today, conjunction with teams. And that division actually evolved from, you know, our webcam business. Right? We had the best ... We- we own 98% of the webcam business out there in the marketplace today. And from that, we've evolved in creating new video and, uh, AV equipment out there to help customers enable their meeting room spaces in a more cost-effective way. We'll dive a little bit into that later on. But that is our fastest growing business within Logitech. In fact, our recent earnings announcement, that group itself has 60% year over year growth.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Wow. Wow.

 

Tyler Meckes:

That's definitely only going to go up with this push in Teams.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right.

 

Bob Knep:

Right. And when you look at video collaboration from the past, a lot of it was Kodak equipment. Right? And it would cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 a room to equip those rooms. So, it wasn't very cost-effective to be able to equip these rooms. How Logitech is coming to market through our expertise, through our video and our webcams, we've created solutions that allow customers to enable their conference rooms on a mass scale. Right? So, what used to cost $50,000, now you could buy for like $3,000, $4,000, or $5,000, just depending on the size of the room. We're seeing customers deploy video collaboration in 50 rooms, 150 rooms, 200 rooms, some even 500 rooms, where they used to do three.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. And that investment isn't really that bad when you start thinking about the grand scheme of things when you look at conference rooms in how people want to work in today's environment. You know, we have customers out there already ... if you already own 365 E3, E5, or M3, or M5 is really what we're going for, realistically, you already own the technology. It's just a matter of when you're going to go ahead and flip that switch internally from an organization standpoint to say, "You know what? We're going to go full-blown Teams." That's huge.

 

Yeah. And for our customers that are using the Microsoft suite already, that's just getting more out of your licensing investment-

 

Bob Knep:

Exactly.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... which that's giving you more ROI off of your own internal usage when it comes down to that.

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah.

 

Tyler Meckes:

I mean, and something too, everybody has Microsoft. Right? It's 99.9% of people are using the Office suite. So, to be able to kind of cut down on different vendors and having to manage so many different software licenses and all that stuff, you guys definitely help with that side of things as well.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. I mean, the licensing is the licensing. The modern work platform is mobility and making sure that if you're either in the office, in the car, on a plane, across the world, whatever it is, you've got to be able to access anything, access your work through the cloud. And Teams already has all that in there. When you have it all married together and ready to go, you could take any solution inside of Teams that you need to. And you can really access everything.

 

So, say, we use that example of across the world. When you're with Microsoft Teams where I have seven different programs like Webex, BlueJeans, seven different collaboration type-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Wow.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... tools out there for peer to peer when working with different partners, you know. And Teams ties all that together. If you're across the world and you have Logitech solution, whether it's in the conference room from the audio-visual perspective, but also the headsets as well. You can also look into doing that also where you're ready for the mobile workforce from that side. So-

 

Bob Knep:

I think one of the biggest things as you mentioned, Dan, was customers own this technology today. They have an Office 365, Room 365, license. Right?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right.

 

Bob Knep:

And they're trying to utilize what they know. Right? Nobody likes change. So, there's still a big education needed to customers on the value of what Teams brings to organizations. People see Teams, say, "Okay, I'm going to use it as I use Skype. I'm going to use it for IM-ing and presence," and all that stuff. Teams is so much more.

 

And people don't understand, because they haven't utilized it that much, the power what video brings in an organization. You get so much more by reading people's faces, communicating eye to eye, seeing their expressions, knowing they're paying attention. 'Cause how many times we've all been on conference calls where there's no video and we're listening and we're doing other things, email-

 

Tyler Meckes:

You're stealing my thunder later on.

 

Dan Fischetti:

(laughing)

 

Bob Knep:

Right? The video brings so much more. With Teams and video, there's a lot of education on what that brings from a productivity standpoint to organizations.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Absolutely. And you stole my thunder before, I was going to say, we've all been on a conference call before where we need to get users engaged. People-

 

Bob Knep:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Tyler Meckes:

I know sometimes, I would never do this, but, hypothetically, some people use email, or use conference calls, rather, as a time to catch up on emails or kind of catch up on your personal stuff, check your-

 

Bob Knep:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Tyler Meckes:

... Instagram or whatever social you have. So, are you guys are finding ways to be able to get meetings more interactive as well?

