Logitech Partners With Jabra for UC Peripherals

Logitech, which last year bought LifeSize for its video collaboration technology, is looking to leverage a partnership with Jabra to grow its presence in the UC space.

Logitech, which last year bought video collaboration vendor LifeSize Communications, is looking to grow its presence in the larger unified communications space.

Logitech officials on June 21 announced a distribution partnership with GN Netcom through which Logitech will sell products from Netcom's line of Jabra headsets and speakerphones, initially in North America, and later worldwide.

Eventually the relationship between the two companies will grow to include greater joint marketing, sales and R&D efforts for more audio peripherals in the UC space, according to Eric Kintz, vice president of the company's newly formed Logitech for Business unit.

Logitech wants to build up its capabilities in UC peripherals and pair them with the video communications products from its LifeSize business to offer companies a complete package of communications solutions-from meeting room products to headsets and webcams, Kintz said. Having such a complete solution will help the vendor better compete with its rivals, he said.

"We see an opportunity for us to be ... the provider of whole solutions for the market," Kintz said in an interview with eWEEK.

The UC and video collaboration fields are both hotly contested, with some significant players involved, including Cisco Systems, Microsoft, IBM, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent and Polycom. Kintz said that within the next three years, the market opportunity for Logitech will be in the $5 billion range, with more than half of that coming from meeting room video collaboration products like those sold by LifeSize. The UC and video collaboration also continue to converge, fueling the desire by Logitech and others to offer complete solutions.

Kintz said the midmarket and SMB spaces are where Logitech's strength lies, with the hope of moving up the stack into the enterprise. The deal with Netcom will be one of several Logitech pursues, he said.

"Unified communications is driving the convergence in this space, so we want to drive the convergence of all the endpoints," he said.

Logitech will begin selling Jabra products in July, offering the peripherals under the brand "Logitech powered by Jabra." The first three products under the new branding will be the Logitech BSP420 USB Speakerphone (Jabra SPEAK 410), the Logitech BH970 Wireless DECT Headset (Jabra PRO 9450) and the Logitech BH870 Wireless Bluetooth Headset (Jabra GO 6430).

The Jabra products Logitech will offer are certified to work with technologies from Avaya, Microsoft, Cisco and Polycom. Logitech officials will confirm that these certifications will work with these vendors and others for the "Logitech powered by Jabra" headsets and speakerphones.

"This collaboration with GN Netcom will enable Logitech to be a full solution provider for unified communications," President and CEO Gerald Quindlen said in a statement. "Businesses will now have a single company for a full range of UC solutions-from the meeting room with LifeSize video conferencing end points and infrastructure products to PCs, Macs and tablets with Logitech webcams, headsets and speakerphones."