Logitech's LifeSize Aims for Android Video Soon

Logitech's LifeSize division expects to bring one-way video streaming to Android devices in a few months and introduce a two-way videoconferencing system to tablets and smartphones later this year.

By Stephen Lawson
Tue, May 31, 2011

IDG News Service — Logitech's LifeSize division expects to bring one-way video streaming to Android devices in a few months and introduce a two-way videoconferencing system to tablets and smartphones later this year.

The company's LifeSize Video Center appliance already can stream meetings and other enterprise video to iPads and other devices based on Apple's iOS. Developing software for Android was more complicated, partly because there are different versions of that OS, but an Android version is coming, LifeSize CEO Craig Malloy said in an interview on Tuesday. The company also is in early discussions with Research In Motion (RIM) about software for BlackBerries, he said.

LifeSize hopes to capitalize on major trends in business videoconferencing, including cloud-based services and mobility, to remain competitive and deliver on growing demand from enterprises and small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), Malloy said. Though blue-chip names such as Cisco and HP (HPQ) have strong footholds in business video, LifeSize thinks it benefits by being owned by Logitech, a company rooted in consumer peripherals such as webcams.

Tablets, smartphones and PCs are expanding the audience for business video, leading to deployments that reach thousands of potential users in a large organization, said Eric Kintz, general manager of the recently formed Logitech for Business division. The challenge with those deployments is getting individuals to use the tools after they have been made available across the organization, something Logitech does well, he said.

To address the growing ranks of iPhone and iPad users, in February LifeSize extended its Video Center to distribute live and recorded streams such as training sessions, meetings and executive messages to devices using iOS. But the company acknowledged it was also looking at two-way participation and to other mobile platforms.

"There's no real enterprise-class, connected, smartphone video calling," Malloy said. "That's going to become the new broadest part of the [video communications market], whereas today it's PCs and notebooks."

Last month, LifeSize welcomed mobile users and others into its Passport room-based videoconferencing system by integrating Skype into a free software update. Just a few weeks later, Microsoft (MSFT) said it would acquire Skype for US$8.5 billion. It's still not clear how that may affect the LifeSize-Skype relationship, Malloy said.

"It probably will. We're not sure how yet," Malloy said. "We're not sure exactly what Microsoft is going to do with Skype. Our sense is that they're going to leave them as a consumer play, because they already have significant traction with Microsoft Lync in the enterprise."

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