By Corey Moss
In my past career in AV integration sales, I have to admit that I had a fairly targeted focus on the video conferencing solutions that I had sold. Hardware of course the only course of action, and the competition was fierce. It was our job in sales to choose the right fit for the customer as we selected the proper solution or worked on a client’s product request. Meaning that they chose the manufacturer and we provided the correct solution spec to integrate for them. The solutions that exist today were not forefront applications then and I have actually only identified them in my AV industry “travels” over the last couple of years. Nowadays I often write on collaboration space solutions as well as certain other applications that go along with these offerings. Two of these are cloud computing and mobile devices/BYOD. Of course these fit into many solution-sets out there as the industry looks to provide applications to match enterprise agility in terms of how they communicate and collaborate.
Founded in 2003 and based in Austin Texas, Lifesize’s business strategy, according to those in the company I have recently spoken with, consists of a strategic four-pronged approach to video communications and collaboration. The approach, along with their standard hardware offering includes on-premise infrastructure applications and their solid cloud solution. Can LifeSize compete with the applications driven forth by today’s communication and collaboration space providers? Well, Lifesize Cloud was included in my rAVe Publications Top 10 Disruptive solutions at InfoComm so they have to be doing something very strategic.
In a Lifesize video conference, while testing out their cloud collaboration solution, to further define Lifesize’s strategic solutions approach I had a conversation with Rafi Anuar their Director of Product Management. I asked Rafi a few questions during the conference and he gave some viewpoints toward Lifesize cloud. When asked about the competition Rafi stated “Lifesize Cloud stands out from the competition in multiple ways, Rafi claims. One key difference is that Lifesize Cloud was designed to support all of the ways that people communicate. Typically, people will have some meetings that they schedule in advance and everyone dials into the call at the same time, these ‘meet-me’ meetings are supported by Lifesize as well as other solutions in the market. But, ‘meet-me’ style meetings are only one small part of how people communicate at work. More commonly, a person needs a quick answer to a question, and they want to quickly ping a co-worker directly for an answer. Lifesize supports this direct communication approach; every user has a shared directory and can click to call directly to anyone else.”
In terms of how Lifesize cloud differs from other solutions on the market he specified that “The other aspect of Lifesize Cloud that really differentiates it from other solutions is the integrated video room system. After all, if you’re going to use a Cloud video service with a room video system, wouldn’t you like to use a solution where the two are designed for each other so that you can enjoy value added features where the video system connects right out of the box to the service and configures itself automatically, receiving a pushed directory and meetings list, as well as automatic software updates? It’s pretty clear from the reception that we’ve received in the market that customers want a connected experience and that they especially value this experience carrying forward to their conference rooms.”
As for the IT support factor, Rafi states that “Because our video systems connect and configure themselves automatically, IT teams no longer need to travel around the world to remote office locations setting up video systems. And since the Cloud takes care of resources like bridge ports, administrators no longer need to worry about whether they will run out of bridge ports.” He adds that “Lifesize Cloud works with customers’ existing video conferencing hardware and can be added to an existing deployment without changing out any other pieces.”
The end result? Lifesize, a long-time industry video conferencing manufacturer has taken a giant leap into the new disruptive space by providing a strong cloud-based platform to go with their other recognized solutions. With this, I see good things ahead for them as continuous innovation becomes the major key to progress in the AV industry’s UCC space.