Discuss.io CEO Simon Glass on how Covid-19 has expanded the demand for ‘smart’ video conferencing platforms | Diginomica

If Zoom and Facebook Rooms and Google Meet are the Honda Accords of video conferencing then Discuss.io is the Rolls-Royce.

This article by Jerry Bowles first appeared on Diginomica.com. 
June 15, 2020

The Covid 19 pandemic has produced winners and losers in the tech industry with video conferencing platforms-driven in part by the Zoom phenomenon–being a particular beneficiary of the current work from home, learn from home, shop from home trifecta.  A research report from Fortune Business Insights projects the market will reach USD 6.37 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 9.8%.  That’s more than double the market value of USD 3.02 billion in 2018.

Discuss.io has been around since 2012 and is well-known and respected in market research circles. The explosion in demand for remote business meetings has given its sophisticated smart video platform a “moment” to not only grow its core base but also to expand into new verticals. Revenues are up nearly 40% over last year. A combination of lockdowns, travel restrictions, remote workers, and closed borders pushed video conferencing into the limelight  That, in turn, has provided Discuss.io an expanded and more voracious market. Simon Glass, CEO said in a telephone interview:

We position ourselves as an enterprise level smart video platform whose mission is to help businesses make better decisions through online meetings. We began several years ago with the goal of creating a video platform that would enable market research to be done better, faster, and cheaper while also providing more structure to help customers who attend the sessions and marketers who conduct them get more value out of them.  What we’ve done over the last year or so is really pivot into other types of verticals and bring what we think is our expertise is getting maximum value out of online meetings.

Discuss.io is definitely not a “let’s all get together and hang out” kind of software. Over the past eight years of development, it has increasingly become a feature-rich platform used by such brands as Unilever, Pepsico, and Colgate-Palmolive. Said Glass:

We have heard some of our customers refer to us as a professional version of Zoom.  I assume they are talking about the ease of use.  But we’re not remotely interested in having millions of people use our platform for free or for a very small dollar return. Video meeting rooms are now a must-have, as opposed to a nice-to-have probably six or nine months ago.  But frankly, the capability of a Zoom or Google Meet or Facebook Rooms is fairly basic and might be enough if you assume that all meetings are created equal. Not every meeting is equal.  We are very focused on what we have termed “meetings that matter” and that’s the way we’re taking this to market.

Creating meetings that matter

Discuss.io offers a dazzling array of features, it believes, distinguish it from its competitors.

For example, the platform allows moderators to create an interactive whiteboard and integrated discussion guide to keep conversations and discussions on point and organized. If you don’t have a discussion guide, the company’s professionals will put one together for you. They’ll moderate the discussion for you on request.

Moderators and participants can tag key moments in a session with a click of a button. Following the session, the archived video recording will display each user’s saved moments with color-coding at the time that they clicked the “Save Moment” button. Starred moments indicate that multiple users saved that moment, so it’s easy to see what the team found most important.

Users can highlight a section of the transcript and click “Export Selection” to make a video clip, or click “Start Clip” in the video player. They can share clips or the full video with colleagues and download to include in the next presentation.

The program instantly transcribes the conversation, translates it into 17 languages for international meetings, makes it searchable, and builds compelling highlight reels for presentations.

Discuss.io is also ISO 27001 certified, GDPR compliant and supports SSO for stronger access management. While it is exempt as a small business from the California Consumer Privacy Act, the company supports the right of any respondent to have their information removed from its historical data.  Said Glass:

It’s easy to just throw technology at employees for working from home but what I think is more interesting is how do you support those employees? Not just in terms of how to use the technology, but when to use it. What are the best practices? How is the technology protected?  I think a lot of companies are trying to address those issues and trying to enable their people, not just with the technology but the work processes and the direction to help them be much more effective workers. Because we have been working on meetings that matter for a long time and have developed so much structure around the process, we feel that we have a competitive advantage in this brave new environment.

Where are meetings going in the long-term?  Glass said:

I could see 50% plus in business meetings being on videos as we go forward because I think smart companies will realize that they can get so much more out of the meeting using this method. It can be so much more productive because it’s being recorded. Key moments are being captured. There are insights from the meeting that can be shared more widely so a single meeting that’s happening within an organization can be very democratic.  As long as the rights and privileges are there and the personal information is being protected, it could be shared more widely within your own organization and beyond.

My take

I haven’t used all of the enterprise video conferencing tools around but I am impressed by the maturity, capabilities and business focus of Discuss.io.  I suspect they’ll do very well expanding into new verticals beyond market research.