LifeSize Communications is enabling customers to access video conferences via Internet Explorer, one of several enhancements the company is making to the cloud conferencing services it rolled out earlier this year.
Taking LifeSize's video conferencing capabilities to the cloud was a key initiative for Craig Malloy when he returned to the company as CEO in February after two years away. Three months after his return, LifeSize introduced LifeSize Cloud, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering designed to deliver enterprise-class video collaboration to businesses that is easy to scale and enables users to collaborate on whatever device they want and from anywhere they are.
The company, which is owned by Logitech, in October introduced a dashboard monitoring system for the solution, and now LifeSize is adding more capabilities. Key among them is the Internet Explorer support, which Malloy said will be followed next year by the addition of Safari and Firefox support to enable browser-based calls from those browsers as well. The cloud solution already supports Google Chrome.
"Offering LifeSize Cloud on Internet Explorer provides our users with added flexibility and efficiency," Malloy said in a statement. "We're going into 2015 with a positive outlook, and we anticipate it will be an even bigger year for us."
Other new features announced Dec. 1 include enabling workers using Mac and Windows devices to create favorites lists of those people they most frequently call, and the ability for Windows and Mac users to chat with each other. In addition, LifeSize offers enhanced insights for account managers via the solution's Web Console, which gives organizations more data on how the LifeSize cloud offering is being used throughout the company by accessing call usage information for all users and rooms.
Workers using the LifeSize 220 Series video conferencing system can make audio calls through the local PBX using a LifeSize Phone, eliminating the need for a second audio conferencing phone in the conference room. LifeSize also offers dial-in numbers for more than 40 countries.
Many of the new features the company has rolled out for LifeSize Cloud over the last several months were the result of user feedback, according to Brian Beasley, product marketing manager for LifeSize.
"Customer acceptance was tremendous, and feature requests rolled in," Beasley wrote in a post on the company blog."Every few weeks since the launch, we pushed a software update containing new functionality."
LifeSize's transition from a hardware-centric vendor to one that now is pushing its cloud solution mirrors the trend in the global video conferencing space. IDC analysts over the past few years have marked the declining sales of video conferencing equipment, which has come from a move away from hardware-based offerings by organizations.
The latest market numbers illustrate the trend. IDC in a report Dec. 2 found that video conferencing revenue in the third quarter fell 7.7 percent over the same period last year, reaching $529 million. Established vendors such as Cisco Systems, Polycom and LifeSize have moved rapidly to build out their cloud- and software-based offerings to compete with solutions from the likes of Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network.
"Recent IDC survey adoption data indicates that video is still a key component of collaboration and continues to place high on the list of priorities for many organizations," Petr Jirovsky, research manager for Worldwide Networking Trackers at the analyst firm, said in a statement this week. "IDC believes that among the challenges customers are currently working through are determining exactly when and how to provision their video deployments as more software-centric and cloud-based service offerings become part of the enterprise video market landscape."