 

Bob Knep:

Oh, absolutely. When you're on video, you don't have time to sit there and bring up your phone and check out your text messages or your social, websites and all that stuff. You're communicating, and everybody can watch you. Right? Everybody can see what you're doing. When I first joined, about two years ago at Logitech, I was always just an audio guy. I came from a headset manufacturer. And I was always on the audio, never leveraging video. And I was on a conference call with Microsoft. And I was trying to push an idea and all this stuff, and forgot I was video, and I mouthed something, and the person on the other end saw me and actually said, "Excuse me?" Right?

 

Tyler Meckes:

Uh-oh.

 

Bob Knep:

You would never get that reaction if I wasn't on video. So everything we do inside of Logitech, we're always 100% on video. I would be lost without video now. I actually ask people to turn on their video when I get on meetings, because you get so much more. The meetings are more productive. They're quicker because people are paying attention. You don't have to repeat yourself.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

I 100% agree with you, Bob, especially as a remote employee. With these companies that have remote employees and the growth of remote employees-

 

Tyler Meckes:

It's huge.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

It's ginormous. But you feel disconnected. I've been a remote worker for over five years. I've been with Logitech for about six now. But the ... This was also my first time-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Six years-

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

... on video. And from that perspective, my level of engagement and being able to make connections and visually read my coworkers who are in Newark, and see what's going on in the room, I can automatically adjust.

 

Tyler Meckes:

You feel like you're in the room with them, right?

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

Exactly.

 

Tyler Meckes:

And that's the main big point that you guys are trying to-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Tyler Meckes:

... to help with this collaboration in workforce transformation. Right?

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

100%.

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Think about ... think about what like today's consumer world is. What are 95% of the younger generation right now, what are they doing?

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely, Dan.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

On the phone.

 

Dan Fischetti:

100% FaceTime.

 

Bob Knep:

I just mentioned that.

 

Dan Fischetti:

It's like when you're sitting there and that future of our workforce is just FaceTime and FaceTime and FaceTime, that's what we're bringing to the commercial side of the business, which is crazy, but we're already trying to get our newer workforce up and coming-

 

Tyler Meckes:

And that's what Bob was mentioning before, I mean, with the millennial workforce, and kind of those are the next decision makers in the-

 

Bob Knep:

Yes.

 

Tyler Meckes:

...trying to move technology forward.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right.

 

Tyler Meckes:

You guys are doing a great job with getting ahead of that.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. And part of that challenge is you need to attract talent. Right? And how do you attract talent? Make them feel comfortable. Let them come into the workplace in how they're used to their everyday life. Give them the tools that they're allowed to use on the outside as well as the inside.

 

Bob, like from the peer to peer side of teams-

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... for that, so obviously the audio is, it's Skype-based, right?

 

Tyler Meckes:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

For that piece. What does Logitech do differently than versus, say, the regular hardware vendors from the peer to peer video side? Is it like ... Are they enhancing what, say, a Lenovo device is using? Or do you guys have add-ons that bring that to a higher level?

 

Bob Knep:

Sure, Dan. So, from a video perspective, we own the majority of the marketplace for webcams. Right? So we incorporate and are always making our webcams better. We have audio. We have headsets. We have our Zone Wireless and Zone Wireless Plus devices out there that integrate with Teams and Skype for Business.

 

But then we have a variety of webcams out there. The webcam I use, and it's our usually go-to, what the Logitech customers buy, is our Logitech BRIO. The BRIO's a 4K sensor camera that also does RightLight, which a lot of times you're in settings where you're leveraging a webcam, and the lighting behind you with a bright window darkens your face. Our RightLight technology allows to brighten up your face so you're not shadowed out by the brightness behind you. Very important, because you want to look as clear as possible on the other side.

 

Also, what the BRIO brings is it integrates with Windows Hello. A lot of organizations say, "Well, I don't need a webcam. I've got my laptop." I don't know about you guys, but I dock my laptop every day, and it's closed.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

Same.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah.

