The Future of Workplace Collaboration – Six Five In the Booth at InfoComm 2024

By Melody Brue, Patrick Moorhead - June 17, 2024

On this episode of the Six Five In the Booth, host Melody Brue is joined by HP‘s Greg Baribault, Vice President, Product & Portfolio Management, HP Hybrid Systems for a conversation on the evolution of workplace collaboration technology. With HP’s acquisition of Poly, the combined expertise of both companies in computing and audio/video conferencing has paved the way for innovative collaboration solutions that set new industry standards.

Their discussion covers:

  • The synergy between HP’s computing prowess and Poly’s audio/video conferencing expertise to create unparalleled collaboration products.
  • Insights into the launch of next-gen video conferencing solutions including the Poly Studio G62 and the Poly Studio Base Kit G9 Plus for Microsoft Teams Rooms, emphasizing the importance of Ethernet connections for easy setup and scalability in various meeting spaces.
  • The critical role of next-generation hardware in underpinning AI-driven software applications, particularly for enabling features like Poly’s Director AI, to deliver exceptional meeting experiences.
  • HP’s integration with Zoom Device Management into the Poly Lens platform, offering a comprehensive management view for IT teams and outlining future plans with other ecosystem partners.
  • The commitment towards sustainability from both HP and Poly, highlighting how it is being integrated as a differentiator in their new product generation and sketching out future sustainability initiatives.

Learn more at HP.

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Transcript

Melody Brue: Welcome to The Six Five In the Booth. I’m Melody Brue for Moor Insights & Strategy. We are here at InfoComm Las Vegas in the HP booth, and I am here with Greg Baribault. He is vice president for product and portfolio management, HP Hybrid Systems. How are you doing?

Greg Baribault: I’m doing great. How are you?

Melody Brue: Good. We’re so happy to have you here. Lots of stuff going on in the booth. Lots of action here in Las Vegas. How’s it been so far for you?

Greg Baribault: It’s been packed. This booth has been packed from day one. It’s a great show. It feels like a return. It’s kind of the older days of InfoComm. Very crowded, very busy, and lots of great questions and engagement.

Melody Brue: Yeah. Let’s talk first about just the combination of HP and Poly. You’re taking the HP Compute and the Poly audio video and combining those two for solutions that really other vendors can’t match. Can you just talk about-

Greg Baribault: Yeah, yeah. In a sense, yeah. I mean, HP has had a very long history, 85-year history of building technology products. Actually started with an audio device ironically, but now as global powerhouse in compute and PCs, and now with AI-powered PCs as well, combined with this AI video audio expertise that Poly has had for over hundreds of years actually, combined with their Plantronics background. Yeah, we’re really bringing that together in a way that I think is dynamic and create some solutions that will be unmatched in the industry.

Melody Brue: Some of your announcements here at the show, the Poly Studio G62 and the new Poly Studio Base Kit G9 Plus. That’s a lot. I have to read it.

Greg Baribault: That’s a mouthful.

Melody Brue: For Microsoft Teams rooms. Let’s talk about, one, the need for these solutions, and then also the way that the ethernet set up, how that simplifies just set up for rooms.

Greg Baribault: Well, if you think about a typical meeting space, you actually have multiple customers. We see the world with many customers. There’s an end user that we designed solutions for. That is the experience that everybody has when they walk in the room. The ability for Poly to deliver product that runs from the smallest room to the largest boardroom and multi-purpose rooms means that for that end user, they’re going to have a consistent experience. They know confidently how to use it everywhere they go. But we also see integrators, our channel, as a customer. They’re the ones that actually go and hook up the spaces and make sure that they’re successful and designed well for their customers. With both the G62 and the G9 Plus, we design that, first and foremost, as an integrator-ready product.

So, simplifying cable runs, simplifying where different cameras or audio devices or control pads have to be installed, reducing cost, reducing complexity, and increasing reliability. And then, the third constituency of our customer base is the IT pro. At the end of the day, when the installer is gone, that room has to stay healthy. So, we have our management suite, Poly Lens, that we also announced as being integrated with Zoom Rooms management portal that allows our IT pros to have one pane of glass to manage every room in their estate. No more broken rooms, they know exactly what to go address, and much of that can just be done remotely or actually fix itself. So, keeping rooms up and running and having that great end-user customer experience.

Melody Brue: You have integrations with both Microsoft Teams and Zoom Rooms. What is your plan for your long-term ecosystem partners?

Greg Baribault: Well, I mean, look, we meet customers where they are. Many customers are standardizing on either Teams or Zoom or Google in some cases. That doesn’t mean that they never need to interoperate with other people. A customer may have 100% Zoom Rooms, they’re still going to encounter customers or partners that have Team Rooms. So, we’ve built a very nice interoperability platform with all of our partners together to make sure that any meeting that you have, you can have a successful engaging, immersive meeting in any space.

Melody Brue: Most people use more than one platform.

Greg Baribault: True. Today, yes.

Melody Brue: Yeah. You mentioned AI. The AI software, the solutions just require a lot of power, a lot of compute. You guys are talking about the importance of next generation platforms, like the Studio G62. How do you work together or how do you put those two things together to make those solutions that powerful?

