DisplayNote, founded in 2012, simplifies presentation, sharing, and collaboration in meeting spaces and classrooms worldwide, headquartered in Belfast and Murcia, respectively.
Paul Brown, CEO of DisplayNote, reflects on the company’s journey from inception to its current success. He also shares insights from his experience as an opportunist, highlighting key lessons learned along the way.
Embarking on the DisplayNote adventure…
Reflecting on the inception of DisplayNote takes me back to the transformative era of technology in the early 2010s. It was a time when handheld devices were altering the landscape of education. The introduction of the iPhone and iPad signified more than mere gadgets; they heralded a shift in the dynamics of classroom engagement.
For me, the potential of these devices in education was evident, we were starting to see initiatives coming into schools such as ‘Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD).’ Thus, DisplayNote was born in 2012, not merely as a product but as a response to a pressing need for educators to embrace mobility and enable them to shift from being the dominant figures in the classroom to becoming facilitators and empowering student engagement.
The early days weren’t devoid of competition. We navigated a landscape where others were also exploring similar territories, each with their unique approach towards enhancing classroom experiences.
In addition, the journey wasn’t without its challenges. The concept of (BYOD) was slow to materialize in schools due to its cost implications, plus schools were only beginning to find out what was required of their network. However, we were lucky that our early clients were pivotal in laying the foundation for DisplayNote.
That first year for me, marked a new learning journey. To aid the mission of making connectivity as easy as saying hello, I stepped into unchartered territory and ventured into raising funds, establishing a company board, and finding new customers. It was a significant learning curve.
The product evolution…
Understanding customer problems and spotting opportunities have always been my focus and with that in mind, our journey started with a classroom concept that evolved into the screen-sharing application (Montage). While we were ahead of the market in some ways, it took a while for classrooms to catch up. Initially, we delved into hardware because classroom projectors had no compute capability.
When interactive displays emerged around 2016/2017 with operating systems, integrating our software naturally became easier to embed within displays.
Following that, we developed our call and app launcher for meeting rooms (Launcher) to make it simple for meeting room users to have quick and easy access to all their calls and favourite apps – without compromising on security or locking into a single UC vendor.
This solution was debuted as a proof of concept in February 2019 and as a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) at InfoComm that same year, just before Covid hit. Despite the timing, we recognized the growing importance of video conferencing. We aimed to address the challenge of seamless connectivity in meeting rooms, offering an agnostic platform that allowed easy connectivity for a user when they walked into a meeting room to connect to a call, regardless of whether it was on Teams, Zoom, Skype, WebEx, and more.
We didn’t appreciate just how quickly the impact of Covid would have on the acceleration of video conferencing but also diminishing the number of meetings taking place as people weren’t attending the office. However, that first Covid year saw a healthy growth of the Launcher software. We continued investing in it, collaborating closely with our existing display manufacturers providing Windows Operating Systems. This improved the user experience for meeting room attendees utilizing shared PCs, ensuring both shared and secure interactions through our Launcher software.
Where we are now…
Fast forward to the present day, where DisplayNote has recently been acquired by the Volaris Group part of the Canadian Constellation Software Group – listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The decision to be acquired wasn’t just about finding a suitor; it was about securing the future of DisplayNote as an entity. Volaris, with its decentralized model and commitment to preserving the identity and legacy of companies it acquires, aligned perfectly with our vision.
For the DisplayNote team, being part of this larger group offers opportunities for growth in everyone’s personal development.
Our strategies are honed toward achieving audacious goals, aligning departments, and expanding within the Volaris ecosystem. The emphasis on our core values of collaboration, integrity, innovation, commitment, and relationships remains paramount as we envision a future where DisplayNote continues to be a great place to work.
If my experience has told me anything, it is that the technology landscape changes so rapidly, and companies have to respond quickly to these changes. With every challenge, there is an opportunity for new growth. Being agile enough to identify opportunities has been a real strength of the team in DisplayNote, and this will continue to be true for the company. As we continue a new journey under Volaris, we are excited about how we can expand our technology, our customers, and the DisplayNote team.
We are working on some exciting product developments and new technology partnerships that will expand our growth through 2024 and beyond. For example, just recently we have enhanced our Airplay feature within our screen sharing solution which has reduced connectivity from 8 seconds to almost instantly. DisplayNote aims to make connectivity between devices, faster and simpler, helping to solve the challenges in meeting room and classroom environments. Our customer partnerships continue to expand with some of the world’s leading interactive display brands, including; Newline, Smart Technologies, Dell, Ricoh, Clevertouch, Avocor.