LifeSize Takes HD Video Conferencing to the Cloud

Logitech subsidiary, LifeSize is expanding its business to the cloud. The provider of
on-premise videoconferencing solutions is launching videoconferencing cloud
services with, LifeSize Connections.

The
cloud-based HD videoconferencing service is aimed at businesses that haven’t
yet taken the plunge into telepresence and desktop videoconferencing, in part
because of the capital expenditures needed on pricey hardware. LifeSize has
traditionally offered on-premise solutions for total control and flexibility,
but business customers want choice, and the cloud can offer that choice, said
Mary J Miller, director of product marketing at LifeSize.

“What
we’re offering is more choice for customers by offering a new cloud-based
service,” Miller said.

Building
on LifeSize history of supporting open standards, Connections is a
standards-based, globally-distributed and centrally-managed cloud
videoconferencing service. Customers get encrypted multi-party video
communications in high-definition. They can use LifeSize telepresence-style
videoconferencing systems and the vendor’s desktop client.

The
cloud solution is comprised of LifeSize’s infrastructure products (including
the bridging and Paradial systems) and the software applications that run in
the cloud.

“We
are also going to be upgrading all of the firmware of the room codec endpoints
to enable those devices to become cloud-aware,” Scott Lomond, vice president of
video conferencing services at LifeSize.

As
with webconferencing applications currently on the market, Connections
customers will be able have guests join meetings for free by providing a
download link and guest registration.

To
make it easiest on customers from a technical point of view, the cloud service
is capable of doing auto-configuration of endpoints.

“Through
the cloud we can create an account for a room, associate the serial number for
a new codec or even existing codec for that room, and when that device is powered
up and someone hits the Connections button on the console, it will reach up to the
cloud, auto-configure itself and be up and running,” Lomond said.

It
also includes a click-to-call directory and the ability to have fully encrypted
nine-way 720p videoconferences.

For
administrators, a web-based administrative console enables them to reach into
individual or multiple accounts to regulate how much bandwidth users or user
groups should be able to consume using Connections.

“It’s
certainly for companies that have traditionally sat on the sidelines,” Lomond
said.

Pricing
is based on a per-user or per-room basis, depending on the specific end-user
license. For individual users with the desktop client, pricing is $30 per user
per month. For room endpoints, pricing is $100 per room per month.

LifeSize
is working with channel partners to bring the new Connections cloud
videoconferencing service to market.

“We’ve
been very careful to structure it in such a manner that our partners can build
lucrative recurring revenue streams around this service,” Lomond said.

LifeSize
channel partners can add a rich array of professional services such as building
room systems for customers, as well as through selling hardware and
peripherals, he said.

Alongside
its Connections launch, LifeSize also announced PassportConnect, a
cloud-optimized HD videoconferencing system that builds off of its Passport
endpoint.

“It
is a video system that is completely optimized for working with cloud-based
solutions like LifeSize Connections,” Miller said.

The
included user interface is different from on-premise systems, she said. It
includes name-based dialling and a simplified user experience. It also marks
the first time a LifeSize product has been integrated with Logitech’s HD camera
technology.

As
a standalone unit, PassportConnect will be priced at $1,499 (or $999 with a
one-year Connections subscription). Both Connections and PassportConnect will
be available in the third quarter of this year.

In
continuing to develop new products and services for the market, LifeSize is
also eyeing the mobile video communications space. The company has acquired
Mirial (www.mirial.com) to add mobility capabilities to its videoconferencing
solutions and services. Mirial will be integrated into LifeSize, giving the
latter the ability to support a range of iOS and Android mobile devices.

“The
good news for their partners and our partners is they will have a standard
offering with all the things they offer. It’s expanded opportunity on both
sides,” Miller said.

 

 

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