AV Interview: Zach Snook, Biamp
We catch up with Zach Snook, Director of Product Management at Biamp Systems, at the Integrate expo.
Interview:/ Christopher Holder
Zach has been with Biamp for 15-plus years and recently been elevated to the position of Director, Product Management, where he has a bird’s eye view of a varied product portfolio that has been steadily coalescing into cohesive solutions in areas such as UC, paging, venues, retail and hospitality. We started off by asking about the philosophy behind the product push.
Zach Snook: Biamp has grown tremendously since Rashid Skaff has taken the helm as our CEO in 2017. He’s really pushed us to develop new products internally. So it’s not just the conferencing line that we’re perhaps best known, we’ve got new loudspeaker lines, we’re into control systems, we’re advancing our paging systems, and we’ve also grown the company through acquisition as well.
So we have the products, and now our focus is more about how these products become solutions for customers and how we present them in ways that customers really see the value of Biamp; really see the simplicity of our solutions across all the markets we’re addressing — conferencing to building infrastructure up through large venue environments and control systems.
That’s our focus: let’s take all of these products and mould them into something that really connects with our customer base.
AV: As you mentioned, Biamp is still best known for its UC products. How are you approaching the conference room experience?
ZS: We have three aspects. The first is we look at is our room sizing — small, medium, large, and then custom spaces — and delivering a Biamp solution for each. For example, in huddle spaces our Parlé conference line is ideal — everything you need within a budget. For medium and larger spaces, we don’t want to give up the core simplicity that Biamp offers. So we’ve packaged together room bundles — with microphones, speakers, processors, cables, everything you would need — to easily deploy systems into larger spaces.
From there, we want to deliver a consistency of experience — consistency is really the Biamp advantage. We have Biamp audio intelligence and video intelligence functions which help to ensure that no matter your room size, you plug into the Biamp advantage. This includes things like our advanced AI noise reduction algorithms our beam tracking microphones, our camera, auto framing and tracking technologies… the features that really bring value regardless of the space. We don’t discriminate, we provide all features across all rooms.
Thirdly, it’s about our client experience. The customer knows they need a UC room. Perhaps they need to cater to all UC platforms. We can be as centred on the room capability as you like or as focussed on the BYOM experience as desired. It’s about what the customer needs.
AV: The BYOM ‘nut’ is hard to crack. How’s Biamp going about it?
ZS: Absolutely. It’s not easy. Oftentimes, somebody has to give up a bunch of stuff to get that BYOM versatility. Of course, you can have a USB-C cable hanging from the display — plug that in and you have a BYOM room. But then, as soon as you unplug, you have a room that says ‘HDMI1’ up in the corner of the display, right? And nobody really wants that. And you don’t get the advanced collaboration tools either.
This year, we’ve introduced a product line called MAX Connect, which is a statement about how Biamp views a superior BYOM conference room experience. Of course, it’s BYOM for any device: a tablet, a phone, a laptop, and any operating system. You can bring that in and host a meeting of your choice whenever you need to do that. But it also allows easy connection of those devices into the room session — not just a single-screen share but multiple screens. Then there’s the ability to rebroadcast that screen to your personal devices for those struggling to view the display properly, for example.
We also have control options. You can start with a remote controller, which comes in the box — automatically you get some control with MAX Connect — or upgrade to an Apprimo touch panel.
Bring these aspects together and you have a BYOM room experience with modern-day collaboration tools along with an agnostic approach to UC. So when our customers talk about BYOM, we know we have the best solution in any room type while maintaining all those key Biamp feature sets we want to provide.
AV: What plans do you have for your new control systems?
ZS: We want to keep it simple. We don’t want our customers forced to work with yet another control protocol or understand another control platform. We’ve entered the market with our Apprimo control line, with a number of touch panels that goes with it. But Biamp control will come included with the Max Connect line or the Zoom/Teams Room bundles we’re doing with Lenovo, for example. We’re really incorporating control into our overall room story from the smallest to the most custom.