Channel investors, Hardware, Content, Unified communications

Zoom Invests In Neat for Hardware as a Service Video Conferencing

Zoom Video Communications ($ZM) has invested in Neat to promote hardware as a service (HaaS) coupled with Zoom video conferencing services outside of the United States, the two companies have confirmed. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

It sounds like this may have been Zoom's second investment in Neat, based on how the press release was worded.

Neat, a Norwegian company, has launched Neat as a Service (NaaS) subscription offering -- which allows Zoom Room customers outside the United States to deploy Neat hardware devices in their meeting spaces, the company says.

Neat's hardware and subscription services include:

  • Hardware: Neat Bar and Neat Pad. Also, Neat Board is expected to ship at the end of October 2020.
  • Subscription Services: NaaS is a 24-month plan with flexible payment options, the company says.
  • Example Fees and Program Options: Neat Bar subscriptions start at US$100 per month with an annual billing option. After the initial 24-month term, customers can then choose to upgrade their Neat system for the latest model with the newest hardware technology. Customers can also add further Neat devices to their existing plan to keep everything on a single contract, the company says.

Zoom Invests In Neat: HaaS Initiative Explained

Simen Teigre, CEO, Neat
Simen Teigre, CEO, Neat
Jeff Smith, Zoom

Eric S. Yaun, CEO, Zoom

In a prepared statement about the Neat business relationship and market opportunity, Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan said:

"Zoom and Neat together are making it easy for customers to expand their video conferencing capabilities. Our additional investment in Neat reflects our conviction that Neat's devices are an outstanding complement to Zoom's communications platform. We believe Neat offers innovative technology that ensures Zoom customers enjoy an incredible meeting room experience."

Jeff Smith, head of Zoom Rooms at Zoom, added:

"Zoom customers globally are transitioning back to a mix of office and remote work, and need a scalable, cost-effective way to quickly expand their Zoom deployments in their meeting space. Neat's innovative devices deliver a great user experience and are easy to install and manage. NaaS builds on that by giving customers the purchasing flexibility and choice they need."

Neat CEO Simen Teigre Concluded:

"Neat was designed for Zoom, with the sole purpose of delivering a delightful meeting room experience to Zoom customers. We have achieved that by providing Zoom customers around the globe with our beautifully designed, simple to set up, feature-rich devices. NaaS is the next step in our mission, offering a flexible subscription service that allows businesses to expand their Zoom solution with Zoom Rooms in a hassle-free way."

Zoom and Rival Hardware as a Service (HaaS) Strategies

Zoom introduced its Hardware as a Service (HaaS) strategy in early July 2020. The effort includes:

Zoom's HaaS effort faces plenty of competition. Cisco Systems touted various Hardware as a Service opportunities to partners during Cisco Partner Summit 2019. Also, most major PC, server, video conferencing and IT distribution companies now offer some form of HaaS or financing to foster pay-as-you-go hardware consumption models.

Still, some HaaS programs have mixed reputations among VARs, MSPs and other types of channel partners. The reason: While software is relatively simple to offer and consume on a monthly basis, HaaS often involves carefully considered financial math to make the pay-as-you-go devices and infrastructure profitable for vendors, distributors and partners.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.