by Sean Wilder, Channel Development Manager, LifeSize
LifeSize’s recent acquisition of Mirial and launch of LifeSize Connections dramatically enhanced our mobility solution suite, merging cloud-based simplicity and business-class performance in an HD video collaboration platform. While the announcements were met with great enthusiasm from the press and analyst communities, some folks have a lot of questions about how these offerings stack up against other applications out there.
Some have said, “Skype has enabled desktop video conferencing through the cloud for years and Apple FaceTime already provides video communication between mobile devices. Additionally, both of these services are free. Why would a business pay for LifeSize products when they can already take advantage of consumer-based services at no charge?”
LifeSize’s key initiative is enabling HD video communication from any type of device to anyone, anywhere. These recent announcements extended that promise and LifeSize is more committed than ever to bringing universal video collaboration to everyone, regardless of where they are in the world or what device they use to communicate.
Through LifeSize Connections and LifeSize’s mobile technology, remote workers can participate in group meetings without the need for a high-end video endpoint at their given location.
It’s difficult to compare LifeSize Connections to other offerings because it really is unlike anything else on the market. LifeSize Connections is the first enterprise-class video conferencing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering to solve the issue of remote deployment anywhere (inside and outside the firewall) with automatic configuration of the video endpoints and software clients. Most existing services today require considerable preparation and configuration prior to establishing a call. With LifeSize Connections, this is achievable in minutes with little to no IT resource required. Also, LifeSize Connections is designed for the way business professionals work – it offers the ability to make ad-hoc calls and escalate that to 9-way multiparty calls during the same discussion. Connections also offers the ability to share data and invite any guest for free.
However, when business customers are looking for cloud-based or mobile video technologies to deploy throughout their organization, they need to educate themselves with the benefits and capabilities of each solution in order to make the right decision.
Here’s my take:
The big difference: Predominately consumer-based services like Skype and Apple FaceTime do not offer the ability to communicate with enterprise-class room-based video conferencing systems and infrastructure. With these services, both ends of the call must subscribe to the same proprietary software (Skype works Skype-to-Skype). The same is true with FaceTime (iOS device-to-iOS device or iOS device-to-Mac).
This in no way means that I’m devaluing these solutions or the impact they’ve made on the video communications industry. Believe me, I use both regularly to call family and friends and it’s fantastic. I believe that Skype and FaceTime serve a valuable purpose: video communication would be inaccessible for most consumers without these services in place to manage the connection.
But LifeSize Connections is really the first of its kind in its category. For organizations that desire the flexibility, scalable quality, manageability and enterprise-class reliability to communicate via video from any device, any time, over any type of connection, LifeSize is the only company that has it all.
Here are a few capabilities that LifeSize’s cloud and mobile products offer that aren’t available on consumer-based services:
- Place a video call from a desktop client to a room-based system (such as the LifeSize 220 series) via the cloud (LifeSize Connections)
- Host or participate in a multiparty video conference that includes both desktop and room-based systems (LifeSize Connections)
- Place a video call from a room-based system to another room-based system through the cloud (LifeSize Connections)
- Place an open-standard H.323 call from a desktop client to another H.323 compliant system (LifeSize SoftPhone)
- Place an open-standard H.323 call from an Android or iOS device to another H.323 compliant system (LifeSize ClearSea)
- Escalate a point-to-point call from a desktop client to a 9-way multiparty call without disrupting the conversation (LifeSize Connections)
LifeSize understands the value of open, interoperable HD video collaboration. The more people who use video conferencing, regardless of the service, the more ubiquitous the technology will become. Whether you choose Skype or FaceTime in your business or select an enterprise-class solution like LifeSize Connections or LifeSize ClearSea, the goal is the same: enhanced quality of life by working from the location of your choice, genuine human interaction over video for greater productivity and collaboration.