Seeing collaboration through a Prysm

At ISE in Amsterdam this week, San Jose-headquartered visual workplace vendor Prysm launched a new system geared to integrating its established video display and screen-share business with the collaborative enterprise. Prysm for Enterprise enables employees–local and remote–to work together on content displayed on screens of any size, from mobile devices to the large scale wall displays for which Prysm is known (it also unveiled a new 98″ LCD display at the event).

But what’s special about being able to share screens, and why is the technology of potential interest to marketers? I spoke with Paige O’Neill, CMO at Prysm, to get some perspective on the announcement.

Prysm has been around ten years, she told me. “It’s business model had been around selling large screen video displays based on proprietary technology.” A year and half ago, Prysm acquired Anacore, a collaboration software company, and moved to develop a combined solution, reflecting the growing market for workplace collaboration tools.

“We’re going beyond individual conference rooms,” O’Neill said. Where Prysm used to serve five, ten, twenty conference rooms, said O’Neill, “we’re now serving an even broader swathe of the enterprise. Beyond meeting rooms, we’re opening it up to any mobile device. There’s certainly a need now to connect remote employees, but there’s also good reason to talk about what’s happening in the office environment. It needs to be engaging too.”

Prysm engages business teams by offering dynamic screens. In other words, we’re not talking about pre-set displays, or displays which are controlled only by one presenter. If it can appear on a screen, you can pull it into a Prysm display. “We enable you to pull together so many different kinds of content. It could be Salesforce, it could be Microsoft: you can pull it onto our screens. The collaboration opportunities come from having all of this in one work area.”

Not only can users view many different kinds of content in the same display, the controls can either be locked for one presented, or be passed around so that anyone in the virtual meeting can scroll around or share content. A user won’t, of course, have the identical experience in front of a 100″ wall screen and on his or her phone. “Certainly we won’t claim it’s the same,” admitted O’Neill, “but on a mobile device you can scroll back and forth and see anything you can see on a larger screen.”

What’s more, at the session’s conclusion, everything displayed is stored for users in the cloud. “You can go back and pull it up, just as it was, from any location.”

Prysm’s new enterprise offer reflects SaaS-type pricing, O’Neill said. This signals a cloud-first strategy at Prysm, which had traditionally shipped a server to clients along with the display screens. “That’s going away,” O’Neill told me. “We’ve been moving towards the cloud for about two years.”

As for potential uses of the technology for the marketing team, “I wish I would have had this at my previous companies,” O’Neill said. She’s had the experience of working in teams split all over the world, and divided not just geographically but by time zone too. The distribution of the team retarded the review cycles for campaigns and creative. “All that goes away for the marketing team with Prysm,” said O’Neill. Capturing the review experience together, then saving it, reduces time to market. The Prysm technology also speeds on-boarding for sales teams, she told me. Reps in different locations can be trained together, using the same materials, and O’Neill believes visual presentation of information aids recall.

Prysm Visual Workplace and the new Enterprise offering is available immediately. Prysm Mobile will be available in the second quarter of 2016.

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