Enter the War Room with Hall.com

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THE BASICS  Hall.com is billed as a virtual war room for teams to communicate and work in real-time.  It allows individuals to set up networks and rooms.  Networks can exist solely within an individual’s business or organization, or include team members from other businesses or a business’ clients/customer base.  Rooms are set up to allow team members to leave comments and video chat in real time.  The idea behind hall.com is to create a virtual collaboration space for team members that will serve as an antidote to “switching context between email. IM, and Skype.”

THE SKINNY 

Pros: Hall.com makes inviting team members into War Rooms easy – all you have to do  is simply type in a contacts name/email.  Hall is synched with gmail and linked to other social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, so finding and inviting team members already hooked in to other social media sites is a breeze.  Its also, all in all, super intuitive and easy to use and has some nice features (see field notes for more).

Cons: One of its best features, its openness, might be a cause for concern for some businesses that prefer closed circuits and want a lot of options to set permission sets for different users.  Also, on the basic subscription, there is no way to edit/delete comments submitted to a room, and while you can upload files, there is no way to edit Word Docs, excel spreadsheets, etc. online in real time.

THE FAT

Background and Leadership: Hall.com was founded in 2010 by CEO Brett Hellman and CTO Ron Adams and is one of AngelPad‘s graduating companies.  Brett Hellman is a former Product Manager at Intuit and Project/Product Manager at Yahoo. Ron Adams is a former Senior Software Application Engineer at Yahoo.

The Competition: The field of enterprise communication is fairly new, but by entering the field Hall.com is going up against some big names like Salesforce Chatter, and even some smaller names like Huddle.  Hall.com does manage to distinguish itself by being so open, there are no guest accounts, license requirements, or portals that need to be set up to bring new team members into a war room.  Below find a video of CEO Bret Hellman making the case to noted tech blogger Robert Scoble for how Hall.com offers something new and different.

Overall, Hellman makes his case, Hall.com does offer something unique in the sense that it is a perfect tool for collaborating across businesses and engaging clients/customers – but as noted in the pros and cons section –  there are some tradeoffs.  Specifically, in Salesforce for example, while setting up user profiles and permission sets or “sharing islands” can be tedious, sometimes it is a necessary evil.  Also, Hall.com just doesn’t haves some features that other enterprise communication tools do – on Huddle for instance, although it clunky users are able to comment on and edit online specific documents.  Just as users can edit online and track changes in word docs. and spreadsheets on Google drive.  It would be nice if Hall.com, since it is already synched up through gmail, somehow integrated this feature through Google drive.

Pricing: There are three pricing tiers – Personal (free), business ($5/uers/month), and enterprise grade (you have to contact Hall.com for pricing).  To find out what comes with each tier CLICK HERE.

All-in-all, a good deal, though prices might go up after Hall.com officially leaves its beta testing phase.

FIELD NOTES

I’m not an employee at a fortune 500 so I can’t tell you how Hall.com measures up in the business world, but as a program manager at a non-profit, I can tell you Hall.com is an exciting product.  Here is why I love it:

  • It’s easy to use – I work with Habitat for Humanity in New York’s State Support Organization.  Which means I collaborate a lot with individuals from other Habitat affiliates and with HFH International.  Some of the people I collaborate with are volunteers, and some of them aren’t particularly tech savvy.  Hall.com is very intuitive to use and easy to get people to use because you don’t really have to sign up for anything.  The ability to invite people into war rooms through per-existing social networks is invaluable.
  • Nice features – The RSS feed and notification makes it easy to keep track of multiple war rooms and networks.  I also like that  you can change your status (available, away, busy), and the ease of turning the war room into a video call is a major plus.

BUZZ

Hall.com already has some noteworthy clients like Amazon, Intuit, Capital One, and Nike.  If that isn’t enough to make Hall.com buzzworthy, the fact that Hall.com recently raised $5.5 million should do the trick.  To read more about Hall.com’s new investors CLICK HERE.

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