President Obama’s visit to Atlanta and the Georgia Institute of Technology last week was still on the top of Mayor Kasim Reed’s mind Tuesday when he came to the heart of Buckhead for a ribbon cutting at the PGi Innovation Lab.
He told Boland T. Jones, the founder, chairman and CEO of PGi, that he had reviewed for the president the city’s efforts to boost its technology sector through such efforts as competing for the installation of Google Fiber.
But it is the established companies such as PGi, which Mr. Jones founded in 1991, that have led the way and provided the foundation for “win, after win, after win,” the mayor acknowledged.
Mr. Reed even brought Samir Saini, the city’s chief technology officer, to have a look at the newly created space for the company that Mr. Boland started as Premiere Technologies Inc., which enabled users to retrieve voice messages, make conference calls and send and receive faxes.
The company, now called PGi, has evolved into the developer of sophisticated virtual meetings and collaboration software and services including its premier products iMeet and GlobalMeet, and is listed on both NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange.
“This city is our home,” Mr. Jones told Mr. Reed. “We’re proud to be an Atlanta company with 330 employees in Georgia and 2,250 around the world.”
The innovation lab is located in the Terminus office complex on Peachtree Road where 221 PGi employees work while 109 are at an Alpharetta facility.
When the mayor asked outright what the company did, Mr. Boland emphasized its collaborative software and services that are used by 75 percent of Fortune 100 companies among its 50,000 enterprise customers and 1.2 billion users in the past five years.
Mr. Reed then described the possibility of a City Hall-to-City Hall application.
“I’ll bet that your services could be helpful in allowing teams from different cities to collaborate. You only have to mention the other mayor once if a city gets an idea for an innovation from another city,” he joked.
The innovation lab is designed to encourage collaborative research with a variety of spaces enabling product teams to work closely together as well as more private spaces for quiet reflection.
The lab already is in the process of developing new offerings for the full gamut of digital products including a new emphasis on mobile phone technologies. A recent innovation is the newly released mobile calendar app, Agenday.
“We have to keep up with technology,” Mr. Jones said pointing to Apple’s initiatives on wearables and Google’s watches.
Before assembling for the obligatory ribbon cutting photograph, the mayor queried in jest if the company had developed holograms yet.
“We’re working on that,” Mr. Jones replied, most probably in jest, but perhaps not.
To learn more about PGi, click here.