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TenHands: ten times better than WebEx at less than a tenth of the cost


Since the dawn of the Internet Age, our world has changed significantly. This new technology has changed the way we communicate, shop, and share. In the enterprise world, it has changed the way companies – from Fortune 500 companies to the neighborhood pizza joint – do business. Teleworking, or working from home, is soaring in popularity with employees and employers alike due to the reduced cost for companies and reduced hassle for employees. It seems like a win-win for everyone.

However, one hard thing is the ability to communicate with your employees, clients, or colleagues in a meaningful way. The absence of meaningful, face-to-face interactions makes in increasingly difficult for managers, salespeople, employees, and executives alike.

Our brains are designed to interact with our surroundings and other people in a direct manner. We rely on more than just one sense when communicating with others. When speaking, it’s not just our voices that facilitate our message, instead it’s the combination of our voice, hands or body language, eyes, and even sense of smell that infer our message to others.

That’s why video conferencing has become big business. Video conferencing gives the ability to meet face-to-face and get that sensory reception audio and email do not have, but at a reduced cost. Companies like Cisco and Skype have revolutionized and capitalized on this growing market. However, Skype is not really meant for the enterprise level user, and Cisco’s WebEx product can be pricey, along with having to use proprietary software.

However, Ten Hands is the next step in the evolution of telepresence, combining a cross-platform, browser-based interface that is easy for the end user and easy on your company’s wallet. Ten Hands is no stranger to video conferencing and telepresence. Ten Hands’ founders include Jack Blaeser, former head of BT (British Telecom) Conferencing and Mark Weidick, formerly with Cisco. This new service will have your company rethinking video conferencing and telepresence.

Currently in private beta, Ten Hands is a complete browser-based telepresence solution that will work in any modern browser on any operating system. The simplicity of the user interface coupled with powerful technology at a more than affordable price makes Ten Hands a great option for any business, no matter the size. The choice to use a browser-based solution was a clear choice for Ten Hands, according to Mark Weidick:

We made a couple of choices about a year ago. The browser is about to become a communications device. We bought into Web RTC [from Google]. The browser was an information retrieval device for a long long time, it’s about to become a communications device.”

The simplicity of the user interface is clear throughout Ten Hands. After logging in with your email address and password, you are presented with a home screen that screams accessibility. Instead of a bunch of misleading and confusing options, users are presented with three areas: Place a Call, Notifications, and Frequents.  Starting a telepresence session can be done within a few keystrokes or clicks, and the Frequents area keeps track of the people you call the most (i.e. a manager’s direct reports, important colleagues, VIPs, etc.).

One thing businesses have felt very good about is Cisco’s ability to scale. Cisco equipment powers much of the internet, and their ability to scale from the smallest business to a large multi-national Fortune 500 company has earned the trust of many businesses who rely on telepresence technology every day. With Ten Hands’ background in this market, scalability was a key feature for them. Ten Hands has put an infrastructure into place that allows the same scalability you would expect from Cisco or Oracle. Because Ten Hands’ technology is so lightweight and flexible in the browser, they are able to scale their service seamlessly with commodity servers hosted by Amazon’s EC2 service. Ten Hands runs in a completely scalable-on-demand virtual environment, and Ten Hands has already tested 30,000 interactions on the same server at one time without any hiccups.

Carrier class scalability is something we have all had to think about. My team at Cisco architected and operating the largest telepresence switching service on the planet.” – Mark Weidick

So Ten Hands has the technology and scalability of Cisco, with a slicker user interface and cross-platform solution. Ten Hands can do audio conferencing, HD video conferencing, and even collaborate your documents with Box.net integration. Sharing your desktop screen is a breeze with Ten Hands, as well as sharing your files. Point-to-point, multi-point, file sharing, and screen sharing are all included, and everything is controlled through your web browser easily.

All of this technology typically costs businesses a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per user. Companies spend up to millions of dollars a year renewing licenses for their employees. Or in many cases, employees who could use telepresence on occasion, but not often, are left with no solution due to the lack of the return-on-investment for a license for them for solutions like WebEx.

Ten Hands’ model takes everything you know about licensing costs and tosses it into the paper shredder. What if I told you that everyone in your company, no matter the size, can have access to telepresence, and only pay for licenses for those who use it on a daily basis? I think a lot of CTO, CIO, and CFO’s heads just did a double-take. Plain and simple, Ten Hands offers an affordable solution with no loss in technology, keeping your revenues and productivity up while your expenses down.

How does Ten Hands do this? Simply put, Ten Hands, like many other industries, uses a “freemium” model for its services. However, unlike many freemium software models, your employees will not be facing the onslaught of advertisements all day; Ten Hands is all about keeping enterprise-class efficiency and productivity, and advertisements are something no high level executive wants their emoployees’ or clients’ attention being distracted by an ad for a new smartphone or website (that their firewall probably wouldn’t allow them to visit on company computers anyway). This offers the customer flexibility not seen before in the enterprise telepresence world. This low-cost, high ROI model was key for co-founder Jack Blaeser, who explained just how Ten Hands’ pricing model works:

It’s free, up to a certain usage point. We have a twenty to one cost benefit over existing solutions. Once a user goes over 3 hours per month of usage, then you can purchase a license for only $10 per user per month. We are looking to offer the full capability of point-to-point, multi-point, screen sharing, and document sharing with the free account. A customer can monitor the usage of each employee, then see who is using the service more than 3 hours per month, and see who the higher ROI is with.”

Ten Hands may be in private beta, but will be launching later this year for the public. Ten Hands has no plans on slowing down either. Expect to see some mobile solutions for the growing Android and iOS enterprise users from Ten Hands, allowing a full Ten Hands telepresence experience anywhere in the world. More employees, from executive to individual contributor, are carrying smartphones or tablets, and Ten Hands intends on keeping the same great user experience on the mobile side of things.

As we continue to grow as a more connected society, telepresence is the future of business. It’s already creeping into every facet of our business world, and not just your major corporations. Businesses from the local coffee shop to the multi-national firm are adopting this technology. However, one major constraint is the current solutions out there such as Cisco’s WebEx are too hard to understand for many employees, and too hard on the balance sheet. Ten Hands will revolutionize the way employees think about telepresence, video conferencing, and interaction with it’s simple, clean, and beautiful user interface. It will revolutionize the way companies think about what they should have to pay for this technology with its disruptive flexible freemium model. Access to telepresence technology with Ten Hands is – and should be – cheaper, faster, and better.

Anyone from a small business owner to a corporate executive would do their business, their employees, and their bottom line a disservice by not moving to Ten Hands. Who wouldn’t want to put on their yearly evaluation they brought the efficiency and productivity with video conferencing at a fraction of the cost to their company?

You can check out Ten Hands’ website to get even more info about this great service, and request a private beta invite to see for yourself how it will change your view of telepresence. Already convinced Ten Hands is the smart choice for your business? Click here to contact Ten Hands’ sales coordinator.