 

Bob Knep:

Right? So I need an external web cam. Well, the BRIO integrates with Windows Hello, so I don't even need to type my password anymore. I just hit my space, activate the PC, look into the camera, and its facial recognition logs me in. Simplicity for me, but for an organization, that's another level of security. We're finding a lot of customers out there leveraging their BRIO to add that level of security. We're seeing great traction to that.

 

Tyler Meckes:

And I wanted to ask you more a little bit about the security as well. I saw some stats that said in meetings, 70% of the time, confidential information is brought up. But they said 50% of people don't know 100% of everybody who's on the call. So, is there anything that you guys do to help bring that to light or help make sure that we, from any other security add bonuses, I guess?

 

Bob Knep:

I think that would be driven by the team's application. So again, we're the peripheral that actually makes it all happen and drives the meeting. So, we're the microphones, the speakers, and the cameras in the rooms that do that. To know who's in the room, the video obviously is allowing you to make that happen. But also, within the application itself you could see all the attendees that are in that meeting, so even though you're in a meeting you'll see everybody's in there. If there's a phone number on there that you don't recognize, you can actually call out and ask who that is.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

I don't know if this would necessarily be security, but Bob, do you want to talk a little bit about RightSight, so how it's framing everybody in the room?

 

Bob Knep:

Sure.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

So even as they walk in. Because that way you can see who's entering the room at that time.

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah. So, all of our camera technologies have something called RightSense technologies that incorporate three different technologies. One of them is RightSight. A lot of times you walk into a room, and it could be a 30-person conference room table, but only five people in the room. You don't need a view of that entire room. So our technology will take a snapshot of the room, frame it, and then say, "Okay, I only need to focus over here." We focus on those individuals in the room. Right? So we're able to see everybody that's always in the room.

 

Now, if Dan was in the meeting and the three of us were just having a meeting, Dan walked in later and sat on the other side of the table, the camera would recognize that there's somebody else in the room, frame out, and come back in and shoot all of us so we're all back in the frame. So, you always will see somebody in the room.

 

Tyler Meckes:

And you guys have some AI capabilities on that as well. Could you further elaborate? Does that help with the AI? Is that AI-

 

Bob Knep:

That's part of it, absolutely. We also have what we call RightLight. Um-

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

RightSound.

 

Bob Knep:

Right, and RightSound. And RightLight allows you, what I talked about with the BRIO camera, for the lighting so you don't get darkened out. And RightSound is AI machine learning within our microphones, so as like typing on keyboards or potato chip bags crumbling and all that stuff, those microphones are learning them and eventually canceling them out.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So more like an active noise cancellation or something like that.

 

Bob Knep:

Yes. Absolutely.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

Nice.

 

Tyler Meckes:

I mean, we've all been on conference calls to where you could barely hear the person, or you hear everybody in their whole row having a meeting or having a party behind them.

 

Bob Knep:

Right.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So, this is great to be able to cut down on that and cut down on some of the missed time that I was mentioning before as well.

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely.

 

Tyler Meckes:

From my seat, sales perspective, I like to try to have each meeting as perfect as I can for the clients, for the customers, you know, really trying to wow them. To touch more on some of those stats that we were talking about earlier, breaking down the meeting and kind of the efficiency around it from getting the meeting started, running the meeting efficiently, and then also ultimately being able to have post-meeting takeaways and kind of adding to some of those notes that we were talking about before. But I guess we could talk to these one at a time. We've all had the issues of getting a meeting started, issues dialing in, not being able to connect or get that content up. Could you guys elaborate, from a Teams and a Logitech perspective, how you guys helped solve some of those major headaches and issues?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. I mean, from the Teams side, like I was mentioning earlier, when you have Webex, BlueJeans, GoLive, whatever that communicative software, third-party software is, Microsoft Teams can add that as an application inside of Teams, launch all your meetings through Teams, and then you don't have to worry about logging in and out of the different software. It's just, boom, it logs right in through the actual software.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Right.

 

Bob Knep:

And within MTR, so Microsoft Teams Room, so that's what Microsoft calls their meeting room spaces, one of the things that Microsoft did a great job in is creating the interface for simplicity approach for customers. They realize the biggest struggle is getting meetings started.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Right.

