Name: Mark Housley
Company: InFocus Corporation
SCN: You became CEO of InFocus in September—how has your background helped you in your new position? What skills did you bring to the table that made you a fit for this role?
Mark Housley: My career has been focused on taking complex technical problems and then building and managing the teams and tools to solve them. I have been in the role of CEO for the past 20 years, and been part of some of the “firsts” in the connection and collaboration game, including the first digital phone, first voicemail system, first call center, first desktop publishing solution, first all-optical switching systems, and the first energy algorithms for data centers. I’ve dedicated my career to creating solutions that improve the way people work and connect with proven success. That experience brings me the tools that I need to bring InFocus to the next level, including growing the business, with end-to-end solutions that connect people across the table and across the globe.
SCN: What is your main role at the company, and what do your daily duties require?
MH: We started and grew up as a projector company. But we’ve evolved well beyond putting large images on the wall, which greatly improved communication and collaboration, into providing solutions that enable you to communicate across geographies. We’re focused on creating end-to-end solutions specifically designed to improve communication, collaboration, and that make it more effective for people to connect with one another. We believe videoconferencing, custom configured large-scale displays, digital whiteboards, projection, and interactive touchscreens are the solutions that are going to help teams collaborate, save money, and get work done. My role is to drive genuine innovation while providing the vision, tools, and direction to move InFocus, our channel partners and our customers forward. My daily duties involve engaging with our various teams across all departments, from product development, to marketing, sales, and internal relations and empower and inspire the teams toward that common vision.
SCN: Now that you’ve had a few months to settle into your new role, what are some of your goals?
MH: My goal is to grow InFocus, which is what we’ll do with a bigger, stronger team. InFocus is making significant investments—product investments, strategic partner investments, strategic acquisitions—to enable our growth strategy.
As we look forward, we’re making presentation and enterprise collaboration solutions that just work together, and with equipment organizations already have, regardless of legacy videoconference equipment, operating systems, or platform. For example, you don’t need to have five IT guys and hundreds of thousands of dollars to own or operate a professional videoconference system. Our goal is to make affordable systems that work for every business; that’s what InFocus offers now and will offer even more solutions that are easy to use, that work reliably, and that connect people.
SCN: Are there any new initiatives we are likely to see from InFocus in the near future?
MH: We are now positioned for advanced development, innovation, marketing, and servicing an entirely new set of solutions. We’re also strategically partnering and acquiring companies that will make InFocus competitive and successful. Jupiter is one example of that. There is an incredible amount of synergy with what we’re doing and how Jupiter’s software and hardware can help us with that. Their technology dovetails into perfect convergence with our vision to make the best possible collaboration technology and enterprise solutions. In 2016, we’ll show the fruition of the combined teams and provide solutions for our customers that will enable them to do work efficiently, effectively, and easily.
SCN: Collaboration was a big buzzword in 2015—how have you contributed to collaboration solutions and where do you see this trend going in the future?
MH: My vision for collaboration and InFocus’ role in helping companies master that concept is simple: It’s not complicated—it’s supposed to be easy. We are extrapolating a simple concept that happens in offices and classrooms everyday: you grab someone in the hallway, and show them something on a whiteboard. Now scale that over 16 people in eight different countries in a way where everyone can easily see, understand and save the information or idea being shared. In concept, it’s simple, but the technology is complex.
The way you solve problems is to focus. You amass the best tools to solve whatever challenge you have, you break it down, and then you focus on the pieces. We want to help sharpen that focus—make it effective, easy, and fundamental to give you a competitive advantage. We want people to think that, if there’s something they need to solve, do better, connect more, share or collaborate, InFocus has a way to do it.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services that InFocus has to offer?
MH: System contractors should look for the enterprise-based opportunities to help customers navigate needs and deploy optimal solutions to increase collaboration, cost savings, and enhanced productivity. Enhanced productivity and reduced time-to-market are the main reasons companies are looking to add videoconferencing and collaboration/data sharing tools via new corporate AV equipment. Being able to meet spontaneously face-to-face not only allows people at different locations to get more done faster, it also improves camaraderie, communication, and employee morale, which provides a competitive advantage.
Our customer, Sq1, an advertising agency with several offices and partners around the country, measures results from the installation of the InFocus Mondopad by looking at travel, communication between offices, and better presentations to clients. Systems contractors can look at existing use cases and successes and market to businesses and organizations with similar structures and needs.
Kelleigh Welch is managing editor at SCN. You can follow her on Twitter @kelleighwelch.