NAME: Simen Teigre
OVERTIME: After earning his master’s degree in industrial technology, Teigre progressed rapidly through various executive roles at Tandberg and Cisco before founding Pexip last year.
SCN: At what moment did you realize that you were destined for a career in technology?
Simen Teigre: I have always loved technology from my first memory of dropping an action figure with a parachute from our balcony at age three, and the day I built my first Lego Technic car at age five, spending five hours in deep concentration to finish it. As I grew up, I was always fascinated by all kinds of technologies and I don’t think I ever really considered a career outside technology.
SCN: What has surprised you most about the evolution of video telecommunications in the decade since you earned your master’s degree in industrial economics with an emphasis on finance and telecommunications?
Offline, Teigre enjoys outdoor pursuits. ST: I think the biggest surprise has been how long it’s taken for video communications to be adopted by everyone. The first time I ever saw a video system was at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology when I was 10, a system designed for the ISDN network. In college, I remember being fascinated by Microsoft NetMeeting; how I could talk to friends in the U.S. on my computer with a live video feed. Video communications for everyone felt very close back then. Fifteen years later, people are using Skype on their computers and FaceTime on their iPads, but video communication is still not the preferred mode of communication in business. Things are seriously starting to shift now, and Pexip will be contributing to finally making video access across every organization a reality.
SCN: Your tenure at Tandberg and Cisco escalated through executive roles in business development, finance, operations, and product management and culminated in engineering. How has your business background influenced the decisions you make on the technology side of the business?
ST: I think my broad background across multiple areas of business and technology has made me both more balanced in my decision-making but also more humble. Having been exposed to so many different disciplines, I know very well that a problem can be understood and attacked in myriad ways. That makes me humble as I work with and lead others in problem solving. It has no doubt made me a more well-rounded decision maker.
SCN: As CEO of the newly launched Pexip, what do you foresee as key tenets to survival in the professional AV business today?
Pexip made a bold entrance into the pro AV market at InfoComm 2013. ST: The video communications side of the AV business is in a major transition. Video communication has moved out of the conference room onto every device, and people are starting to expect every meeting to be a video meeting, regardless of where they are or what device they have access to. Audio conference providers, web conference providers, and software companies are all transitioning to offer video communication solutions, alongside traditional video conferencing providers. As with any business in transition, the key thing to survival will be to proactively look for new opportunities to solve customers’ problems, embrace change, and not be afraid of taking risk. Truly understanding the core of customers’ problems and how to help solve them will be key.
SCN: What are your predictions for videoconferencing in 2014?
ST: 2014 will be an exciting year for videoconferencing. The interest for video communications has never been higher, the number of new entrants, as well as options for how to deploy and consume video communications, whether cloud, on-prem, or as a service, is at an all-time high. Big and small players are all focused on delivering great solutions for customers. I think we will look back at 2014 as the year when professional video communications started its journey towards mass-adoption.
Kirsten Nelson is the editor of SCN.