LifeSize is looking to differentiate itself from Cisco and Polycom by making its video-collaboration products less expensive, easier to use and accessible to everyone.
is looking to compete
against larger rivals Cisco Systems and Polycom
in the highly competitive high-definition
video-conferencing space by offering solutions that are easier to deploy, less
expensive and available on a wider array of endpoints.
To that end,
LifeSize officials July 20 announced a number of moves designed to make it
easier for businesses of all sizes to adopt video conferencing and to bring the
video-collaboration experience to anyone at any time on any device, either
on-premise or through the cloud, according to Michael Helmbrecht, vice
president of product marketing at LifeSize. The announcements touch on such
high-interest areas as mobility and cloud computing.
Some of the
new offerings also represent the first joint products from LifeSize and
Logitech, which bought LifeSize in late 2009.
officials announced that they are buying Mirial, a small Italian company that
offers a variety of video-collaboration solutions that range from endpoints for
conference rooms to software that enables video conferencing on such devices as
desktops, tablets and smartphones. The software offers interoperable video
collaboration for PC and Mac environments as well as devices running Apple's
iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems, including the iPhone 4, 3GS
and iPad 2, HTC smartphones like the EVO, Desire, Incredible and ThunderBolt,
Motorola's Atrix smartphone and Xoom tablet, Samsung's Epic 4G and Galaxy S
smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablet, Google's Nexus S smartphone and Dell's
acquisition comes at a time when consumer devices-such as smartphones and
tablets-are finding their way into the business world, often with employees
bringing in their own devices and demanding that they have access to their
companies' networks. Emerging enterprise technologies like video collaboration
are key capabilities these employees are looking for, Helmbrecht said in an
interview with eWEEK.
increasingly mobile business world, such capabilities will only grow in
to be a lot of people who want to use [these devices] for productivity, rather
than being tied to their conference room or PC," Helmbrecht said.
products will help LifeSize fill a hole in its portfolio, he said. Prior to the
deal, LifeSize had one product, LifeSize Desktop, for PCs, nothing for Macs and
little if anything for mobile devices. LifeSize immediately will begin selling
Mirial products, and those products will be integrated into future LifeSize offerings,
according to officials.
LifeSize announced LifeSize Connections, a cloud-based HD (high-definition) video-collaboration
platform that leverages capabilities from both LifeSize and Logitech. The
offering helps connect video-conferencing systems in conference rooms to PCs or
Macs, and makes it easy for users to bring other people into the conference,
regardless of where they are or what endpoint they're using.
bring people into the conference by sending them a download link and guest
registration, enabling dynamic and ad hoc meetings rather than having to set up
such meetings in advance, Helmbrecht said.
And as with
most cloud-based offerings, LifeSize Connections gives enterprises and midmarket
companies a scalable video-collaboration platform that doesn't require
expensive on-premise products and helps keep operating costs down. Users can
get up to nine people on a video conference, with a cost of $30 per user per
month for desktop licenses or $100 per month per room.
is about making it ubiquitous," Helmbrecht said, adding that it is affordable
and easy to use. "It needs to be like other forms of communications."
the cloud, LifeSize unveiled Passport Connect, an HD video-conferencing
endpoint that is optimized for cloud platforms, including LifeSize Connections.
The product includes an easier user experience, and is the first from LifeSize
to leverage Logitech technology-in this case, an HD camera.
endpoint costs less $1,499, or less than $1,000 with a one-year subscription to
said the new offerings illustrate how LifeSize plans to differentiate itself
from larger rivals Cisco and Polycom-through a less expensive, simplified and
easier user experience. The systems from Cisco and Polycom tend to be more
complex, he said, because those companies "use complexity as a way to justify