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Xyte’s Andrew Gross on the Value of Hardware-as-a-Service

CI chats with Xyte’s Andrew Gross on the first day of InfoComm on the value of hardware-as-service and how the industry can embrace it.

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Dan Ferrisi: Hello, this is Dan Ferrisi, editor-in-chief with Commercial Integrator. So happy to be joined today at the HDBaseT booth by Andrew Gross of Xyte. Really nice to see you again, Andrew.

Andrew Gross: Thanks, Dan. Happy to be here.

Ferrisi: A lot of what we’re talking about today is the future of the industry, where things are going. I know Xyte is kind of at the vanguard of that because you’re big believers in the “as-a-service,” “as-a-subscription” approach. We think about Apple Music, Netflix, Word, all these things are subscriptions. These days, I think there has been some hesitancy over the years to go to a hardware-as-a-subscription or embracing that in the AV industry. Why do you think there’s been some reluctance? And how is Xyte educating people to move beyond that reluctance?

Gross: Well, I’ll add to your list —Tesla, Apple iPhone. The reason why I add those two specifically is because those are two brands that everyone in the world recognizes as premium brands. When I look at [the AV] industry, it has amazing hardware manufacturers all around. What we’re looking to do at Xyte is be able to empower those hardware manufacturing brands to do exactly what Tesla and Apple do— take that great piece of hardware, offer it as a service, meaning when I buy it on day one, it only gets better on day two, and day 302. Also, it adds more value to the customer and more value to the person that’s buying that piece of hardware, meaning, why should I just buy something that isn’t going to continually get better, that I have to now buy another piece of hardware to replace it? Or, why do I have to  be able to go to the product itself to take control, monitor and manage it when I should just be able to do that in the cloud?

Tesla and Apple have done it— it’s what the AV industry certainly needs to do to move forward. And to answer your question of why this industry hasn’t done it yet, honestly, I think it’s because there’s someone like [Xyte], someone that’s dedicated to empowering these manufacturers to do so hasn’t been around; it’s not an easy task to just change what you do from making hardware to then making hardware-as-a service and software. And we’re here to help those manufacturers.

Ferrisi: At Commercial Integrator, we view ourselves as the handbook for technology professionals, in particular, integrators. What is the value proposition as Xyte would convey it to the integration channel? What should they know about Xyte? Why should they say, “Well, if I want to embrace hardware-as-a-service, Xyte is where I should look?”

Gross: There’s a couple of reasons. The first one, of course, is going to the hardware manufacturer that you love and enjoy, and you love their product. But now they’re offering you, as a system integrator, the ability to go to their cloud-based monitoring and management portal, and they’re cloud-based as-a-service subscription portal. [At Xyte] we’re going help empower manufacturers to then, in turn, empower the channel community to do so.

The other big thing, too, is actually a separate side of our businesses— all of those manufacturers that are developing with Xyte, set off on as-a-service subscription model in the future. What they’re also getting by partnering with Xyte is the ability to have those products all monitored and managed together in a single pane of glass. It’s a product we call Workplace by Xyte. The channel community, the dealer community, the managed service provider community, the system integrator community, can all come to Xyte and buy a license to be able to now resell to end customers that offer management and monitoring services on that single pane of glass.

The most important part about that is that they can now take that license and be able to wrap manage services around it because that’s what’s going to drive that community forward is not just moving boxes from point A to point B, but taking that same box, that you’ve moved to point B, and making sure it’s always working and always up to date and always online for your customer. That’s going to add true value.

Ferrisi: I couldn’t agree more. I think that is the recipe to battle back against commoditization. And commoditization, I think has been the bane of our collective existence for a long time. And I think that is the path to go, I would be remiss not to at least ask about Xyte’s relationship with HDBaseT. Can you provide any insight on that?

Gross: HDBaseT is one of our first partners within the Xyte ecosystem, which was fantastic. [At InfoComm ’22], we have a section at the HDBaseT booth that showcases the Xyte platform. We have a couple of different segments of partnership with the HDBaseT Alliance, of course, one of them being a contributing supporting member. One of the big reasons why we’re part of the HDBaseT Alliance, as a software company, is kind of back to what we were talking about, is all of these different hardware manufacturers coming together to provide a singular solution. A unified solution to the customer is something that [Xyte] can help them do via software.

The other very tactical part of our partnership, as well as that partnership with Valens, and part of the Valens chip that is part of the HDBaseT connectivity actually comes with a base set level of connectivity and control into the Xyte platform.

There’s the tactical, on the ground level of Valens chipset control and management and monitoring directly in any HDBaseT supported manufacturer in the Xyte Cloud, but also the overall push and pull of an Alliance to take this diversification that we’ve seen of technology in the workspace, and bring it together more holistically on a single pane of glass for people to take control of their real estate.

Ferrisi: Every time we chat, Andrew, I feel like I’ve learned something something, so thank you so much for taking the time. I appreciate the investment here at Infocomm 2022 to be here with me for this conversation.

Gross: Thanks, Dan. Always a pleasure.

Ferrisi: Thank you again to Andrew Gross of Xyte for joining me at the HDBaseT booth at day one of Infocomm 2022.