The word collaboration is hackneyed in AV — but, I feel we need keep using it as it does, in fact, define a trend in business. People want to connect, share and work in groups — whether they are in-person or working via the Internet. Many would argue that Barco started all this, in AV at least, with their wireless collaboration system ClickShare, but, truth be told, it has been around in AV forever — thanks to Extron, Crestron, Kramer, AMX, FSR and the like. They’ve been building systems that allow people to connect in meetings for years.
And, then came video connectivity via videoconferencing. It took FOREVER to catch on in our industry, but that’s thanks to network-based VTC’s like this from Cisco, Polycom and even Skype, connectivity outside the room became a reality.
But, these two systems — the room connectivity and the video connectivity – were separate; and, maybe only connected via a control system. But, bot truly integrated.
Sure, movements in Unified Communications (UC) have helped connect them but, in reality, these are mostly desperate systems as well.
Like most of you, I first saw the Prysm Visual Workplace when they were literally marketing their Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) tile walls. I was impressed with the colorimetry of the system, but, more impressive, was the software that was behind it – and that wasn’t what they were pushing at the time. I think they accidentally stumbled upon something color than cool with their software platform.
Oh, and, before I go on, NO Prysm is not paying me to write this.
Prysm eventually realized what they had in their Visual Workplace and recently started marketing it as a stand-alone product — it’s a software platform and it can run on anything. In fact, at ISE, they had it running on their own LPD wall but also had it on an Avocor collaboration board too. That’s a good idea and, in my opinion, they should run with hat and sell it too — but, I digress.
The Prysm Visual Workplace combines all of your content, applications and communication tools together into a single “digital canvas.” A digital canvas? I’ve been preaching the gospel of this digital canvas concept for years — I think this is the future of AV. Not 1920×1080 or 3840×2160 images — but digital canvases that are infinite in size but you display whatever parts of it you want to — when you want to. I’ll write more about this in the future, but, for now, there are only a few companies in the entire AV universe who get this concept — one of them is Prysm! The others? Well, kudos to Mersive and Nueva.
Back to Prysm. It all starts with their Application Suite — it allows for ANYONE to connect (yes, even iOS, Windows, Mac, Android, Chrome, Google, and on and on and on users) then collaborate with ANY software tool they are using on ANY display (big, small or even smartphone-sized) and meet, virtually. Each connected user sees whatever part of the digital canvas hear she wants to see or can see it all — just has if they were in a Prysm room — or any room filled with displays as, remember I said this earlier, the Prysm Visual Workplace works on any display technology — not just their own.
Still don’t get it? Well, that’s because you likely have a hard time selling software — more on that in a moment, but, in the meantime, watch these two videos that explain it all:
So, now you get it?
Here’s the kicker — you’d be selling software. That has never been done in AV — not universally. We, as an industry, have a tough time selling software. Ironically, your customers buy software all the time and they understand that sales process — and, since Prysm’s is SaaS-based, it really should be a no-brainer. But, truth is, most of the time, you probably don’t even mention it — unless it’s bundled in with the hardware (like the Interactive Whiteboard or Collaboration Board market is — that’s just software on a touchscreen, by the way). But, since it’s packaged together with hardware, we sell the heck out of it — Wainhouse says we will sell $1.4 Billion worth of it in 2018, in fact.
Prysm gets that though — they are selling their software suite bundled with the hardware — so you can buy (or sell) it other as a stand-alone suite of software or bundled with a Prysm Display.
I knew I would eventually write this story following my demo of the suite at ISE earlier this year. As I mentioned earlier, Prysm had it bundled and working on a few different third-party hardware products, in addition to their own. A giant light-bulb went off in my head and I immediately realized this is the ultimate, so far, digital canvas and collaboration space. And, if you watched that video, above, you should “get it” too. This is amazing stuff.
So, I called Prysm and asked what their plans were with this stuff and where did they see this market going. Here’s a podcast I did earlier this week with Psysm CMO Paige O’Neill where she explains their concept — it sounds very familiar to me.
But, can you sell software?
I sure hope so. She describes all this as the Prysm Digital Workplace (instead of using the term collaboration) for all the same confusing reasons described in the beginning of this piece. I think that’s good descriptor. But, no matter what it’s called, or how you sell it, it’s, currently, the best complete collaboration system on the market — it’s collaboration on steroids.