HubSpot INBOUND Event

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In 2005, HubSpot had a vision that small companies should be able to manage their marketing and websites with a single easy-to-use software package. Today, that vision is becoming a reality for many companies. HubSpot has annual revenues of $375+ million, thousands of employees, and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. More importantly, HubSpot now provides very sophisticated and powerful marketing/website software to large brands all over the world.

INBOUND is an annual event hosted by HubSpot. It’s a multi-day event that, in 2017, drew over 21,000 attendees to Boston. For HubSpot and many other software companies, INBOUND is regarded as_ the_ major event of the year focused on marketing, lead generation, and sales. It’s an opportunity to bring together a community of people who are passionate about marketing, selling, and delighting customers in an inbound way. It is essential to HubSpot that the tens of thousands of INBOUND attendees go home armed with renewed enthusiasm and knowledge that they can use to grow themselves and their business. An event like INBOUND reflects HubSpot’s mantra to always be innovative, well-run, and well-executed.

Urgency: A Big Event with Big Communication Challenges

The INBOUND event has a lot of moving parts:

* The 2017 event was held in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), the largest meeting facility in the northeastern United States, with approximately 550,000 square feet of event space. That’s equal to almost 10 football fields! In addition to the 21,000 attendees, INBOUND also included thousands of HubSpot and partner employees, BCEC and vendor representatives, production company employees, and union laborers.

* Over the course of four days, the event offers hundreds of sessions across several distinct tracks, including keynote and spotlight sessions from the biggest names in the industry. INBOUND is not your usual humdrum industry event - there are plenty of opportunities to renew, discover, network, and even have a laugh. One such event, “INBOUND Rocks”, provides attendees with a hilarious stand-up comedy show, headlining famous comedians, celebrities, and writers. Coordinating so many different events simultaneously is a monumental communications task.

* Security, of course, is always a top priority at a venue the size of INBOUND. HubSpot dedicates a team of security professionals to ensure the safety and security of the event. This effort includes working with the BCEC and City of Boston personnel.

Needed: An Alternative to Radios

With hundreds of event-related staff slated for INBOUND each year, a robust and versatile communications platform is vital to keep security and sessions running smoothly.

During the early years of INBOUND, HubSpot used Sprint Nextel’s push-to-talk (PTT) phones. When Sprint discontinued Nextel in 2013, the company started using traditional two-way radios. But radios were expensive, bulky to carry, and frequency limitations made them unreliable.

With the event’s mix of HubSpot employees, partners, day workers, vendors, and union workers, all with their own personal devices, HubSpot decided that the communications solution had to support a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment.

Nick Duda, Principal Security Engineer, was charged with finding a communications solution for INBOUND. His team researched numerous walkie-talkie style apps and discovered ZelloWork. During the proof-of-concept phase, they ruled out other PTT solutions, as none of them met as many of their requirements as ZelloWork did.

* They found that carrier PTT apps supported only a limited number of devices and required use of the carrier’s own data network. Zello, by contrast, ran on Wi-Fi and any carrier data network, on most iOS or Android devices.

* They knew some of their users would need hands-free access to communication. They also knew that others would need to talk and listen unobtrusively. No other PTT app supported the wide assortment of Bluetooth, wired earpieces, and headsets that ZelloWork supported.

* Most importantly, they knew that any solution had to be clear, fast, solid as a rock, and allow HubSpot people anywhere in the world to easily communicate. Finally, it also had to be easy to use. After testing several apps, ZelloWork was clearly superior on this score.

Deadline: Get ZelloWork Up and Running in a Few Weeks

With the event only a few weeks away, Nick contacted Zello about his need for a PTT solution for INBOUND. The Zello team assured him that ZelloWork would be a good solution for his event and quickly engaged in the project.

Through active engagement, the Zello team worked with Nick to set up the ZelloWork network quickly and efficiently. By using ZelloWork’s “Import Users” feature, Nick could easily create hundreds of user accounts simultaneously by using a CSV file.

The Zello team also taught Nick how to use ZelloWork Channels and User Roles effectively. These are settings managed from the web-based management console. Channels are defined groups of users who need to talk to each other frequently. Individual Channels can be set up for teams within and outside the company. For example, Security, Catering, Transportation, IT staff, etc. could each have their own Channel. User Roles and other settings define what each user assigned to the channel can or cannot do.

Networks are highly flexible, with a limit of 3500 users per channel, and no limit on the number of channels per network. By using the management console, administrators can send sign-on links to users, define channels, assign users to channels, define user roles and select features users can use on their devices. In addition to Channels, users also have the ability to create on-the-fly “Ad Hoc Channels” for small group conversations. Unlike Channels, which are permanent until deleted by the admin, Ad Hoc Channels are designed for quick or temporary conversations, where users can leave at any time, or invite other users.

The Solution and its Results

As the event neared, all users were given their account username and password, along with detailed instructions on how to operate the app. For many, this was their first experience using a walkie-talkie mobile app. With Zello tech support providing guidance, the network was completed, tested, and fully functional in time for the event.

When asked how ZelloWork was performing during the event, Nick replied:

_“It’s been going great...I can tell you the tool has been invaluable. We have a lot of great stories to share on how it was used for a ~20k attendee conference where Zello is used as the primary communications from events team, IT, security and local union teams.”_

A post-event survey conducted by the Hubspot team indicated that users were most impressed with ZelloWork’s sound quality, ease of use, and history/playback features. Users also liked the convenience of talking one-to-one or to a group, something not possible with Nextel.

The initial INBOUND experience was so successful that Hubspot has continued using ZelloWork for all INBOUND and company-sponsored events.

What can Zello do for Your Organization

If you need instant voice communications for your team, please contact our Sales team to request a demo of Zello Work, or start a free 14-day trial. We look forward to helping you explore the many ways in which Zello Work changes the way people communicate and collaborate in the frontline.

About HubSpot

HubSpot is a leading growth platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 48,000 total customers in more than 100 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, the soon to be released Service Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot gives companies the tools they need to manage the customer experience from awareness to advocacy.

HubSpot has been named a top place to work by Glassdoor, Fortune, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Business Journal. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with offices in Dublin, Ireland (EMEA HQ); Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; and Portsmouth, NH.

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