Huddle Opportunity

Conferencing specialist Konftel has just turned thirty years old and are still offering partners value in a market which is evolving more rapidly than ever. On the eve of their latest launch, Konftel’s Tommy Edlund, Director of Global Sales and Jeff May, Regional Sales Director, spoke to Comms Business about the Huddle Room opportunity for partners.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What is your assessment of the conferencing landscape right now?

Tommy Edlund (TE): The conference business is quite exciting right now. The huddle room concept is exploding. The conference phone business is growing at about 6-8% per year in general. If you compare that with the huddle room space… that is growing at 50% year on year. There is a huge demand from customers for solutions that combine conferencing and video for small numbers of users, typically 3-5 people. Some people still want the big meeting rooms but more often we are seeing demand for spontaneous meetings in smaller spaces or discussion rooms. Lots of companies are distributed internationally and they want a quick and easy video and audio solution. There are over 32 million huddle rooms globally right now, but only a small fraction of them are video enabled according to Frost and Sullivan. Price points for video conference equipment have come down and are a lot more affordable these days, especially when you compare them to the traditional big conferencing room systems.

Tommy Edlund, Director of Global Sales

CBM: Tell us about your new platform you have just launched

TE: We have just announced the Konftel 800, available mid year, which is a hybrid conference phone (SIP/USB/Bluetooth) that meets the needs arising from the rapid migration to VoIP platforms and improved audio quality. At the same time it’s addressing the growth in the huddle room segment, where USB is the main mode of connection.

Jeff May (JM): The Konftel 800 will also be part of our video conference kit (Konftel C50800 Hybrid) with the Konftel Cam50, a PTZ conference camera with exceptional image quality and 12x optical zoom. The Konftel OCC Hub brings all the devices together, so a single USB cable is all you need to connect the camera, the conference phone and the screen to your laptop. The hybrid concept also provides the freedom to welcome participants via regular phone calls.

We are bringing something which the channel can bring to every customer and serve whatever meeting requirements they have in any location. More importantly they can make money on it, this product is not just affordable for customers, the resellers can make good margin on that also. Resellers don’t think they can make money on video because it’s too expensive or too specialised or complicated to support. Others are of the opinion that a customer can just go out and buy all this stuff themselves and there is no role for the Channel, we completely disagree and are being very Channel focused in our approach.

CBM: What problems are these new solutions addressing?

TE: People bring their computers into meeting rooms and often have to deal with hassle of connecting multiple cables, that might not be supported by their devices. In our setup we just have one cable and it works for every computer (USB).

Customers want to bring their own device when it comes to conferencing. They want to bring their laptop in which might be running Teams, Zoom or something else. The audio and video has to be good, and it has to work perfectively from the start so those meetings can be effective straight away. Meetings are now shorter and more frequent, there has to be an efficient setup because people can lose half the meeting time just trying to make the technology work.

Jeff May, Regional Sales Director

CBM: The selling opportunity for partners?

JM: Partners can now go back to their customers and upsell these new solutions. All of our video kits are compatible with our USB audio devices, a lot of which are already out in the field. Any reseller that has sold Konftel now has that upsell opportunity and it is a really effective way for their customers to get better collaboration solutions because they already have the audio device.

We have complete bundles from a small room up to a 20 person room as a kit that resellers can buy as they need. For the existing customers which already have Konftel audio we are putting special promotions out there so they can get high definition video for the first time.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine