Doug Remington | PGi | TechWeek18

Avatar Ben Fower | 24/12/2018

Doug Remington from PGi joined us at TechWeek18 to discuss how PGi are revolutionising web conferencing. Hosted by Will Spalding.

Will: So, I’m happy now to be joined by Doug Remington SVP and business development at PGI.

Doug: That’s right.

Will: Doug thanks for coming on the show with us today. So, it’s a fellow Brit finally as well. So we’ve had different pan-European on today so, it’s good to be on home soil even though you are a Scotsman we won’t go down that wormhole. Yeah, Doug thanks for joining us. So, tell us a little bit about PGi and what brings you down to Tech Week here in Frankfurt.

Doug: So PGi has been in the collaboration space we were one of the first people in the space for 27 years now, so we’re globally wide pure-play collaboration okay. Why are we here in Frankfurt? I’ve got a team here in Frankfurt. So, we’ve been in Germany for many years right across EMEA. Obviously, we’re trying to do as many of these shows especially the focus on the cloud to kind of get a name out there and meet some of our existing customers, but obviously looking for new and exciting opportunities.

Will: So it’s like that home from home feeling pretty much. So, you mainly specialize in the idea of webinars or that sort of area. I know that’s quite a brief summary, maybe you can give us a little bit more insight into the exact type of technologies that you really specialized in.

Doug: Yes, I think probably meetings is an increasingly used word in the past was maybe conferencing, web conferencing. A lot of people referring to meetings now as the modalities come together. You’ve got what I would say your day-to-day meetings and regular meeting rooms that you would use on a regular basis multiple times a day versus webinars and webcasting which tends to be more event-driven or campaign driven for slightly different applications a larger audience. We very much cover both of those areas depending on the requirements but they’re slightly different tools.

Will: Yeah absolutely. I think from my perspective there’s been a lot of businesses that have focused largely on probably lower end products, which a lot of customers use from a real low end scale, so you’ve got your Office 365 which I think does that sort of thing. What do you guys do that’s unique in terms of things that are really important such as audio, visuals and those areas.

Doug: Sure so, I mean we are a pedigree was we virtually invented video conferencing back in the day, right? What that’s meant for us is we built a rock solid global network for audio and then we built on top of that with web conferencing video. So just at the start of this year we really completely re-released our new platforms called Global Meet Five what that does that encompasses all those points, the video, the web, the audio on a technology-based that’s going to take people forward for the future and brings in things like HD audio and HD video, which is really the way that people are using the tools more and more and so that’s really our focus and where the business is taking particular tools forward and that really reflects the way that people are working and the way people using these tools now.

Will: I mean, this is just something I thought about just now as we’re talking about it. Are you finding because of the fact that before flights would have been a little bit more expensive back in the day even like we’re saying five-ten years ago even are you finding now because of the cheaper ways to transport with flights or whatever? I won’t say what, because we’re probably not allowed to, but are you finding that maybe there’s less of a demand for webinars or do you feel especially with the Asian market the US and European market that there’s always going obviously be a need for it.

Doug: It’s the opposite, to be honest. The travel cost thing is still a big thing and lots of organizations are constantly looking at how they bring down their travel expenses. It’s not just the cost of the travel it’s the time that you lose when you’re travelling and the difficulties that brings and so some of the big trends that we’re seeing out there at the moment is the digital workplace or modern workplace and you know that the younger workforce and demanding more flexibility, home working, remote working and teams are becoming more diverse. Either could be within the country it could be internationally globally and people being brought together. People now expect to be able to run meetings in a way that they would in the past, but they would have to be around a table but now they may be in the office at their desktop, they may be working from home on their laptop or they may be in transit on their mobile, but they still want to have as close to that experience where they can do all the things where they can share ideas either via audio talking or visually via screen sharing or by using video, seeing each other and getting the personal touch. These are all that these are all things that people want to try and replicate that meeting experiences and get the most and spike productivity as well as saving money.

Will: Yeah. Absolutely, I mean it’s a no-brainer at the end of the day that sometimes transport isn’t always a necessity in terms of being able to communicate so doing that as an alternative, especially not just having to pick up the phone. It’s always it’s good. Anyway, so tell us a little bit more about TechWeek. What are you looking forward to seeing here at this Expo?

Doug: Yeah, I think, for me, when you come to these events, I think it just never ceases to amaze me just the cloud piece and the as a service kind of approach to how business is going, and it makes sense. We’ve always been about that cloud piece because the minute when you talk about what you’re talking about flexibility, scalability and that’s the way the modern world is working. Everything is time, speed, agility, these are all things that are key to all these different solutions. That’s very much at the heart of what we do. Everything we do is based in the PGi Cloud. There’s no on-prem equipment you just connect into our services and leverage it when you need to use it and away you go. And if you want to scale up or add things and it’s easy, you just go straight away.

Will: Whether you can say to me or not because obviously you probably want to keep your cards close to your chest so that fellow competitors don’t know really what’s going on. But the user experience side of things and with the progression of AI is there anything in particular that you’re getting from your customer base and your audience that they’re really looking for as a new generation or something new other than just traditional audio video. Is there anything else?

Doug: I spend a lot of my time in front of customers because I’m a lot of people talk about the outside/in approach. We have a big kind of culture and PGI on outside/in so much for our ideas come from customers asking us ‘we love to do this’ ‘we’d like to take this here’ and all that. There’s a piece of functionality and the way the product works that we’re going to be developing that comes off the back of that. I think one of the key things that we brought the new platform is these tools. So what people really want is to be able to have adoption right? So, if somebody selects meeting product or tool that they want to take across the organization. They need it to be adopted and for it to be adopted it needs to be intuitive and needs to be simple. One of the challenges organizations have is they have these multitudes of tools that people have acquired over the years and over the months and they can be complex not easy to use and as a result, they fall by the wayside. So we did a lot of end user testing as well as with our customers to make sure that, again, someone who’s never seen the tool before can easily navigate it, pick it up run a meeting and get it going and so those are kind of key points that we keep focusing on ease-of-use, simplicity and also adding some extra functionality and things that our customers are telling us that they want for the future.

Will: Pretty interesting point there. I think in terms of where we see things going now, I personally couldn’t have been able to give such a thorough, in-depth answer, of course, but in terms of where technology is going, I don’t know have a clue, so I think it’s always going to be a guessing game.

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