When Owl Labs came out of stealth mode by announcing a $6 million Series A last month, they added that the company’s first product would have been revealed this summer.
Judging from the weather, summer didn’t quite kick off already. Nonetheless, the Meeting Owl - this is the name of the conferencing tool the company announced today - is here.
The Meeting Owl is a hardware device that aims to improve the conference experience for remote employees. As many other conference tools, it allows users to talk to each other by sharing a screen.
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What’s new about Owl, according to the company, is that its IoT-powered software allows the device to show the whole room and automatically focus on the person speaking. Thanks to an intelligent attention system, Owl can highlight up to 3 in-room participants.
Here's a video showing how it works:
As a USB plug-and-play device, Owl Labs said that Owl is designed to work with the current setup of an in-room computer or a laptop, and it’s compatible with popular web-enabled video conferencing providers including Zoom, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans and Skype for Business. Width and depth are 4.4 inches, height 10.75 inches.
The company is launching Owl at $799, a price that some may consider a little expensive for a video and audio tool that can provide better video conferencing.
“Earlier in the year, Gallup reported that 43% of American workers work remotely in some capacity," Max Makeev, CEO of Owl Labs, wrote in an email to BostInno. "With so many people collaborating from a distance, companies are holding productivity back if they can’t provide the best conditions. They’re also limiting themselves on recruitment and retention success... So it’s actually a small cost to pay for a device that can make an incredible difference on the bottom line.”
The product comes with a 1-year limited hardware warranty, which extends to two years with registration.
Owl Labs was founded in 2014 by two iRobot veterans, Max Makeev and Mark Schnittman. In August 2016, the company had already raised $5 million of a planned $6 million round. Owl Labs was seeded by Playground Ventures and was the first company to join Playground's West Coast Design Studio, both founded by Android co-creator Andy Rubin. The company has a team of just under 20 employees and it's based in Somerville.
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