During Kick Off, my decision to join StarLeaf was fully vindicated, with these three factors firmly in evidence:
1. An innovative product set
Given StarLeaf is a leading messaging, meeting and calling, vendor, it is unsurprising that StarLeaf was the platform for delivering Kick-Off content, and also pretty much every interaction I had with my new colleagues outside the formal sessions. So, all last week I essentially lived in the StarLeaf app, 10 hours a day, for five days of the week. Now obviously, video conferencing isn’t new to me, just as it isn’t for most knowledge workers, but the intensity of use in the last 12 months has probably taken most people by surprise, and certainly it was the first time I had spent the whole working week more or less in just one application.
Simplifying the user experience
During last year I have used most of the leading meetings applications: the household names and the more specialised offerings. Therefore, the thought of multiple hours sitting in front of a screen trying to connect across many calls is something I would previously have feared. Issues ranging from difficulty connecting into video conferences, clunky sharing of screens, unintuitive in-app messaging and unreliable connections have all featured in my recent past experience.
How gratifying then to discover the serenity and calmness which regular StarLeaf users must experience. I never knew that this type of technology could actually be enjoyable to use.
Attention to detail
The meeting joining process is as simple as it can be – one green button, and bang, you’re in. The quality of video call is superb, very stable and with very low latency. The navigation in the app is frictionless – everything available from the same pane of glass. Even something as prosaic as the call hang-up process is beautifully done – none of that awkward bit when you’ve said goodbye but are still trying to exit the application. I could go on. In summary, the product has clearly been designed with principles that would not shame the mighty Apple. It is beautifully engineered. The best word I can use to describe it is ‘elegant’. StarLeaf is focused on the tasks that real people need to perform when communicating with team members, and on supporting them with a solution that is as simple to use as possible, rejecting complexity in favour of simplicity and efficacy.
2. An exceptionally driven team
So, you might reasonably ask – who are these geniuses who have created this amazing experience for their customers? And why are they not household names?
Yes, it’s a mystery to me too. Well, the antecedents of StarLeaf go back several decades, as the Wikipedia page explains. Three Cambridge-educated science graduates set up two companies and sell them to two behemoths, Tandberg and Cisco, and then, recognising that video conferencing can be done in a better way, set up StarLeaf. One might expect that after such decades of success, their drive to create another viable and forward-looking company might wane. But none of that, no, their desire to improve human-to-human live communication through exceptional video technology is as acute as ever. And so StarLeaf was born in Cambridge in 2008.
Putting people first
Today, it is a global business operating in the US, Europe, South and Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Japan. There are now over 220 StarLeafers plus an extensive network of partners selling, supporting and driving exceptional customer outcomes. StarLeaf may not yet have the brand recognition that a couple of the other vendors in this space have today, but that will change. Discerning customers have valued elements of the differentiation that StarLeaf offers – very high levels of security and reliability, ease of use, flexible data sovereignty etc., but also the fact that the technology has been designed around the user. That means seamless integration into the way you work. In fact, this is manifested in the tag line ‘The Human Connection at Work’. More of that, later.
3. A transformative vision
The pace of change in the technology industry is mind-blowing. 40 years ago, there was no such thing as the IT department: anyone who had need of some compute power usually had a white coat on, and had to have authorized entry to the Computer Room, where a single monolithic mainframe filled a room the size of a basketball court. Since then, the democratization of IT has been revolutionary. What we are able to achieve in on-line communications today would have been the vision of very few back in the 60s and 70s.
Leading the way
It may be an aphorism, but today, with such an acceleration of change if you aren’t moving forwards then you are moving backwards. You cannot stand still as a tech vendor. It behoves you to have a vision for where your technology area is going and be in the vanguard of driving it. This is absolutely essential for any leading vendor. StarLeaf has those credentials. The vision is to deliver a communications experience that is as simple and intuitive as it can be, utilizing the very best design principles. But to do so from a human centric perspective. An integrated platform for messaging, meeting and calling which takes any friction out of getting connected.
In the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions, StarLeaf is recognised as a Visionary, being praised for its high levels of security and availability and crucially, a strong future roadmap. The strong focus on interoperability is called out, and indeed it is this understanding that meeting solutions don’t exist purely as standalone applications, but are productivity tools that need to facilitate better human connections, that makes StarLeaf stand out.
Out of this world
So, in summary, clearly the pandemic has brought collaboration and conferencing tools into sharp relief. No longer the preserve of the few, these tools are becoming ubiquitous. Expectations for their useability, robustness and integrated nature have never been as high. StarLeaf has been quietly developing their technology with these goals in mind for years and now is the time for their star to shine.
Oh, and one thing I didn’t disclose in explaining my rationale for choosing StarLeaf is my penchant for the colour purple. As you will see from our home page, purple is certainly in our colour palette!
David Gingell, Chief Marketing Officer