 

Bob Knep:

They wanted to make this as easy as possible. So when you walk in any meeting that's equipped with Microsoft Teams Rooms, MTR, when you walk in and your meeting's scheduled for that room because it's just a resource account on the calendar for that device, there's one button to hit, and it says 'Join'. If your employees can't read the join button and figure out, "Oh, this is my meeting. I just hit that to join-"

 

Tyler Meckes:

So, you're not talking about-

 

Bob Knep:

... then you have a bigger problem. (laughing)

 

Tyler Meckes:

Not a phone number to write down, an access code.

 

Bob Knep:

Right. Not a phone number, nothing.

 

Dan Fischetti:

No.

 

Bob Knep:

It's just you book the room. It's part of resource account-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yep.

 

Bob Knep:

You walk in, it's there, and you just hit join. Now, if you're sharing content, there's two ways to do it. One, you can actually load the content within there, within that meeting, so it comes up on the device.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Okay.

 

Bob Knep:

And you can actually share it right from the device. Or with our Logitech Tap solution, which I'm sure we'll get into, you can actually have another HDMI cable coming out, and you can share the content directly from your PC. Microsoft's done a great job in simplifying the join function. But that's what Logitech's whole theme is on how we go to market. We really try to simplify on how customers assess their meeting room needs, how they understand how our products address those needs, how we bundle those through distribution, and how we push them out to the market. And they even take it one step further. From installing it, we give them a URL. They can go through the URL and install it. And then more importantly, those are all great devices in the room. But now they're really critical pieces of equipment that you've purchased.

 

We have a product called Logitech Sync that now enables you to manage the devices, not only the MTR device in the middle of the room driving the meeting, but the cameras, the speakers, the microphones, that if there's issues with it, IT can see it and to help troubleshoot from wherever they're at.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Before we get into talking about the Logitech Tap, you guys have solutions that you could do from a one-man IT staff to a full-on enterprise solution. Do you guys have those capabilities?

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah, absolutely. So, when we look at how we go to market, we bundle. So, we have different types of products. We have Logitech Tap, which is actually the MTR device that actually drives the meeting. But then we have different AV solutions out there. And we'll talk about the two main products that we position within our bundles. First, it's our Logitech Meetup. It's an all-in-one comprehensive device that includes the camera, the microphones, and the speakers. It's more of a huddle room approach that you can just hang and display. And you can put an MTR device in there on the table or on the wall and join your meeting and the tables look clean.

 

But even more importantly, as organizations are starting to equip their collaboration spaces, it could just be that camera with a USB cord that you walk in and plug your own PC into and drive the meeting from your own PC. As Dan mentioned, not everybody, not all organizations are making that switch 100% and flipping the switch. They have multiple applications that they're leveraging. The meetup and our devices as a whole, because they're all USB-based, allow you to bring your own PC into that meeting room space. It's more efficient to have a dedicated console in there. But you can use it with your own PC.

 

Tyler Meckes:

It's just a plug and play. I know you mentioned USB.

 

Bob Knep:

Yep.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Plug and play?

 

Bob Knep:

Plug and play. Right? Just walk in-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Easy.

 

Bob Knep:

... plug in, microphone's there, camera turns on. 120-degree field of view for smaller spaces. In the larger spaces, we have our Logitech Rally. The Rally comes in three different flavors, basically. You can just buy the camera if you want, so if you do have existing speakers and microphones in your rooms, your boardrooms and stuff, you can still leverage the Rally camera. We also have the Rally system, which is just basically one mic pod and one speaker, which is designed more for medium rooms. But then we have what we call the Rally Plus, which will go to up to two speakers and up to seven microphones. So if you have those weird shape conference room like U-shape tables or large rooms, you can actually daisy chain multiple devices up there.

 

What's best about when you walk into any meeting room is the cabling. Cabling's always an issue. Right? It's probably the biggest pain point for a lot of the IT folks just setting things up. We've tried to simplify that as well. We've created hubs so it goes behind the display and under the table. There's only one cable running from the front of the room to where that table device is.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So that nice clean look.

