Jonathan Mangnall has a long history working with video distribution systems. He was Sales Director at Endeleo which was acquired by AMX in 2006, which as you all know way acquired by Harman in 2014. And our guest remained on a Sales Director and VP of Enterprise Sales through that time.
Just last year he decided to shift gears and embrace software defined AV by founding U-topia Technologies, which distributes Utelogy’s AV control and management platform.
this is a software defined survival where we talk to AV IT professionals and software developers to find out how to leverage software to reinvent ourselves and we do business we listen to their stories and ask for advice and tactics on how to survive and thrive in a software defined what today on software defined survive it is a world that accepts disruption of the moment so it’s a good time to be doing the still of the business for those that want to but there is a lot more business for those that do you want to change and surprise great and the getting greetings everyone in AV lands my name is Patrick Murray and welcome to software defined survival today’s guest has a long history working with video distribution systems he was sales director at Angelo which was acquired by amex in two thousand six which as you all know was acquired by harmony in two thousand fourteen and are read our guest remained on as sales director and VP of enterprise sales throughout that time and just last year he decided to shift gears and embrace software defined AV by founding utopia technologies which distributes utilities AV control and management platform please welcome Jonathan mangle Jonathan welcome to the show thanks Patrick in debt thanks for the introduction and that yeah we’ve been around a long time and in this space them but I think it’s time for bed is disruption so excited about what the future brings absolutely is there anything about the introduction you’d like to correct or expand upon no no that’s at the very start because it was an delay have not in the lead but set now we’ve we’ve been around a long time and this is a bunches of that started and a liar went to a mix and a few few remains and went into the home and Jenny and it was it was a fantastic journey in them I think something that we spend a lot of time doing was understanding customs needs were changing the way that we sell to people and that really leads into the software defined AV stuff because it’s all about the user the user experience the way that our customers interface with the technology both from an implementation of management center uses going to be at that takes is along this paradigm shift into software as a service threw up through the time amex we spend a lot of time understanding the custom Jenny and moving the sales process from being talking about technology to understanding the outcomes people needed I’m focusing on that so exciting to bring that learning that in the great learning that we got from those businesses into this New World and and you know it is all about the customer it is all about the outcome and and I think that software defined ate meat gives a better outcome to a lot more people than you know the key areas scuttle had we scale and a business that historically has been very difficult to discuss and the only sea world allows us to do that yeah absolutely it will we hear this word experience a lot lately with Infocom changing their name and just in general user experience instead of user interface and things like that and %HESITATION in AV yeah we I think you know you’ll always need some kind of hardware where the software will need to run but I think we get the sequencing wrong where we may come to a customer with solutions and present our solutions instead of first finding out what what it is that they need what their outcome is and I think the sequencing is is very important you know what what the order is what do you do first instead of looking at your solution look at what the customer needs and %HESITATION you mention that quite a few times and I think that’s a really important part of a software defined or any kind of solution at all whether it’s proprietary or not yeah I got you you’re exactly rights and the the the AV industry particularly because he’s grown up with experts in audio people that was sound engineers experts in video I’m that focus is always on the latest and greatest technology we need to have four K. we need to have whatever it is from an audio perspective he’s all about having the very best specification people have driven by product specifications rather than saying what is it these guys want to do what does it makes you look like how many people are in the group how they communicate I’m you know and sometimes the solution needs to be at the right price and it needs to be good enough to do what they need to do I’m a map is where the outcome can be defined more clearly I’m people don’t get hung up on crating something around a specification which is a technical specification model said go and you know in all of these things can be dependent on the environment using it all of those things importing these people can have a good meeting quickly reliably and at the right price absolutely I remember when I got started out one of the first companies I worked for the engineer and sales person would actually attend meetings at at the customer just to find out what their work flow was was like and I think that %HESITATION has kind of gone a bit missing over the years could you tell me a little bit about your most successful or rewarding AV project and and what made it special for you yeah that’s that’s a really good question and and and very relevance in it it was a large and insurance reinsurance company in London a couple of years ago and and they had a great sales team with me after that said amex in those days Jeff Gordon and his crew and we spent a lot of time is actually a on and going in moving into the island censored and ready interestingly that whole business as you might imagine the insurance reinsurance probably not the most exciting topic in the world but was depends on a lot of people wandering around London with reams of paper under the wrong having meetings with other interesting insurance people and they had fairly dowdy dull offices around so that the Devonshire square level market area multiple offices and I’m one of the biggest challenges as we got into understand the customer was actually around HR and staff retention staff recruitment and getting the right talent in that business and having the right talent is critical for the growth of any business so is there any relocated from multiple buildings to these new shiny cheese grated soured Monday the big focus was on that people the the experience they were gonna give them this wonderful new office space and the tools that would enable them to do that job back to but really importantly at a platform that they would create that would make them want to work there for longer also importantly to recruit the best talent you know from the graduate so what coming at a university that would come to this place and go wow that’s a place I want to work that’s a place that’s in line with the great experience I’ve had with technology it might wonderful university that’s you know the place for me so when we started the journey with you know as always we wanted to talk about how all product was back to the non compact which is in all of these key areas but as we went through that whole sales process we probably met thirty or forty people from the organization on I have to say probably less than ten percent of those people anything to do with technology we met everybody from the receptionist to that he eight to the CS CIO CEO who were interested in what this technology would mean to them how it would change the bottom they worked in a whole host of uses that we evaluated the products as we put in these proofs of concepts sounds simple and we won the business because we listen to them we spend an enormous amount of time understanding that needs discussing what they the outcome was they wanted understanding what that work flow was how they would interact with this but also educating them on on what using a new style video collaborative system would would me and at the end of the day and it causes to win the business and you have do we have the best products we we probably thought we did but it was really all about driving to the rights have come so your question was we had the most satisfying style you know in recent years because it takes all the boxes of what we’re talking about now that was incredibly satisfying buddy to sunset then set the standard for global romance and you know and again one of the things as we’ve all this conversation is you know from a sales perspective who for many organizations perspective you want to sell it once and deploy often so from the the end user is going to be you may want to specify it once and deploy often because it’s a huge cost involved in evaluating technology understanding how it’s going to be road where it’s gonna deployed and if they can be deployed in all the places you want to I am because not everything can be supplied everywhere and and often times the single biggest problem that but whatever the guy is the global head of meeting space is arriving have is actually around global logistics and supply chain so yeah I did a really great sales process to really untested outcome and you know we need more of that and that’s really set the scene for many organizations now they want to have standard solution they want to understand what it is that they use is making and that was one of them got to deploy that everywhere around the world simply quickly and at minimal cost absolutely as a as a programmer you’re singing to the choir programmers hate writing the same code over and over again you should just do it once and then you know deployed over and over again so that’s absolutely are extremely important point made here but what I really like about that story is how you pointed out the knock on effects of the systems that that we install it’s not only about collaboration in maybe a collaboration system but if that fails then that company may not attracts the right talent they’ll have staffing issues because of the technology deployed in that office and I think that’s a really interesting point to make is that the things we do have more facts than than what they’re directly intended for yeah and and yet a part of this is understanding in the stake holders are in the decision making process for a new project and often you know in the old in the old days it was the AV guys because they wanted to talk about speeds and feeds and they were obsessed with the technology the real stake holders now all the uses its corporate real estate it’s a job because you know they won’t arrive right solutions for that company and that is in a week might be the sales ladies because if it’s a sales organization they want to know how that can communicate faster with the customers with their colleagues I’m to drive business efficiencies to improve whatever it is that the organization does so yeah it it’s it’s a critical part of it and it’s not no longer nice to have it is mission critical and a V. typically hasn’t been if if if we didn’t used to work you know they’re just not use it or go to another space and it didn’t have the same cachet you have we don’t see eye sees coping ninety nine point nine percent uptime and a V. there I say because it’s our industry was probably eighty percent at best people got used to that we got used to the mediocrity as as we move into the I. T. space and you go video ever I’ve created with the products like SP aside and then there’s some things that are coming to the fore now I expect enterprise grade delivery and the getting so that’s a good thing yeah so we’ve got up our game a navy we want to %HESITATION change with the times let’s let’s shift do have something in common she’s gonna say and you have some are and some months and data that the still lots of business for those that don’t want to but there’s a lot more business for those that do want to change yeah there’s a lot of opportunity there but of course changes hard it’s difficult it’s scary and %HESITATION that’s kind of why I’m doing this podcast just to talk to people and get ideas and and some ammunition and some %HESITATION maybe some body armor on and how to make that change face the changes that are coming so let’s shift gears here and talk about the solution that you’re working with now you tell OG what is it that a difference differentiates utility from other control solutions I am I think primarily that they did it isn’t hardware dependent and there’s a couple things so it’s it’s seven based its cloud based it’s incredibly flexible it’s very agile and it’s it’s typically very low cost because there’s no hardware is next and see each other on the control room the room you don’t necessarily need an expensive touch final I’m and importantly we’re actually yeah I’m agnostic to one of the other systems that are installed so if people have an existing state of control technology you know from the big to an amex or Crestron we can control environment but we can also control new environments directly I’m using our own technology from a touch for new touch final point of view you can seven fights demo five owns it any device you want it could be a fine it could be a template or it could be at a desk lamp see them display touch display that it’s running android in something like that and you said the critical thing here is that it is software and it doesn’t have to be sold as a as a capital cost for project it can be sold as an operational expense which takes is into the as a service model which is something that is I think becoming more mortal to bounce around in the AV space is clearly something that’s been going on for a long long time in the icy world and but really that’s that’s where we come to with the solution and interestingly there’s not a whole week to talk about other than you can control you can monitor you can manage you can do meeting rooms you have a an online help desk everything that you would once in in this perfect AV world I’m you can have using a piece of software because with talking to the equipment and and receiving information once the Paso but you can also talk back to me equipment to make you do the things that a control system makes it do so really really simple inexpensive can be sold as a service so people effectively get more day one the may yet than they ever anticipated because there’s no capital outlay required if people want to go down that model yeah it’s it seems like a software and as a service %HESITATION kind of go hand in hand if there was some one thing so if you think about your your most successful dealers installers integrators and customers however it is it’s distributed which we’ll talk about the second if you think about them what and had to pick one or two things that really sets them apart the reason why they have success with you tell the jury what with those with those things me I am I think they understand the value of and a long term relationship with their customers said they’ve built some kind of a managed service model which represents you know ideally twin at ten to twenty percent of their their existing revenue if you don’t have a service model and you don’t have that mentality then you may not be the right organization you know the difficulty is that the majority of of of all current integrate Zampa right and and this is you know drug driven by the the end uses that operates on a capital expense model because the the time when a bi solution solutions refreshed and renewed it’s been driven in the event is normally moving into a new building when he moved to new buildings big capital costs put together which covers things like getting free they then have all of that AV solution until they move buildings again that’s not the case with on C. you know I see is refreshed when he seemed to be refreshed based on business outcomes the business needs I’m and you should be able to do that with a V. as well so there are organizations that have a service model and we’re talking to some of those at the moment and they’re excited what’s utility can bring that serves as the regions of the customers with small hands that they can have remote so that customers you know and and effectively they can extend this service model they can be we can say the word they can charge more for the service to give them a better outcome you know things like all you help facility to be on the cool directly to help desk and beat all of that on prime moral strength to support and I’m in a room more all of those sorts of things critical the site some businesses get they sometimes and and some some of the integrators will continue down the the traditional route sure foot for those so this also comes a lot is if people get it or don’t and I have a hard time coming up with a better way of saying that myself but it really is you either you understand and see this thing coming or or you or I don’t know I think everybody does understands that changes underfoot and but a lot of people are grappling with how to change and it really does come down to adopting a new business model and I guess it doesn’t have to be an overnight thing what would you say are the first steps would be the first step for a company that maybe is a little concerns but knows they have to make this kind of change it’s it’s a great question and it’s something that that is that an organization and as it you know with the border set you tell you we talk about a lot is what is our roots in markets and what are the critical factors of identifying all rights and I think so the will to change it is the most critical thing me the I think the ownership of the business need to look at where they want to be in a few years time you know because some business is the ownership is getting older and older there’s no succession plan that full they don’t really know what I’m there is some young guy organizations that have a very forward thinking and and it may be because they have an exit strategy I’m you know maybe they will insist make themselves attractive to be acquired by larger IT company you know there’s there’s all sorts of things I think importantly that people have the wherewithal to change their business model and it is no longer business as usual I’m any doesn’t mean they have to change it I would not you can run as a service model currently with capital models so you have these things are mutually exclusive I’m but it’s all driven by the ownership and if people come to me and they don’t understand the proposition and it’s not the band then that’s absolutely fine we’ve we’ve but we’ve got a loser early and we gonna move on to the next because because there is a whole heap of people out there that can help to deliver this and not all of them are in the traditional and the spice right which brings up the next interesting thing we had a short conversation before this call and you were talking about that that way AV projects are done it may be done by other types of companies can you talk about other types of a distribution channels or other types of of companies or markets that up me kind of replace some of what we do yeah absolutely and and this is happening right now %HESITATION interestingly there’s an organization we worked with this and that and the I. S. who work for me the largest integrates reigned in battle looks they were quiet last year by a French company an IT company called gonna come a multi billion euros organization rates in seventeen countries but they sell IT is a service their ambition is to ten a I S. again this is based on the leadership of the ice wanting this so you know it’s a great because they’re a forward thinking organization but these guys want to create ATV as a service backed by clinical I think they spend tens of millions of dollars every month on IT equipment that they then finance inputs into that customer base I want to take that model and replicates in the eighties space so that they’re an example of someone that he’s doing that here and now so you know in terms of a target audience like utility those guys are a great opportunity but if we also then looked back at the office environments we’ve lived in and works and for the last twenty thirty forty years is that is that I know a bunch of organizations that have had a presence in probably every office without work and those of the print copy guys you know there are some great models out there some great training grounds sales people alike since Xerox and Ricoh work these days who have sold photocopies and princes to multiple organizations they sold its X. model as nobody owns a fax a copy expected he rents it all of these devices now typically RP connected so if there was ever a need to service them or to send that will tell me that done automatically over the network and all of these network devices all of these organizations have a large number of break fix engineers all over the country support school of their customers I’m interesting me one thing that most organizations do less so now is prince copies so these these companies are looking for the next thing that replaces printing copying which is and collaboration if people have a meeting now yes they still use the document but it’s digital you can amend it you can change it you could draw on it you could modify real sign that the end of the meeting you send it to the rest of the the meeting participants said these guys interestingly %HESITATION neck customers because they typically got a three year contract that IT savvy because all of that device is Iraqi connected they understand the service model they understand what it means from a business point of view to a new customer and to own them for a long period of time what they have now is the opportunity to sell more services and and more technology into these places so we had a print copy market is something that is really interesting and I know who people like Rico are investing heavily in in people and that infrastructure to support this they have a monstrous customer base around the world and you know the people we’re talking to any man judiciary is is massive when you know the critical thing here is that many of the meeting spaces that are less complex never they were armed with solutions light utility there’s no programming nearly configuration and you can create a consistent level of experience an outcome really easily remotely in many of our customs rituals in that want to deploy the same solution all over their state whenever the world we have to manage monitor that and deploy it centrally without expensive technical resource on site is is music to everyone’s is fascinating fascinating you know in business it’s always important to know who your competition is both present and future and I think the way the way you did that you what kind of zoomed out from what we do and just kind of had a meta look at what we do and if you picture everything in the office as just appliances including the AV equipment then %HESITATION that can give you a completely different perspective and allow you to our to maybe yes and who your future competition might be and it could be come from completely out of left field something like a photocopy companies would be completely unexpected but it does make perfect spent sense when you are when you explain it that way absolutely and and I I think you know we’ve also got a look at what’s happening in the rest of the world in terms of wet disruptions coming from and the things that we do now in our everyday lives we didn’t do very few years ago and we’ve we’ve we’ve very quickly changing at that this New World and the critical bit here is that the majority of people in the gonna be using this technology are just regular consumers and the guys that go down the High Street by mobile bite on the contract and and you know they buy the thing that they like them if it’s as simple as that wait wait can be talking to tens of thousands of organizations that have no idea about what brand of technology is that they use in their offices they just know that they get a good I’ve come and they don’t care absolutely and and what should so another point you you touched on was that no programming ends this is also an interesting kind of %HESITATION dichotomy with software defined solutions you can do a lot more configuration so just a quick question where do you see guys like myself AV programmers how can they still provide value in this kind of an environment okay does it is a couple of points there is that the the the old Davey space isn’t going to go away is still going to be lots of big boardrooms conference rooms conventions senses stadiums they need the arts and crafts style of programming complex one off solutions those on going away what’s happened here is the market is as gods and monstrously big you know by the proverbial fact true maybe even a hundred you know with the we talking about whatever it is fifty five million meeting spaces around the world you know if you actually start to do some modeling around many spaces you want to have on the management in your business over here to tell what that looks like from a financial model that becomes really exciting so going back to the program is there’s loads of work still for everyone today because in reality there’s never really been in the program is to go around what what what what’s happened is the market’s got bigger and but as the market gets bigger is go bigger in terms of volume meeting spaces that are typically less complex and you know and while some show lots of companies will tell you differently a meeting room in a bank is the same as a meeting room and insurance companies Sam’s a meeting room and legal company echo doesn’t need to be any different what does need to be is robust proven and we’ll give you a great outcome every time we doesn’t need to be buggy because you just have to buy a different piece of code because someone’s a different in that room that’s not where we want to get to all of that stuff will still exist however one of the things that we want to do we want to build a community of people that are able to write drivers and you know as we go further wider into managing different technologies we still need drivers and in a way writing drive is all day every day of we already have a community with it within the challenging business across the world the right to drive is all the time so there is an opportunity if you can program in C. shop and there’s lots of young kids out there that could programming C. shop as well that they can help and so I’m like we have to adapt an adult new methods and processes whether it’s from a child’s point of view an implementation point of view and programs need to do sank nothing’s forever and people can keep on doing the same things forever I’m sure this will be a living so we might but there’s there’s also lots of different ways of doing things you know we always need grace and uncool user interfaces you have people looking great stuff and I smell on live it’s a different it’s a different different things that we need to but it it still programming and and %HESITATION writing codes and but but to a different level it states that you had some great points there out will there’s but so they’ll always be a need for custom right they’ll always be custom projects that don’t fit into any kind of a framework some of the other things that you mentioned were like HTML five and C. sharp and I’m really of the opinion that you don’t need to be young kid out of college to learn these new languages I’ve done it myself it takes a week or two or maybe even a month of of some painful learning it’s not exactly easy but once you get over that initial hardship of of the of changing how you think about things I think you’re much in a much better position because you bring all of that AV experience that you had with you on to these new platforms and it it just it could be really powerful and I think it’s a it’s a big opportunity so you mentioned writing drivers what would that look like a like an absolute type of the thing or would an integrator find a programmer for the special drivers that he needs yet I’m and the I mean it’s it’s there’s two things here that it would be great to have a driver that does everything that a product can do but if you had something complicated like a video will control the you know you don’t necessarily need a drivers to be able to change the color balance you need drivers to be at a do whatever it is you want the use it’s we have to do which is maybe some presets in some configurations with the video that comes back to looking at the outcome first absolutely %HESITATION but because we’re managing and monitoring it may be that there are states of that device that you want to manage and monitor but you wouldn’t necessarily need to control you see what I mean are you wanna know what what’s