LifeSize Debuts Cloud-Based HD Video Conferencing


LifeSize Communications is launching a cloud-based HD videoconferencing service aimed at businesses wanting an HD video option but not interested in spending on high-end telepresence and desktop videoconferencing endpoints.

LifeSize Connections is a standards-based service centrally managed and hosted by LifeSize. According to LifeSize, which is a division of Logitech, users are able to do multi-party video communications in high-definition over an encrypted stream, using LifeSize videoconferencing systems, but also LifeSize's video software client. Connections relies primarily on LifeSize infrastructure products, and users are able access meetings online through a download link. The Connections software also automatically configures video endpoints.

The result, LifeSize said, is an HD videoconferencing experience that can extend to nine-way 720p conferences, and offers easy access to features such as a click-to-call directory.

It's a key piece of LifeSize's mobility strategy, allowing channel partners to sell solutions that place cloud-accessible HD video conferencing capabilities on mobile devices.

"We want to be able to enable our customers to call anyone anywhere from any device," said Michael Helmbrecht, LifeSize's vice president of product marketing, to CRN. "There's very limited support from Cisco and Polycom for video calling on tablets and smartphones."

Connections is priced per user and per room, with desktop client use starting at $30 per user per month. LifeSize hosts the service using the data centers Logitech has from its 2008 SightSpeed acquisitions, which to date have been used for Logitech Vid, a video conferencing service for consumers that buy Logitech Webcams. Those assets will now be used for business-class video services, as well, and partners resell those services from LifeSize.

Helmbrecht said LifeSize is offering the same margins and commission structure to partners selling the hosted solution as partners currently receive selling comparable LifeSize on-premise video endpoints.

"We're not trying to out-Webex Webex," Helmbrecht said. "We're trying to create a new category of business-grade infrastructure-as-a-service. It's different from a lot of the managed services that are more white glove concierge, or a VNOC with operators standing by do every little thing. I see us as democratizing the experience. It's meant to be automatic, just like your other forms of communication."

For VARs, it's going to open a whole new customer base, he said, especially for how solution providers can wrap professional services around the Connections resale.

"They can sell videoconferencing as a service to customers who wouldn't buy video from then normally, and they can get an annuity," Helmbrecht said.

LifeSize on Wednesday also announced PassportConnect, a portable videoconferencing system priced at $1,499, or $999 with a Connections subscription, and is the first LifeSize product to include Logitech's HD camera as part of the offering.

Logitech and LifeSize leaders had previously told CRN that the product and channel roadmaps offered by Logitech for Business and LifeSize would continue to converge.

Adding to its mobility strategy, LifeSize on Wednesday further confirmed it had acquired a Milan-based mobile video specialist, Mirial, and plans to integrate Mirial's technology into its video services, enabling LifeSize to further support popular mobile platforms like Apple iOS and Google Android. Acquisition terms were not disclosed.