A start-up in Waterloo, Ont. is aiming to get the cables out of the meeting room and allow anyone to walk in with any device and start a presentation within 10 seconds.
Ubiq has developed a wireless presentation solution that is eight months into its beta phase, and is being used by 52 organizations in over 100 meeting rooms across Canada. Jacqueline Chan, a business development associate with Ubiq, said they hope to roll the product out in 2016, once more features are developed and feedback from the beta program is incorporated.
Chan told ITBusiness.ca the company was founded by University of Waterloo graduates in 2013 with the goal of getting a presenter connected to a projector in one click – putting simplicity for the end user first.
“Cables are outdated and they never seem to work,” said Chan. “You come into a meeting room with a Macbook Air, but you need to bring a dongle. Some computers have HDMI and some have VGA. And lots of people are now connecting with their smartphones. It’s hard to meet the demand from all these formats and devices.”
Ubiq began with that frustration of end users with meeting room technology, and their lack of understanding of why making a presentation has to be so difficult. Chan said what makes their solution unique is that while other wireless presentation tools just focus on hardware, Ubiq’s focuses on software but has a hardware component.
“We don’t want to be seen as hardware, but as software,” said Chan.
The Ubiq device sits at the back of the projector connected via Ethernet and HDMI and is out of sight and mind for the end user, who uses a software client installed in their endpoint to connect to the projector and begin their presentation.
“In the future, we want to integrate with other software and make it more of a unified communications and collaboration tool that’s easy for end users and easy for IT,” said Chan.
For now, while the product is in beta Ubiq’s solution is priced at $750 for the hardware and a $250 annual fee for the license and support – that’s expected to rise to $1500 and $400 respectively when the product launches. The license fee includes maintenance, support and hardware repair.
Ubiq is targeting any business with more than 200 employees, and Chan said they see three sets of competition cables, enterprise-focused wireless presentation tools that are focused on the enterprise space but are hardware-based and lack for security, and tools like Google Chromecast and Apple TV that are easy to use but are not focused on meeting business needs.
According to Chan, Ubiq addresses security in part by integrating with Active Directory, allowing users to use those credentials to log into the system.