going on that you may want to know the temperature you may want to know the utilization but you eat at night needed to work so sometimes the drivers may need to be more complicated and complex and ending up it sounds less so I’m so we want we want to build a community of people that are right respected to understand what the outcomes are put them back into the intelligent machine will verify them and and you know they’ll be there up in the cloud for everybody to use and and that’s growing old son you know because one of the one of the things it’s important here is that some people want to buy solutions not utility only for the management and monitoring I’m so into a number integrates is actually now you have a larger states custom is they they manage but they didn’t have the granularity and in terms of what they can manage and monitor so this gives them the opportunity but again drivers will need to be written for the sum of the legacy equipments and that but that’s the same with any software solution absolutely you if your ends correct buying a safety for your business you’ll spend whatever millions is on that but then another probably five times that implements thing you you you you can’t just plug it in and he’s gonna do everything round that day needs to be the appetite to to do the legwork as well to get the outcome so in those instances so going back to you know skills of people like you sell this stuff to be done that absolutely yeah Sir when yes there’s just nothing nothing’s going away and in the same way that you know as as a business as as running a sales team getting a sales team to show that they’re right focus from the capital sale sewer I don’t take sides whether getting an amount per month is actually very difficult thing to do you know of sales people to coin operated and if you change their business model everyone has to adapt so it’s not about if the if you go through the whole market everything needs to change I’m you know something’s going to change radically some things need to be tweaked but it is changing and the only way to succeed is to embrace change and move forward with it and as with every walk of life some people do some people down and then it is a it is a world that accepts disruption of the moment so it’s a good time to be doing it great for is the Monaco again that it is a world that accepts destruction that is true we see it all over the place they requested a I’m Frank Pellkoffer CEO of Utelogy. said I should ask you about the machete club where the mission I cut out the machete clueless is sorry that Frank yeah that sets up a couple years ago and it’s really fat people in the industry you will go out with a machete and they will Wade through the jungle than that will create a new path for is because the raw the complexities of an old state organization where people say this is the way we do it in a recount do it that way so sometimes you need people to bludgeon you and Frank is set this up with a number of industry friends and and people in the industry that like to think a little bit differently and who out frankly out for a bit of destruction and so I went to the machete club drinks evening in that an icy and it was in a remote location in a very funky are on the side of the dock somewhere nice you can tell me where is because I’m not really sure how we got there by bus and but it was it was a great it was a great evening and there was lots of like minded individuals that that they wanted to talk about changing and understood the need for change not change for the sake of it but you know where do we go in the future and people that on I am on a freight to throw ideas around and then you know this is a great quote that I like to use it was from an ice hockey man Wayne Gretzky that you miss a hundred percent of the shots you know and I don’t think that’s really true you’ve you’ve got to really look at the market and and try things not everything’s going to work but you know if you got a file fail quickly and fell cheaply but let’s have a go and because I’m just doing everything the same way and expecting a different outcome is is it is not really the way forward so we have to adapt to changing the machete club is really all about is people out that some young some old that I’ve got some great ideas and he provides a platform for people to talk to each other and to have those ideas and and hopefully driving forward and you’ll probably see a lot of stuff coming out soon Adams machete club members because that’s where the entrepreneurial spirit lies and then I’m excited that with parts of excellent I think that is a great sentiment to wrap up this show on if anybody would like to get in touch with you or find out more about utility or the machete club how would they go about doing that and my website which is evolving as you dashed hope yet don’t tack and my email address is Jonathan the mangled it you don’t you dash terapeuta track and alright go to the utility websites as well and you can find one of our contact details that but Sam we’re out in the market we are disrupting it’s phenomenally exciting time and %HESITATION I’m excited to be possible thanks very much for your time Patrick Johnson thank you so much for being on the show she is alive Patrick here again thanks for listening to the show if you enjoyed this discussion if you liked what you’ve heard if you want to hear more discussions like this please go to iTunes reader review subscribe to the show send me a comment get in touch with me somehow and let me know that you’re out there listening and that’ll motivate me to keep doing shows so driving or whatever asks you to set something in your calendar to give you a reminder to go outside thanks thanks for listening to software defined survival for transcripts and show notes go to software defined survival