Lifesize Opens Up New Videoconferencing-as-a-Service To The Channel

Lifesize on Thursday opened up its Lifesize Cloud solution to the channel, allowing solution providers to go to market with a hosted video conferencing service and to tap into the recurring revenue streams that come with selling it.

Lifesize Cloud, which was unveiled in May, is a cloud-based videoconferencing service that lets users access Lifesize's videoconferencing application from any device, including PCs, tablets, smartphones or more traditional conference room systems, such as Lifesize Icon.

Users can access Lifesize Cloud through a web browser and can extend the service to an unlimited number of "guests" or users outside of their organization, Lifesize said. The service also includes a range of built-in unified communications (UC) features such as chat, presentation sharing and the ability to check other users' statuses.

Related: Tely Labs Shakes Up Partner Program, Continues SMB Videoconferencing Push

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Lifesize Cloud is sold as a subscription, with plans starting at $25 per user per month. Each seat, however, can host up to 25 users simultaneously on a call.

Videoconferencing-as-a-service has emerged as a popular alternative to traditional on-premise video systems, which, especially for smaller organizations, could sometimes be too expensive or complex to deploy. According to Matt Collier, VP of Americas at Lifesize, that's exactly why hosted video services like Lifesize Cloud allow solution providers to target new customers, or even those who had previously passed on on-premise systems because of cost.

"It changes the paradigm for attracting new customers to video platforms," Collier told CRN. "Historically, video has involved a lot of heavy lifting from an infrastructure perspective. This makes that problem go away completely."

Randy Marcotte, co-founder and CEO of Boulder City, Nev.-based solution provider and Lifesize partner Perfect Video Conferencing, offers its own video conferencing-as-a-service, but said Lifesize Cloud is a nice way to round out its portfolio with a larger scale solution.

"Unless you are a Cisco or a Lifesize of a Blue Jeans [Network], it takes a lot of capital to get unlimited port capacity and promise that kind of density. There aren’t a lot of VARs out there that can do that," Marcotte said. "This helps us reach where we can't reach."

Lifesize Cloud is also unique in that it integrates across a variety of endpoints, be it a smartphone or a full conference room system, Marcotte said.

"The fact that they've made an endpoint that integrates so tightly with the cloud service it creates, for the customer, one seamless experience from the mobile device to the conference room," Marcotte said.

Because Lifesize Cloud is sold as a subscription, Collier said, it also opens up a new recurring revenue stream for partners.

"It’s a MRR [monthly recurring revenue] model that is both on a year and multi-year basis," Collier said. "The partner will stay engaged throughout the lifecycle of usage by their enterprise customer."

With the launch of Lifesize Cloud, Collier said Lifesize will eventually end-of-life Lifesize Connections, the HD videoconferencing service it launched in 2011. He said Lifesize, which is a division of Logitech, plans to roll out incentive programs for customers looking to migrate from Connections to Lifesize Cloud.

Lifesize Cloud will compete against other hosted videoconferencing services, such as those from Blue Jeans, Vidyo and Polycom.