Lifesize Expands Cloud Communications With Group Chat

The newly independent company also is bringing the recording and sharing features in its Lifesize Cloud to its browser-based application.

Lifesize logo

Lifesize is making it easier for people to collaborate using chat.

The communications technology vendor is expanding the free chat functionality in its Lifesize Cloud service with the addition of group chat capabilities and improvements to the 1:1 chat feature. The goal is to give users a simple way to extend the chat functionality to multiple people, enhancing the collaboration possibilities, according to Lifesize officials.

In addition, participants in the group chat can move to a video conference with a single click.

"Lifesize Cloud Group Chat adds another level of collaboration—a text level," Ellen Hawes Durbin, senior manager of product marketing at Lifesize, wrote in a post on the company blog. "It further reduces barriers to team collaboration. Brief chat discussions are less intrusive and maintain team alignment and momentum. Start a conversation with chat and transition to video with just a click—because let's face it, sometimes face to face is just better."

At the same time, the company also is taking the recording and sharing features of its Lifesize Cloud Amplify technology to the Lifesize Cloud Web App. With the technology, customers using Lifesize's browser-based app can record and share meetings, training, messages and other sessions through their personal video libraries, officials said.

Lifesize, which initially made its money selling on-premises video conferencing equipment, has spent more than two years transitioning its business model to cloud-based services. The improvements the company is making to its offerings will help Lifesize's efforts gain traction in a cloud-based conferencing market that CEO Craig Malloy said is a $9.4 billion opportunity. The market is fragmented, and customers are working with offerings that are not being adopted by end users, which is leading to a loss of productivity. At the same time, the user experiences are inconsistent and the security risks high, according to Malloy.

"The enhancement of our free chat feature solidifies Lifesize's position as a leading all-in-one solution that consolidates the critical elements of collaboration into one offering, extending the conversation beyond the meeting," he said in a statement.

The communications and collaboration space continues to migrate away from on-premises hardware to cloud- and software-based offerings. BroadSoft, a unified communications (UC) vendor, found in a survey that cloud UC adoption will continue to gain on on-premises offerings, with market penetration jumping almost six times between 2015 and 2020. Cloud UC currently accounts for about 7 percent of the overall market, according to BroadSoft officials. By 2020, it will grow to about 41 percent.

Malloy oversaw Lifesize's transformation, noting in an interview with eWEEK in January that "we basically were [removing] the old business and, in its place, installing this cloud system."

Lifesize earlier this year spun out of Logitech—which had bought the video conferencing firm in 2009—and became an independent private company.

The new chat capabilities are the latest improvements Lifesize officials are making to the cloud services. Users now can participate in chats in multiple meeting rooms, return to previous chat sessions and review their chat history, officials said.