 

Bob Knep:

Nice clean installation. Nice clean look. Not a lot of wires that they have to pull through a conduit and so forth to try to really simplify it. And the hubs really manage the peripherals at each end.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Interesting. So, it's not just a-- I wanted to touch back on, because I've had some customers as well who are saying, "I want to redo my conference space, but I have some of this legacy equipment." You guys could work together with some of those. It's not just a full rip and replace. You guys could piecemeal in based upon customizing for customer demands then. Right?

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely. Our Logitech Tap, which is driving the MTR solution is nothing but an auxiliary display. The solution's actually being driven by a small form factor PC that's usually hung behind the TV. And so there's ports on there, and you can connect other devices in there, if you have existing equipment you can plug it into it, then just plug it into the USB or HDMI port within the small form factor PC. So we absolutely talk to a lot of customers out there that have existing AV equipment that they want to continue to use but really like our other solutions and that they can integrate with.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Interesting. You guys are looking for simplicity and efficiency.

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely.

 

Tyler Meckes:

And that brings us to the next point, the meeting efficiency, trying to smooth transitions between different presenters. No lag in content. Is there anything that you guys are doing to help that, and even from a Teams perspective as well?

 

Bob Knep:

I'll say, Dan-

 

Dan Fischetti:

I don't-

 

Bob Knep:

... I think there's one thing with the MTR that can help out if and I think I know where you're going here with Tyler. A lot of times you walk into conference rooms and people have to get up, hook up their PC, or want to have the right HDMI connection, all the stuff. And people take that time to, make ... not make ... there's a break in the transition. Right?

 

Tyler Meckes:

And there's no- there's no driver associated-

 

Bob Knep:

Right.

 

Tyler Meckes:

... so they have to download that. Or-

 

Bob Knep:

With MTR, and the way they have it, every presenter can actually just put their presentation in the calendar invite, so as the presentation's over, the next person gets up, hits their presentation, boom. They don't have to worry about plugging in their PC. Everything's already loaded-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Presentation right up on the screen.

 

Bob Knep:

... in the MTR solution-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Okay.

 

Bob Knep:

... within that calendar invite.

 

Tyler Meckes:

To the third part, I really see efficiently wrapping up a meeting and really having actionable items or kind of what the main drivers are to make, it could make or break a meeting. You guys could probably agree with that. Right?

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah. Absolutely. Within Teams, when you invite somebody to a Teams meeting, right, that's a calendar invite; everybody has access to it. What I see a lot of times is people actually join the meeting while they're in the room, even though the MTR solution's in there. But people will join it. Because what they'll do is they'll take notes within that meeting. When that meeting's over, everybody can see the notes, action items. So, if there's call to actions that walk away from your meeting and you say, "Okay, this is a note taker," that will be within all their meeting notes within that meeting. So when you go back into the Teams and see that channel where that meeting was held all your notes will be there from that meeting and all the action items and everything.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Oh yeah. Yeah.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Oh, so you could-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yes.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So, you can have checklists and stuff of like-

 

Bob Knep:

Yep.

 

Tyler Meckes:

... "Oh, this is Bob. This is your responsibility for this meeting."

 

Bob Knep:

Yes.

 

Tyler Meckes:

"This is yours, Dan." And then check back and see if those items were completed then?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yep.

 

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah. I mean, even with the Teams you can go out and start creating work lists, checklists, or different tasks within the channel. So, you can actually identify this person owns this and list everything within the Teams application.

 

Dan Fischetti:

And remember, you're building that repository off of that meeting. So that ... It's all being stored in the cloud. So it's never going anywhere. So, if you had to go back three weeks later and reference back to it, it's going to be there.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Or have a follow-up meeting-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Or follow-up or whatever it is. Because let's be honest, people ... things get missed here and there. You know, and it's just part of natural human behavior. So, it's always going to be there. It's actually how I use teams.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

It is exactly how Bob explained it. And it's awesome-

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

And I think there's a great feature as well with the content capture, which Bob, you've coined the Magic White Board.

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

If you want to chat about that as well, because that-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Yes. Could-

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

... gets stored.

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah.

 

Tyler Meckes:

That was incredible as well. Could you elaborate on that?

