The last I wrote from the #1 unit share PC manufacturer, HP Inc., was at CES 2019, where the company refreshed its lineup with a slew of powerful new immersive displays (see my coverage here). Across the consumer tech industry, there’s always a bit of a lull after the beginning of the year craziness. It’s been that way since I was in the PC business 20 years ago and it hasn’t changed in that sense. Many companies trickle out mid-cycle offerings to keep analysts, journalists, and customers on the line between major announcements. While it’s impossible for an analyst to keep track of all of these mid-cycle announcements, HP is a company I cover inside and out (see my write-up on last year’s Executive Forum here). At HP’s global partner event, Reinvent, the company unveiled several new products and services that may have flown under the radar a bit. Let’s take a closer look.
HP partners with Zoom
The first bit of news I wanted to hit on is HP’s announcement that it is partnering with Zoom, an up-and-coming (and now public) collaboration company, to bring HP technology to more collaboration and conference rooms. The reality is, the days of the $100K-500K video system is dead and is being replaced by IP-based, industry standard equipment that works with productivity suites for better collaboration. The definition of a conference room is changing as well, extending to huddle rooms and shared spaces.
HP and zoom’s joint “HP Zoom Rooms” will pair Zoom’s video conferencing abilities with HP’s Elite Slice mini desktop PCs. HP promises the solution will provide easy, customizable, and flexible meeting room configurations for customers, featuring three different iterations for small, medium, and large rooms. From what I’ve seen HP is delivering on this. Small HP Zoom Rooms support in-room video and conferencing displays and feature an integrated audio module. Medium room configurations support audio, video, and conferencing displays and pair with pre-existing audio and video. Large room configurations feature all of the above, but instead of providing center-of-room control, they pair with existing tablet controls. From the looks of it, there should be an appropriate HP Zoom Room configuration for nearly any organization’s needs. I was also pleased to see that the system is “dummy-proof” making it nearly impossible to get out of Zoom and into Windows.
Introducing HP DaaS Proactive Security Service
Another intriguing announcement was the unveiling of HP’s new security as a service offering, HP DaaS Proactive Security Service. An extension of HP’s Device as a Service offering (see my coverage here), HP says this new offering will aid companies in policy enforcement, active monitoring, and proactive threat response, providing an “extra layer” of defense beyond traditional anti-virus solutions. I think it delivers on this so far based on my initial analysis. HP’s service offers endpoint malware protection, analytics via its “TechPulse technology,” and enforcement of endpoint protection compliance by HP’s Service Experts. Additionally, it comes with a self-assessment tool for security (along with a scorecard) and features incident response and cyber insurance services courtesy of Aon (one of the top global professional services firms). It looks to be a comprehensive solution, and I think it will be a nice complement to HP’s already emerging DaaS offering.
ProBooks and ProDesk
HP also announced at Reinvent an expansion of its AMD commercial portfolio, geared towards small-to-medium sized businesses. The new HP ProBook 445R G6 and the 455R G6 laptops both feature 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen mobile processors and take design cues from HP’s slim, sturdy EliteBook portfolio. They feature a 180-degree hinge so that they can be folded out completely flat for collaborative purposes. In addition to the two notebooks, HP also announced the new ProDesk 405 G4 Desktop Mini, its first 400-series desktop mini. The ProDesk 405 features a 2ndGen AMD Ryzen PRO processor with built-in Radeon graphics and supports up to 3 displays.
Taken all together, these new announcements could help bolster HP’s efforts in the SMB and collaboration market. While I’ll have to get my hands on the new 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen-equipped ProBooks and ProDesk to see for myself, on the surface, they look like solid additions to HP’s PC portfolio. Sometimes vendors cheap out and misconfigure AMD systems trying to save a penny or two so I’ll need some hands-on time. Additionally, I like the concept of tacking on security as a service to HP’s DaaS offerings—I think it will provide another selling point for HP. And let’s face it, everything is going SaaS as many customers want the easy button and are willing to pay for it. The Zoom Room partnership is a smart move that has the potential to get HP’s Elite Slice into more collaborative spaces. All in all, not bad for a handful of mid-cycle announcements.