Videoconferencing technology is something many companies feel the need to invest in, regardless of whether or not they use it and oftentimes that monetary outlay isn't cheap. Now comes along a new system called Highfive which will at least make that investment a bit easier on the bottom line.
The Highfive device costs $799 and is being launched by a company of the same name headed by a former Google Apps executive, Shan Sinha.
A good majority of videoconferencing options are much more expensive, with installations sometimes hitting $20,000 per room. At the price Highfive is sold at, many small- and medium-sized businesses will be able to afford the system.
Highfive eliminates the need for PIN codes and confusion on how to get phones and video screens to work. It has a 1080p camera and a microphone with a 30-foot range.
Sinha says the device should take no more than two minutes to set up and is designed to sit on top of a TV or on a wall mount. Calls begin on a phone and are then beamed to a TV screen using the accompanying app. Participants in the call are sent a link to open the call either on a phone using the app, or within a web browser using a plug-in.
"If someone else comes in and kicks you out of the conference room, no need to end the call and start over," said Sinha. "With Highfive, you can just pull the call back to the phone and go into another room without interrupting the call."
Right now participants using the app will need to share the same corporate domain and the call is encrypted. The system includes a number of features, including audio-only communication and screen sharing.
According to Sinha, a lot of thought went into creating the device. It was reportedly a challenge worth taking on because working at Google showed him how video can transform a company.
"People feel better-connected and decisions are made faster," said Sinha. He said there have already been a number of customers, including Shutterfly and Overstock.com.
Before being launched, Highfive tested its videoconferencing technology in closed beta at more than 100 companies. Shipping of the system is expected to take between four and six weeks.
After paying the $799 for the system, Highfive is free to use. The company is also reportedly planning a $10 per user, per month premium version.