The $6.7 billion telepresence and video communication category hasn’t evolved much since we were introduced to Cisco and Polycom. At the same time Smart TVs are making video conferencing easier. But it’s still not that easy.
Hello is a new startup addressing this space — created by two former refugees from the war in Kosovo — which has now passed it’s Kickstarter campaign by over 1,000 per cent. The primary competitors in the professional are Polycom, Cisco, and Lifesize. But the price for one Hello device will be $199 which is a lot cheaper than the industry average of $5,000+. Kickstarter users will get free unlimited use of Hello services for life.
Today we only have two options if we want to do some kind of video interaction with our TVs as consumers or professionals. Buy an expensive Smart TV with apps built-in and a camera. Or, at the high-end, spend a small fortune on a Cisco or Polycom video conferencing system which usually means losing the first 15 productive minutes of every meeting wrestling.
The Hello device is designed to be affordable for businesses and individuals. It requires only two cables – HDMI and power – and then turns any TV into a voice-controlled cross-platform communication device, with wireless screen sharing, live broadcasting, and motion-activated security surveillance features.
But it’s not a typical webcam, it is a voice-controlled device that you can use to talk with friends, family, and colleagues on a video chat service, monitor your kids or pets at home, interact with your business partners or your team, and share your phone or tablet screen without extra cables. It will also act as a security camera in a home as it will send you notifications to any device when it detects unusual activity.
Hello has a 4k video sensor, an array of 4 smart microphones, a 130° field of vision, built-in accelerometer, and a tilting lens, so everyone in the room is seen and heard. The platform will now work on Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, and Cisco WebEx.
Users can wirelessly share the screen of any computer or mobile device on any Hello-equipped TV, stream live events using the Solaborate platform, and keep an eye on homes and offices while away with HELLO’s motion detection and notification system. The device is cross-platform, working with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. While other devices work with Miracast, Chromecast or Airplay exclusively, Hello supports wireless sharing across any device or platform.
And unlike these competitors, Hello offers live broadcasting and security camera features, doesn’t require any training to install and use, has Airplay+ChromeCast+Miracast for wireless screen sharing across any platform or device, and voice control is an intuitive way to command Hello, something you won’t find on others.
They will be charging for the purchase of the hardware device, but to supplement this revenue, Hello services will be subscription based, giving users the choice of a monthly or yearly subscription – exact subscription fees are currently being determined.
The founders are siblings Labinot and Mimoza Bytyqi who fled the war in Kosovo in 1999, arriving as refugees on the West Coast of the US. Labinot worked with SAP for seven years, before launching his first business – CoreALM. The siblings launched Solaborate together in 2012.