Greg Baribault: That’s a great question. The end goal, of course, in any room, is for people to feel impactful, to feel productive, to feel collaborative. The way that I think you best achieve that is by making people feel like they have an authentic human connection with each other. For you and I, that’s easy. We’re sitting right next to each other. But for a remote participant, how do I feel like I’m authentically connected to that remote participant. Through the AI in the room, we have the ability to leverage intelligent camera, intelligent audio devices to frame each person. Maybe when I start talking, I get a video that’s directed right at me or a camera looking right at my face.

One of the benefits we have with the Poly solution is what we call an outside-in and an inside-out point of view. Cameras may be on the walls that look in at the table or cameras on the table that look out at the participants, always providing the best face for everyone involved. But… Oh, sorry. Go ahead.

Melody Brue: I was going to say I really like the device that goes in the center of the table, because I think that it’s so important not only to see the person speaking but also to see people’s reactions. I think that’s such an important part of a conversation. If you’re at home and there’s a meeting going on inside the office or a boardroom somewhere, it’s not just what the person is saying but how people around them are reacting. If you’re missing out on that, I think you’re missing a big part of what’s happening at the meeting.

Greg Baribault: You’re 100% right. Many of the studies have shown that more than half of the conversation that takes place is not verbal. It’s body language and nodding and gestures that help you understand what the other person intends. The only way to really achieve that in a meeting space is to have cameras that are smart enough to direct their point of view to really capture the entire conversation. That’s where AI comes in. So, recognizing faces, knowing where people are looking, and using the right camera at the right time, so you can always see my face clearly. AI will play a role there.

And then, the other places in audio to reduce all the background noise and distractions and not having the bag of potato chips come through to the other end. AI plays a significant role there, and Poly has been investing in that space for many, many years. And then, the last component for AI is everything we just talked about. Sounds complex. I have cameras, I have different microphones. How do I make that simple for the user? I don’t want to have to be an engineer to understand how to use a conference room. Let AI do the job. It can direct what’s happening in the room, so all I have to do is hit start and the room takes over, and we let AI do the right thing and simplify my meeting experience.

Melody Brue: Yeah. Well, AI is probably drowning out all of this stuff around us because-

Greg Baribault: There’s a lot of noise here.

Melody Brue: … a lot of action happening in the booth and around us. You have a couple of things here. We’ve got some props. What do we have here?

Greg Baribault: Yeah. Just a couple things. This is the G9 Plus. This is a Windows-based system. This is for Teams rooms, and I mentioned earlier, integrator-ready. This simplifies deployment and installation by allowing the remote console, the tabletop controller to plug directly in with ethernet and be powered with PoE. Now with one cable, I can run one cable to the center of the table and have my point of control there. We have ingest as well. Now, if I want to plug in my laptop, maybe show a demonstration, I can plug it directly into the PC without another box involved. So, removing complexity, improving reliability.

And then, the other one was the G62. This one has some interesting features as well. Again, integrator-ready. It allows the integrator to simply mount a mounting plate maybe behind the TV or on a wall and just using a magnetic attach, the compute mounts. If I need to service it, super easy. All the ports you could need. This is even powered with PoE, so you don’t need a second power brick for it. Simply plug it into the network, plug in your display and console, and it’s good to go.

Melody Brue: Very cool.

Greg Baribault: This is our Android version, Windows version. Meet customers where they are. A solution for any space.

Melody Brue: One thing we haven’t talked about but I think has come up several times in recent discussions is the sustainability aspect of how these things are being built. I think HP has a really long history of sustainability in mind. I’m actually looking at a really nice display of some of this sustainability features. Poly is now really paying attention to that and building with that in mind. Can we talk a little bit about that as we wrap up?

Greg Baribault: Yeah, sure. HP, huge commitment to sustainability. Yesterday, in fact, we released the annual report for sustainability for 2023. To give an example of the impact that’s had, this product, the plastics, 80% post-consumer recycled plastic. The backplane, 20% recycled metals. We are measuring this as well, and that is a commitment that will only get better over time, not just in manufacturing, but in shipping, packaging, and power usage when it’s installed in each space. Definitely, a commitment, company-wide.

Melody Brue: Awesome.

Greg Baribault: One other thing I should mention is this G62 just won InfoComm’s AV Technology Best of Show award.

Melody Brue: That is awesome, congratulations.

Greg Baribault: Thank you.

Melody Brue: Well, that’s a great way to wrap up. Thank you so much for joining us.

Greg Baribault: Thank you.

Melody Brue: Thank you everybody for joining us. Again, we are at the HP Poly booth at InfoComm Las Vegas, and this is the Six Five On the Road. I’m Melody Brue with Moor Insights & Strategy. Thanks for joining us.

Melody Brue

Mel Brue is vice president and principal analyst covering modern work and financial services. Mel has more than 25 years of real tech industry experience in marketing, business development, and communications across various disciplines, both in-house and at agencies, with companies ranging from start-ups to global brands. She has built a unique specialty working in technology and highly regulated spaces, such as mobile payments and finance, gaming, automotive, wine and spirits, and mobile content, ensuring initiatives address the needs of customers, employees, lobbyists and legislators, as well as shareholders. 

Patrick Moorhead

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.