Highfive Technologies, Inc. is a video conferencing company that is based out of Redwood City, CA. They have streamlined how businesses do video conferencing. Instead of paying a monthly fee for services, High Five lets companies turn offices and rooms into virtual conferences. They offer a proprietary piece of technology that contains a web camera and speakers, easily integrating free software with LCD screens, laptop computers, and mobile devices.
High Five is a very new product. Their parent company, Highfive Technologies, Inc., got its start when Shan Sinha and Jeremy Roy, the guys behind Docverse, sold their company to Google. The team at High Five wanted to develop a product that lets users easily create or join a videoconference.
High Five works a little bit differently than other video conferencing companies in the industry. Typically, one user is the conference manager and controls the flow of the presentation. With other companies, it is possible to pass on leadership to another user, but High Five is the only device we reviewed that treats all users as peers.
- Free trial
High Five is one of the only companies in the industry that has focused their conferencing product on hardware. You get a free 30-day trial to try five High Five devices at your business. The hardware can connect from your laptop to your television, letting you share a presentation, or stream the video from your iPhone to your television. This is an invaluable feature that is not found on other videoconferencing platforms.
High Five is a technology with robust videoconference abilities. Here are the features that we liked:
- Customizable hardware solution for a business: You can purchase one or as many devices as you'd like.
- The iPhone app is also a remote control for the hardware device.
- While the startup cost is expensive ($799 per room), all the software is free.
- Easy link generator that works across the board with your different calendar managing programs.
- HD video conferencing for up to eight participants.
We like that your iPhone, a "bring-you-own-device," also doubles as a remote control. You can easily join a conversation, move your conversation to a television, or disable your camera. You can also easily leave the call on your device. Unfortunately, High Five is not available for Google Android phones yet.
The High Five process is simple:
- Users can try five of the devices free for 30 days.
- To get started, you need to have the Google Chrome extension for High Five.
- The conference organizer uses the Chrome extension to generate a custom link to start the conference.
The startup cost is expensive, but manageable. You get a piece of hardware at $799 per room that connects with your network, devices, and has audio functionality. It has an HDMI cable and a network connection, as well as Bluetooth functionality, making it work on most platforms.
Finally, the HD video conferencing supports up to eight participants. Some conference tools in the industry only let you have audio while seeing the person's picture. With High Five, people get to see HD audio and video of the person who is speaking. You can also share presentations easily with the screen share feature.
- Android limitations
For $799, there is not a lot of functionality built into HighFive. Here are some of the issues we had with High Five:
- No solution for Google Android (which is ironic since links are generated with a Chrome browser extension).
- For such an expensive investment, we'd like to see more than one stream of HD video.
- We would also like to see file-sharing capabilities, since this product is cloud-based.
We were kind of stifled by the fact that there is no Android solution for High Five at this time. On the website, High Five says their Android solution is in development, with no solid date for release. The lack of an Android app might disenfranchise Google smartphone users. Over 85% of smartphones and tablets on the market are powered by Android. We feel that developing an Android app might help High Five develop Google Drive integration. Right now, High Five's lack of an Android app is turning away many potential users.
The cost of High Five is quite high for the chat features that it lacks. As of right now, it is not possible to record and save presentations internally. They advise users to use a third-party screen capture app, which might actually lose some of the conference flow. Also, there is no file sharing capabilities at this time. Other web-based apps feature file sharing or empower third-party APIs to remedy this.
It is also problematic that users can only see one HD video stream at a time. Right now, you can only see video of the person speaking or their screen share. This severely reduces the presentation functionality of High Five.