We see this with online storage services that connect to online spaces where people may keep content that they pull from the enterprise network.
The video conferencing market is going through similar changes as reflected in Lifesize announcement today that it is launching Lifesize Connections, a cloud service. Pairing with the news is Logitech’s decision to buy Mirial, the Italian video conferencing company that makes video conferencing software that extends into smartphones and tablets. Lifesize is owned by Logitech. The Mirian technology will be integrated into the Lifesize product line.
The new Lifesize service gives the capability to connect people from the home office to people in their homes or those on the road using laptops, smartphones or iPads. People an also connect from device to device, which gives the service a jump in the market.
On one level, this is great for the user. But what about the IT group? I’d argue that services like these will be critical as the number of endpoints scales not just across the market but on an individual basis, too. How many devices do you have? I have a smartphone, my laptop and a tablet. That’s a 3:1 ratio. What will the ratio be in the future per individual? I expect it will be far higher. That creates a level of complexity that can’t be managed with a client/server infrastructure.
Lifesize Connections is not a pure cloud service. It requires software on the device itself to connect with its online service and through that to people on various endpoints. But I can see why the software is needed. It’s efficient but it also gives IT a bit more comfort, knowing that the software provides a layer of encryption.
The software includes the following:
- Compression technology
- Firewall traversal
Lifesize has some competitive overlap with Skype and Webex. Lifesize also has competition with Polycom and Tandberg but those are also the offerings that could be disrupted as they are fixed solutions. Nefsis offers a cloud-based HD service. But even that service does not provide the same capabilities for mobile video conferencing.
But why HD? People are accustomed to a high quality video experience. And they are getting it online. It’s not prevalent but the increase in online video will create a higher demand for high quality video. Plus, engagement is a factor. Lifesize executives say customers want to see who they are talking to in their online meeting. People are more likely to engage in the discussion, listen and absorb what took place when they know the video camera is on them.
Lifesize offering is a real differentiator in its mobile capabilities. But the IT benefits can’t be overlooked.
“Video requirements vary from company to company, regardless of whether they’re the smallest SMB or the largest enterprise, because those needs are dictated by their clients, employees and partners,” said Roopam Jain, principal analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “With Connections, LifeSize is pushing video closer to ubiquitous adoption by making it easily accessible to anyone, anywhere.”
Those video requirements become far less of an issue with Connections. And that’s a real benefit for the CIO looking at video conferencing solutions for an increasingly mobile workforce.