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah. One of the things that Logitech worked closely with Microsoft on, and other great partners out there have done it as well too, is we've leveraged our BRIO camera. One of the things, the biggest pain points in meetings is you're in the video room, but then the white board's off to the side, and people are writing on it and sharing things on white board. The people on the remote side don't get to see that white board, or the person's body's blocking what they're writing.

 

Well, Microsoft built into their MTR technology, I call I the Magic White Board because it actually really makes you invisible. Right? So, this feature allows somebody to stand in front of a white board, write on the white board, walk away. Teams captures it. When I walk back in front of that white board, I'm transparent. Everything that's written on that white board is seen right through me. Right? So everybody-

 

Tyler Meckes:

Wow.

 

Bob Knep:

... on the other side, because that second camera's in the room, sees what somebody's writing on the white board. And the individual doesn't block what the content that's there.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So then is there a good way to take all of those notes and then pass them on as well?

 

Bob Knep:

Great question, Tyler. So I was just at Microsoft Ignite last week, and one of the announcements during one of the sessions was they will be able to, I believe within Q1, calendar year Q1, they will be able to now to save that and send it out as meeting notes.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So-

 

Bob Knep:

Today it's just visibly seen; there's no way to actually capture it and send it unless somebody's taking screenshots. But that will be able to save as a PDF or somehow and be able to send it out in the future, absolutely.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So great things on the horizon here.

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely.

 

Tyler Meckes:

To further touch on that and thank you for all the effective notes. I struggle as a sales rep with having a word document open and then saving it for this customer, and then for that customer. And then trying to reference when a customer calls me, try to answer or bring that up really quickly. It's very tough. And, you know, I feel like this could be a great tool for other sales professionals as well and to be more efficient.

Bob Knep:

Yes, absolutely. A lot of times, the communication between you and the customer, if they're leveraging teams as well, you can build your own channel out so you can actually share information within that channel and that team. I'm with you. Like I keep a lot of notes, and I keep different tabs. I actually use Microsoft OneNote. But I've brought that into Teams because in Teams you can bring in all kinds of applications to leverage as well.

 

So, we talked about before, it's actually a true general hub; it's a repository of everything. So that is one place you can go to anything. So I still use OneNote. I still keep all my notes in there. And I use it within Teams though, because now it's all in one place. And then the notes will have like the meetings I have with another partner that I leverage with or with Microsoft, I'll have a team in it and then different channels based on the different topics we have within that.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Wow. So, it just further elaborates on what Dan was mentioning about how efficiently it is to be able to manage all these big data stores.

 

Bob Knep:

Absolutely.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah.

 

Bob Knep:

It's a true collaborative space.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Interesting. And I know I've had some customers have some questions around Microsoft certified devices versus supported. Would you guys be able to talk about some of the differences with that as well?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah, absolutely. So, from a Logitech perspective, or... Let me back up. From a Microsoft perspective, the whole certification came about with probably Link, maybe even OCS. But they had to be certified to be a true device that Microsoft supported. And what that meant, and I'll just leverage Skype because that's what we're most familiar with, is a Skype-certified device had to be just basically plug and play. When you plugged in a device your PC saw it, from a headset… I'll just leverage a headset right now. The PC saw it. Skype saw it. It was automatically the default device for the Skype application. And all the call controls functioned on the headset. So if I'm making a Skype call I could answer, end a call, adjust all the volumes, without having to touch my keyboard, just on the headset.

 

Now, with the new Teams development, all those devices that worked on Skype work on Teams as well. They're supported by Teams. There's some new things needed to be Teams certification. There's basically two of them. One the device actually has to have a dedicated Teams button on it itself. And when you hit that it'll actually launch the Teams application.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Wow.

 

Bob Knep:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

And it also has to integrate with Cortana, the voice commands.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Okay.

 

Dan Fischetti:

If those two things are supported by your device, then it's team certified. But all of those devices you bought out there, folks, for your Skype environment still will work with teams today.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Awesome. I'm sure that gives some people some peace of mind as well-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah.

 

Tyler Meckes:

... not that, "Oh no, there's something else out and we need to buy new equipment."

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right.

