Previously Published on Benzinga: The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.
Benzinga met with Peter Holst, president and CEO of Oblong, Inc.
OBLG-2.00%+ Free Alerts, at May’s Global Small Cap Conference and found out that the company will be expanding into cloud computing almost entirely over the next year. While the pandemic is said to have accelerated this move, remote collaboration has headed in this direction for some time. And while many businesses have seen their fair share of increased productivity, some have experienced significant burnout as engagement has begun to falter.
Oblong has the solution to this dilemma and is taking it to the cloud to maximize engagement, once and for all.
What is Oblong?
The magic of Oblong began in 2002, when John Underkoffler, founder and former CEO, was contacted by A-list Hollywood executives to produce the awe-inspiring technologies found in movies, such as Minority Report, Iron Man and The Hulk. At the time, he was a pioneering researcher in spatial computing at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He didn’t know it then but his vision of the future would become the standard for human-computer interaction in not just films but also for future conferencing solutions.
In 2006, Oblong Industries came to life and began producing futuristic proprietary solutions for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and universities across the globe. In 2012, its flagship Mezzanine product would hit the markets as a commercial solution providing similar agencies with a more simplified, non-branded version of the predecessor.
Mezzanine is a patented collaboration technology and a unique digital platform, built for teams originally collaborating in the conference room environment. This product offers its users a host of multiscreen, multispatial and extended user environments to engage, communicate and produce grandiose projects in real-time.
Multiple screens and modules allow each person to bring their own layer of expertise into the mix, as they:
- Highlight, research, monitor and draw intelligence-related information directly from within the production space.
- Increase meaningful interaction with one another.
- Enhance the productivity of each session.
- Achieve a more effective workflow process.
Displays and modules can be dragged across multiple screens by either touch, gesture or the click of a mouse.
Essentially, Mezzanine is a wholly-centric solution for the collaborative workspace environment, providing a fluid visual canvas to work from and fewer distractions that take away from the quality of final project iterations. And, it is now heading to home offices everywhere.
Mezzanine in Motion
For many businesses, Mezzanine has accelerated sound processes, improved communications among a remote workforce and increased productivity, literally across the board.
As Oblong begins delivering Mezzanine through the cloud, it sees an uptick in demand for multilocational, multi-device technologies and clients seeking new ways for businesses to work and solve major problems in big data and security.
Research, real-time intelligence and data-driven analysis are often executed on multiple unattached platforms, multiple browsers and, in some cases, entirely separate devices. With these there is a lack of efficiency, integration between platforms, synchronicity and, most of the time, a lack of convenience.
In person, Mezzanine serves as one giant screen, allowing users to successfully address reconciliation, mission briefing and key strategies of attack between several points of data. All solutions are integratable. Virtually, this screen can be shared in a multilocational sense, as users project cloud software to multiple screens, computers and devices, as an extension of a singular dashboard where data could be located and interacted with directly.
A Critical Solution Designed by the Experts
With an experienced tech leadership team in place, Oblong’s C-Suite brings decades of experience to the operations and development of tech companies. A majority of the team comes from a software engineering background, many also working in product design. Together, they have touched on those elements that Fortune 500s deem most critical to the ongoing performance of existing business models.
While employees can argue that meetings are generally boring, businesses are maximizing engagement in virtual meeting spaces. Another way companies are using Mezzanine is by taking virtual experiences that throw a lot of data at attendees and breaking them down into multiple streams, where various points of interest may be accessed at once — creating more meaningful and totally immersive experiences.
The COVID pandemic through 2020 allowed the company to monetize key partnerships and ramp up bookings from global distribution partners, such as Cisco
CSCO+0.29%+ Free Alerts, set to announce new revenue streams in late 2021 and 2022. With this comes a more comprehensive suite of tools and add-on solutions. The program can continue to serve as a standalone mechanism at in-person engagements but also serve to enhance remote meetings and collaboration.
Why Should I Invest in Oblong?
How Does Mezzanine Stand Out?
Will Oblong Eliminate Boardroom Collaboration?
Oblong will be hard at work, migrating Mezzanine’s current mix of products to the cloud over the next 24 months. A once niche and highly prestigious customer base has now broadened, and more focus is being placed on the end-user, although the company will continue cultivating relationships with Fortune 500s across the world.
The company is poised to grow by driving the next generation of visual and data collaboration across rapidly expanding markets. In 2020 alone, Oblong’s user base has more than doubled. The company saw a market cap of $107 million in 2020 with $15 million in revenue and has more than $26.6 million shares currently outstanding. The total addressable market is estimated to be between $1 and $2 billion.
It recently partnered with Cisco Webex
CSCO+0.29%+ Free Alerts and is positioning itself for significant topline growth over the next 18 to 24 months. A beta version of its new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering will also be available in late 2021 and aims to hit 10 times the growth in the next 3 to 4 years as the company focuses on narrowing operating losses, product growth and realignment, distribution and the expansion of core products and services.
As investors eye the company, there are indicators that this may be a good company to invest in. It has successfully operated for more than 17 years and has gone through classic venture cycles. With multiple partnerships, several “hush-hush” until later this year, the company is on a mission to take all intellectual properties and to monetize them going forward.
It’s estimated that 95% of Fortune 500s are using Cisco products and services for collaboration. Similarly, there are approximately 1 billion meetings hosted per year. This means significant opportunity for the company and leaves them open to annual recurring revenues through subscription and renewal services related to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) modules.
The company already sees more than 500 million participants using its products, with 100,000 to 200,000 conference rooms hosted annually.
Rooted in research and development, it’s moving away from the large-scale, high-end room models it was once associated with and is now focusing on providing individual users with subscription-based services on a more regular basis.
In previous years, Oblong served its clients within large briefing centers, fancy conference rooms and multiwall war room environments, creating compact spaces for intensive work. Today, there are hundreds of deployments across Fortune 500 and Forbes Global 2000 companies alone. The newest version of Mezzanine will support workflows in every enterprise vertical and are perfect for connecting beyond the conference room environment.
The company has over $100 million invested in technology and is currently considered the only provider to deliver this type of engagement. It holds a number of patents in spatial computing, immersive computational systems, multidisplay technologies, AR/VR and gesture control technologies. In fact, Oblong has been issued 46 different patents in the U.S. and 28 in the EU, Korea, Japan, China and India. It has 8 patents pending in the U.S. and 31 worldwide.
Going forward, Holst sees the world operating within a hybrid work environment, a direction that the world was gradually migrating to for the last 20 years. He admits that this last year has led to an accelerated shift in this direction and attributes improvements to internet and computing models, gamification and bandwidth capabilities for efficiency.
While people aren’t necessarily keen on long-distance traveling and commuting to work, he notes that some teams enjoy and actually benefit from in-person collaboration, while others prefer a more digitally engaged experience with their peers.
Although there’ll be a new trend in how we present and collaborate with international partners, people still like to connect. Mezzanine is sure to see incredible growth as businesses reopen and people return to work. The company expects to implement machine learning and AI into all future models. However, Oblong won’t be sunsetting previous models any time soon.
The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.