Everyone knows ViewSonic for its desktop displays, but these days it offers a lot more. Channel Daily News sat down for a virtual chat with the company’s Americas president Jeff Volpe to hear about its current focus, and how the pandemic has influenced the company and its roadmap.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, and the chip shortage, Volpe said that it’s been an exciting time for companies like ViewSonic.
“This whole concept of anywhere operations, and how businesses have to deal with the fact that the pandemic in and of itself moved us forward maybe a decade,” he observed. “Fast forward 18 months, we’re here today going ‘okay, well, what’s next with these hybrid workforces?’ People are, ‘we’re going to come back to work, or we’re not going to come back to work, what does work look like?’ And that’s a very big conversation today.”
Not just a desktop monitor company anymore
While ViewSonic is still strongly focused on its 30-year-old desktop monitor business, the company has also been evolving and diversifying its product roadmap. As well as the desktop monitors, it has been investing in its large screen monitors and interactive large screen monitors, its software, and its projectors, as well as in a flourishing accessory business.
“Those [large screen monitors and interactive large screen monitors] are connected into our ViewBoard large screen strategy, where we can put the quality and the performance and the compatibility of ViewSonic on the wall of a conference room, a classroom, an auditorium,” he said. “But it was complemented by a significant investment in software. And that software, known as myViewBoard.com, is a software platform that we developed ourselves that is designed to improve connection, collaboration, and productivity in the workspace, whether it be a classroom, where teachers have the ability to leverage different technologies onto an advanced whiteboard product that also helps them with lesson plans, to bring in content from the internet in a safe and secure manner, or in corporations who are trying to run a collaborative meeting, where they’re trying to bring in people from different locations, work from home or another branch, and in-office people at the same time.”
The myViewBoard suite, which offers a whiteboard that runs on a Windows or Android device, and a companion app that allows local and remote users to interact with the whiteboard, is available for iOS or Android. Volpe explained that the goal is to make the process as seamless as possible, regardless of the environment.
“We might have been a little ahead of our time, or we were just darn lucky that this pandemic spread the importance of collaboration and connecting remote people with in-office people in a democratized way,” he said. “And when I talk about a democratized way, I mean that when they’re remote, they feel as equal a participant as if they were in the office.”
The ViewBoard and its software are particularly focused on campus environments, regardless of whether they’re academic or corporate, Volpe noted, and people are using the platform along with Microsoft Office 365 or Google platforms.
“That’s really been more of our focus,” he said. “We think that market is exploding, and that need is exploding. Corporations and educators are evolving their corporate culture to mirror this demand that’s out there for some fluidity and flexibility in terms of how and where people are working, and we think that this is not only a good business opportunity, it’s an evolution in doing something good for business and doing something good for education.”
He went on, “Leveraging our technology means not only are [students] going to be prepped with their intellect and their problem-solving skills, and everything else, but they’re going to be using technology as a basis for learning and communicating. And when they bring that into the business world, they’re going to be more prepped. That makes us feel good that we’re doing some technology that our partners and us can make some money on, but also is going to be an important way in which our next generations are going to be prepped for getting into the working world.”
The Canadian picture
Over the last twelve months, Volpe said, ViewSonic grew 40 per cent, year over year, in Canada. And it is still a channel-centric organization.
“While we create a lot of demand through digital marketing efforts, and we spread the word of ViewSonic around with outbound digital efforts, we are collaborating with our partners to cultivate those leads into transactions, and they are the ones that are doing those transactions for us, in Canada,” he said. “So it’s an exciting time; we can triple their revenue with ViewSonic, because ViewSonic’s business, in aggregate, is tripling.”
With this growth, and with the enhanced product line, partners are bridging the gap into the audio-visual (AV) space through offering security services and cloud services, he noted. And while traditional IT resellers are sliding into the AV space, AV vendors are also moving towards the IT space as the overlap in product function makes it more appealing to them.
“It’s something that I was talking a lot about 10 years ago, and we’re really seeing it materialize in income opportunities for all of our progressive thinking partners to branch and widen their scope of capability,” he said. “We’re getting a tremendous amount of education revenue these days. And so we’re seeing a lot of VARs and resellers and AV people who are servicing the education platforms, and we’re seeing a lot of new engagement in those areas. Our partner relationships are broadening both because we’re becoming a larger percentage of their revenue opportunities, and also, they own these verticals in a strong way. We want to become part of new partners who are doing very well, so there’s a lot of partner expansion across these various areas for us.”
He said that the company continues to support its partners by enhancing the partner portal it launched last summer with educational tools, marketing tools, lead generation tools, and ways it can interact with partners, as well as continuing with its outbound marketing efforts and financial support.
“It’s going to be a really exciting next five years for us,” he said.