 

Tyler Meckes:

So, there's some peace of mind. (laughs) And as a sales organization and a really global solutions provider of technology, Connection as a whole really looked into as a solution-oriented sales company, not just the transactional, "Here's the PO," you know, "Let's continue to get the sale," and, really trying to simplify vendor and customer interaction while also providing holistic solutions. And that's really something that we pride ourselves on. To that effect, and beyond the collaboration with just Logitech and Microsoft alone, is there any other vendors or any other manufacturers that could also plug into these solutions to make it easier as well?

 

Bob Knep:

Yeah. So I mean, from a Logitech perspective, we make some great equipment. But it's only as good as what we make it. We have a whole program called Logitech Collaboration Partners. These partners add value to what we already bring to the customers. Prime example.

 

We have a great relationship with Extron. Right? Extron has a lot of equipment that they have. And one of the devices that we use is one of their boxes that allows room controls. So a lot of times in the more boardroom type rooms, the larger conference rooms, you walk in, you want to be able to control the lighting, adjust the temperature, do the shades, what have you without all these different controls on the wall.

 

With Logitech Tap in part, paired up with Extron, we can actually create it to where you go to a separate screen within Tap, get away from the MTR interface, go to the Extron interface, and control it, all the lighting, the shading, all that right through our own equipment. So, we do have a whole ecosystem of partners that bring extra value into our world in the video collaboration space. And with them they make it so much better for our customers.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Interesting. That's great to know. Like you said, we really focus on being able to kind of add everything that we can to really simplify.

 

Bob Knep:

Yep.

 

Tyler Meckes:

All these IT folks are, as everybody is, a lot of guys have one-man IT shop, two-man IT shop, trying to do Microsoft licensing, security. I mean, you need more than one person almost for Microsoft licensing. But that's why our Center of Excellence team here and Dan's teams are always here to help.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Sure.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Besides everything that we covered, is there anything else that you guys all believe that business professionals should know about Microsoft Teams or Logitech as well?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Teams is here. It's not going anywhere. So, if you already own 365 licensing today definitely reach out to your account managers and have the conversations on how you could better, or actually, start utilizing teams and get the most out of your investment when it comes to Microsoft.

 

Bob Knep:

And for me, I'll just say, nobody likes change. Right? We're all used to our ways. And everything's changing, from how a work space looks, from offices, to high cubes, to open office collaboration spaces, to the tools we use. And there's an education process with that change to help keep- people get to adapt to this new way of working. Working with Logitech and Microsoft and Connection, we can educate your customers out there on the simplistic approach of what Teams brings, because everybody owns the license, or most people own the license.

 

Education on why video, the power of video, how it speeds up productivity, enhances the overall user experience. How the meeting room space doesn't have to just be a table with a speaker phone in the middle of it, that there's cost-effective ways to equip video and get more from your spaces within the organization. And just the whole entire simplicity that Logitech can bring, from the way we package it, to the way we made our products, and the way we support your efforts out there. It isn't as difficult as it seems as it was in the past.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Very well said. Jen, do you have anything else to add?

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

No. I'll just piggyback off of what Bob said. The workforce, we have more millennials entering the workforce. They'll be the majority of the workforce before we know it. I think it's 2025 we'll be more than 50%. They have grown up with video. They live in a video first world. So, if you're not ready for change, it's going to come at some point. They're eventually going to be the decision makers. And video can help you as an organization sustain competitive advantages, obtain competitive advantages, increase employee engagement, and recruit better talent.

 

Just imagine, when you're on the phone with a customer, an audio only call versus a video call is a completely different experience. You'll be able to read human cues versus an audio only call where you're not sure what they're doing in the background. The power of video is enormous and when you're ready to flip that switch on with what you're already paying for with Microsoft Teams, it's just going to enhance that Teams experience for you.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Wow. Very well said. Jen, Bob, Dan, thank you so much for your time today. I hope you guys had as much fun as I did.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Thank you, Tyler.

 

Jen Jakubowicz:

Absolutely.

 

Bob Knep:

Thank you.

 

Tyler Meckes:

Please contact your Connection sales rep to learn more about Logitech, Microsoft, and any other ways that Connection could help with any of your video conferencing needs. Thanks.

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