Logitech Debuts Small Group Business Audio/Video Device


Logitech on Monday confirmed a new line of audio and video products that mark the company's latest foray into business-grade unified communications (UC) -- a continued sign of enterprise focus for a company still best known for its consumer wares.

New to the Logitech lineup is its BCC950 ConfereneCam: an all-in-one HD webcam combined with an omni-directional, full-duplex speakerphone on a single USB device. The goal, according to Logitech, is to fill an emerging niche among business users that want to collaborate in small conference rooms, shared work spaces or closed offices, but don't have much need for larger desktop or room-based telepresence systems.

"Some customers don't have these [video] rooms, and then there are some customers whose CIOs tell me they have 500 meeting rooms, and 50 of them are enabled for video but a lot of meetings take place in the other 450," said Eric Kintz, vice president and general manager, Logitech for Business. "This is a market segment we can help create: the need for small team, ad-hoc collaboration through video, with something that's dead simple to use."

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The BCC950 includes a motorized pan, tilt and zoom feature in its HD webcam adjustable using either the control pad on the device or a remote control. The device is optimized for Microsoft Lync and also certified for Skype, Logitech says, and is compatible with most UC and video platforms, supporting 108p, 30fps HD via plug-and-play H.264 video technology. It weighs 20 ounces, and has an audio range of eight feet.

The ConferenceCam will be generally available in May, for a list price of $249.99. Most notable is that it's among the first Logitech products to be sold exclusively through business-to-business channel resellers, Kintz said, and will not be sold through consumer electronics retailers.

Logitech for Business launched in April 2011 as a separate unit of Logitech focused on business sales. The company debuted a formal channel program in July 2011 organizing partners into Platinum, Gold and Silver tiers, and Kintz confirmed that as of March 2012, the Logitech channel program included more than 200 resellers and integrators. Logitech for Business and its channel program is separate from Logitech-owned LifeSize Communications, though the two entities share a small number of partners.

Logitech overall is coming off a challenging year. Former President and CEO Gerald Quindlen exited the company last summer and in January, Logitech issued its fourth profit warning in the span of 12 months.

But in mid-March, the company picked a new leader: Bracken Darrell, who will join Logitech as president effective April 9, and is expected to succeed chairman and acting LifeSize CEO Guerrino De Luca as chief executive in January 2013. Darrell was most recently executive vice president of Whirpool Corp. and president, Whirpool EMEA, and earlier in his career was global president of Procter & Gamble division Braun, general manager of consumer home service for GE Appliances, and an executive with Pepsi Co. and Arthur Andersen.