Highfive Ditches Per-User Pricing for Cloud Video
Eliminating tough user licensing decisions, cloud video startup implements per-room pricing on the back of new features including PSTN dial-in for mobile participants.
Already known for bringing simplicity to the video conferencing experience, Highfive has one-upped itself with the introduction of a revamped pricing and packaging model that does away with per-user fees while offering an unlimited number of minutes and meetings.
It's a pretty basic model, but a marked departure from how video conferencing providers have traditionally priced their services. Companies buy a camera for each conference room they'd like to set up, and sign up for one of the two service plans Highfive now offers: Basic or Premium.
Highfive charges $1,199 a pop for the cameras, plus $849 and $1,199 annually for the Basic and Premium packages, respectively. Each package comes with expected features such as cross-platform support (Android, Apple iOS and OS X, Windows), screen sharing, and integration with Slack, Google Calendar, and other popular business tools. So the choice then comes down to what else a company needs from a cloud video service.
Highfive CEO Shan Sinha breaks down the two options in a blog posted yesterday. The Basic edition handles eight-way conferencing; unlimited Web conferencing; call encryption; support for phone, email, and video; and authentication to Google Apps. This is all the same for the Premium edition, except with this plan as many as 15 users can join a meeting. Plus, the Premium package comes with a bunch of new capabilities:
- Single sign-on and integration with Microsoft Active Directory
- The ability to customize branding and domains, so that companies can use "video.brandname.com" rather than "brandname.highfive.com"
- Advanced administrative features including usage analytics, security access controls, and user role management
- Personal point of contact for customer account management
- PSTN integration, with dial-in calling (in beta)
Regarding this latter capability, "sometimes you're driving down the road and video just isn't going to work," Sinha told me in a phone interview.
Given that reality, Highfive has implemented a smartphone-centric option to let callers join video meetings via phone lines. By clicking on the Highfive calling link, a user gets a dynamically generated phone number good for use during the call's duration (including for redialing into the conference should the call drop). The call rings into the conference directly, saving the mobile user the need to dig out and enter PINs and access codes, Sinha said.
For this PSTN integration, Highfive has selected Twilio as its primary provider of those on-the-fly phone numbers, Sinha said. However, he added, Highfive manages those phone numbers on its own, ensuring proper recycling and security, for example.
The PSTN integration fits into Highfive's ultimate goal of being a cloud service that "powers every single place that you want to do video from, and that includes your laptops and mobile devices for sure," while the new pricing plan addresses the conference room, which "has largely gone ignored over the last five to 10 years," Sinha said. "And so the way we decided to roll out our reworked pricing model is to price everything on a per-conference-room basis."
By doing away with per-user pricing, Highfive has eliminated the problem companies commonly face in trying to determine which users get licenses on internal video conferencing systems, Sinha said. Once a company wires up a conference room with a Highfive camera, every single user can do video regardless of whether anybody is physically sitting in that room and using the in-room camera.
The new pricing plans are effective immediately, with existing Highfive customers automatically moved to the Basic edition at no additional cost.
For more on the latest video trends and technologies, check out the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2016, coming March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla. Register now using the code NJPOST and receive $200 off the current conference price.