High Definition is a Game Changing Technology

by Ashutosh Desai    Jan 04, 2010

The ability to facilitate high quality, face-to-face conferences in real-time has helped businesses realise the true potential of video conferencing. LifeSize Communications (India) country manager, Shivashankar K, details the company’s achievements, plans and its recent acquisition by Logitech.

How has the response towards LifeSize been in India been so far?
LifeSize is the first company to develop and deliver high definition video communications products. Less than three years ago, LifeSize delivered the world’s first HD video system. Sales in India commenced little over two and a half years ago. In this span of time LifeSize has acquired over 10 percent market share in the Indian VC market. LifeSize products deliver best of the quality and that too at the most affordable price. Price has always been a consideration in any technology buy in India. Price and the benefit that LifeSize (LS) technology offers have been key to the broad-based acceptance of LIfeSize products.

Which industry vertical(s) is LifeSize most popular in?
LifeSize is a global leader in high definition (HD) video communication solutions with more than 9,000 video conferencing customers across 80 countries in large enterprises, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). Public healthcare, education, enterprise segment and government organisations are some of the verticals that LifeSize has a prominent presence in. Video communications is becoming a key business enabler that facilitates effective and timely communication. Since this is the basic need of any business, video communication is being adopted across business segments. We foresee that video communication will become very pervasive and not be business vertical specific.

The education vertical can truly benefit from cost-effective videoconferencing solutions. What sort of plans does LifeSize have for this particular vertical?
Video conferencing is becoming an important component of the education fraternity from distance learning with higher education institutions, enabling students to benefit from remote instructors and shared access to experts and specialised programs.
Video conferencing can be utilised for one-to-one and one-to-many teaching and lecturing without the restrictions of time limitations or geographical barriers. Discussion groups between schools and colleges are encouraged as well as inter-school relationships across different countries. The numerous benefits are real-time interactive communications, creative and responsive learning, flexible and cost effective solution — and many more. Educational institutes in rural areas of India could also use video conferencing to extend classes to students.

In India the adoption of video conferencing solutions in the private education (tutors and coaching classes) domain is growing reasonably. LifeSize products are correctly priced and deliver necessary functionality that can be used by businesses in this vertical. By making LifeSize products easily available in India and ensuring good after sales support, businesses desirous of implementing video solutions, find that a LifeSize solution as one that delivers more for less.

How does LifeSize position itself (or deal with) in India amidst the presence of larger, well-known competitors?
Being the first company to develop and deliver HD video communications products and named Videoconferencing Company of the Year in 2007 by Videoconferencing Insight, LifeSize has been consistently recognised by the industry as a technology leader year after year. The company’s award-winning solutions combine exceptional quality, user simplicity and administrator manageability to make video communications a productive, true-to-life experience. LifeSize operates out of Austin, Texas but has its subsidiaries in Europe, Asia Pacific, and a network of channel partners reaching more than 80 countries.
Our products are offered with the value proposition of superior quality, unmatched price performance and unique flexibility. LifeSize products make the most efficient use of available network infrastructure — contributing to a lower cost of ownership and operating the LifeSize HD VC solution.

In a space dominated by companies that are larger (in revenue terms) and have been around longer, it is LifeSize that has been setting the standards for HDVC (HD video communications) from the time we commenced business. Even today LifeSize continues to be the technology leader and the price-performance leader. Across geographies, LifeSize has made inroads into markets and gained market-share with its technology against prevailing competition.

Does LifeSize handle the customer support aspect as well? Or is it carried out through partners trained by LifeSize?
LifeSize delivers support to its customers in India through a 2-tier approach. At the first level the support is delivered through LifeSize partners that are trained directly by LifeSize to install, diagnose and provide technical support for LifeSize products. At the next level, LifeSize has made available in the country, its own technical support personnel that provide second level support to partners, and in case of escalations to end customer installations.

In addition to trained manpower, LifeSize also has an RMA warehouse in the country that provides replacement services for faulty LifeSize equipment that are still under warranty. All of this translates to a superior post-sales service delivery to the end customer.

Could you share your plans for the next year with regards to revenue growth, partnerships?
The video conferencing industry is slated to grow at over 20 percent year-on-year. LifeSize expects to grow its business at a much higher rate.  We have recently partnered with Redington India Limited, a leading IT distribution player, to address the rapidly growing demand of HDVC in India.

The other development in LifeSize includes Logitech International, a leader in PC video communication, has agreed to acquire LifeSize Communications (Austin, Texas) for U.S. $405 million in cash. Logitech and LifeSize plan to pursue existing and new relationships with unified communications, collaboration and VoIP industry partners and competitors to drive the development of an open eco-system for interoperable video communication.

What are your views on the current video communications industry in India?
Interest in video has never been greater — and HD technology is the driver. HD is the overwhelming choice and LifeSize delivered the first HD video system in just over three years. Companies believe this is the right time for HD video and that LifeSize is the right solution for their needs.

Technology users in India have always been very discerning. Any product that delivers good quality at an affordable price, with consistently available local support has done well in India markets. LifeSize meets all of these basic requirements and more making it possible for LifeSize to create a market for its HD products in India, a market that has largely been a standard definition video communication user market.

HD is a game changing technology because it delivers on the promise of video communication to truly replicate the face-to-face experience and this has been seen and experienced by the Indian users. We foresee rapid adoption of HD VC in India. LifeSize is well positioned to continue to grow the HD VC market and also create a reasonable market share for itself. In less than three years, LifeSize has earned 10 percent market share in India, and we intend to build on this success.