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With growing competition, companies need to enhance their productivity through improved collaboration between the employees. While the collaboration solutions available in the market today offer a plethora of functionalities, inherent complexity and lack of flexibility in using these solutions drives down their ROI. With hardly any visibility and ease into the real-time collaboration set up and execution, most companies prefer to steer clear of making significant investments for collaboration solutions. Attuned to these market challenges, London, UK-based LoopUp brings a fresh perspective to the collaboration arena by offering solutions that provide seamless collaboration capabilities to teams spread in different geographies.
In an interview with CIO Applications, Michael Hughes MBE, co-CEO, and co-founder of LoopUp (LSE:LOOP) shares his venture’s strategy and solutions in making collaboration more comfortable than ever.
Could you detail the complexity of conventional problems in the collaboration space?
Today, the process of joining a conference call is very intricate. Typically, the system that is leading an instance of collaboration might send the access code to other participants to join the conversation. However, it seldom happens that the participants join the session without any glitch. Many a time, either one or many of the participants are dropped out of the session. And in a few instances, the audio and video signals fail to perform efficiently. All these intricacies result in a failed collaboration event.
The leader and participants in the conference call must have visibility into other participants’ activity status, during the process of collaboration. Additionally, if a participant confronts a snag while joining the conference call, the leader must be aware of this development. The existing suite of collaboration tools in the marketplace fails to provide an overview of the call participants, collaboration process, or a simple user interface (UI).
Although the major technology providers have ventured into the collaboration space with a myriad of solutions, each having a broad gamut of features, simplicity in collaboration remains a distant dream for many companies using these technologies.
We follow a simple principle: If users are not ready to use additional capabilities then there is no need to incorporate the pre-built functionalities in the solution
LoopUp takes an entirely different path to meet the user expectations. We make companies embrace advanced technology with ease. We follow a simple principle: If users are not ready to use additional capabilities, then there is no need to incorporate the pre-built functionalities in the solution. Hence, we offer the features in User Interface (UI) according to clients’ specification.
The adoption rate and usage of LoopUp have been skyrocketing, and this is an indicator of our competence in the race against the technology behemoths.
What is the process that you follow to integrate your solution into the client’s operating environment?
Enterprises can visit the website for the initial sign up. Based on the client specification, we roll out a gamut of communication features. An enterprise user receives a login ID and uses password wizard for installing LoopUp in their environment. LoopUp allows the users to send the invites to their contacts using MS Outlook. When a user calls a contact, our solution displays the calendar invites in Outlook. Subsequently, they can add invites with dial-up numbers. Apart from dial conferencing, LoopUp supports a broad gamut of communication tasks. For instance, if you join my conference call, then I will receive a notification for it via email, a web application, and mobile app saying a participant has joined the conference.
If a conference call leader or a participant sends me a link as an invitation to join the call, I can view who is on the call once I accept the invitation. What is more, non-invitees can join through the web interface by saying "hey it’s me." The leader of the call can add new people and put the non-invitees on hold. If two business entities are engaged in negotiations, they can share their screen and make the communication more transparent.
We have dedicated applications for iOS and Android mobile platforms. With a browser and access to the Internet, users can use our web client to monitor the calls. We rely on a public switched telephone network (PSTN) for the audio call routing that guarantees more reliability, higher audio quality, and premium experience to the end user.
Our clientele, which earlier comprised private equity funds, law firms, and venture capital companies, has grown significantly in the past few years. Today, organizations such as car manufacturers, railroad operators, restaurant chains, and airlines are using our solutions.
How have the last two years been for LoopUp and what are the future plans?
After the public listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2016, our journey has been marvelous. A couple of months ago, we acquired MeetingZone, and recently opened an office in Sydney, Australia and foraying into continental Europe is on our radar.
We are trying to find the best way to add video conferencing capability into our product. While other video solutions impel people to jump straight into video calling even before they start talking, we make video conferencing optional. Our focus from a development standpoint will be to capture valuable on-call communiqué and making it easier for people to share it.