CES 2020: Klaxoon Teamplayer turns any screen into a collaborative workspace

This fast-growing French startup takes a creative approach to collaboration.

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Klaxoon Teamplayer comprises an appliance that plugs into an HDMI-equipped screen and two Bluetooth peripherals for navigating and interacting with the teamworking software.

Image: Klaxoon

Klaxoon is a French startup founded in 2015 that specialises in collaboration software and companion devices, with a focus on user experience and gamification that's designed to maximise the 'collective intelligence' of meeting participants.

The company is based in Rennes, and following a $50 million funding round in 2018 now has a store in Paris and offices in Lyon, New York and Boston. Klaxoon currently employs 240 people and claims over a million users in 120 countries, with its customer base encompassing enterprises (including all of the CAC 40 and 15% of Fortune 500 companies), universities, schools and SMEs. In September 2019 the company was included in the French government's Next40 list of the fastest-growing startups.

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Klaxoon's existing portfolio comprises Klaxoon3, a suite of SaaS teamworking tools that includes activities like quizzes, surveys, live messages, learning games and AI-augmented brainstorming sessions, with iOS and Android apps available for participants using mobile devices. There are also two hardware products: Klaxoon Box, an appliance that creates a closed wi-fi network for up to 50 concurrent participants, giving access to the teamworking tools when no internet connection is available or when maximum security is needed; and MeetingBoard, a 49-inch interactive whiteboard.

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The Teamplayer console (left), Wheel (middle) and Pad (right).

Image: CES

At CES 2020, the company has unveiled Teamplayer, an appliance with associated peripherals that can turn any screen into a 'smart collaborative workspace'. These devices build on the UX/gamification approach seen in Klaxoon's existing portfolio, as partnerships and alliances director Matthieu Poupard explained to ZDNet.

"We're not at the proof-of-concept stage anymore, and the Teamplayer product is the way to basically keep answering these needs. Meetings are definitely needed in the workplace, but the way the modern workplace is evolving makes meetings, and thinking as a team, more and more challenging. People work on different projects, on different timetables, on different sites -- thinking is not that easy on a day-to-day basis."

"Teamplayer is designed as a teamwork and visual management console that will allow you to easily connect to screens around you -- in the office, in a hotel, at home -- and turn them into a collaborative workspace," Poupard said.

There are three elements to Teamplayer: an appliance that hosts the Klaxoon software and plugs into any HDMI-equipped screen; and a pair of Bluetooth-connected controllers -- the Wheel and the Pad.

"The idea is to bring more ergonomics to your everyday collaboration practices," said Poupard. "In the music and video gaming industries, hardware interfaces that simplify the way you interact with complex software have been available for years, but that hasn't really been offered to collaboration.

"The Wheel allows you to move around the software by rotating the ring, and it notifies you about what's going on. The Pad has nine dynamic shortcuts, so when you're on a Klaxoon page -- a brainstorm, for example -- it will automatically pull the relevant action buttons onto the high-res touchscreen."

The Klaxoon platform already has links to Microsoft's Teams and Dropbox, and Teamplayer will continue this open approach.

"We'll be announcing new partners in the coming months -- that's definitely on my to-do list. We want to make it a very open platform, not only for productivity software, but also for things that could appeal to the remote worker at home. The line between work and personal life is thinner, so why not be a little more creative when onboarding extra software? With an open API, it's very easy for us to reference different software."

The CES announcement is very much an unveiling rather than a full launch. Fine-tuning following user trials, for example, "will be done in the months to come," Poupard said. Klaxoon Teamplayer will launch in June 2020 and cost from $890 (~€795/£677), but has already received a CES 2020 Innovation Award.