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Logitech-backed LifeSize revitalises channel strategy

June 2, 2010 | Chris Payatagool
By: Stuart Corner via iTWire

Logitech_lifesize_logo.jpgSix months after its acquisition by Logitech, video communications company, LifeSize Communications, has established a direct presence in Australia and is revamping its channel strategy.

The company has opened its first office in Australia under recently-appointed country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Tim Fulton. It has also hired Garry Scarborough as channel and alliances director for Asia Pacific. He will also be based in the Sydney office, which will have a full demonstration and briefing facility with telepresence capability.

In Australia LifeSize presently has two all-purpose distributors, the IPL Group on the IT side and audio-visual communications distributor Amber. These service a network of resellers.

While LifeSize's relationship with IPL and Amber will continue, Simon Claringbold, VP Asia Pacific told ExchangeDaily that the company was moving to a more targeted channel strategy that would be a mix of direct partnerships and distributors focussed on particular vertical markets.

"Our reseller plans going forward are to lock in two or three systems integrators and maybe a specialist vertical distributor. What we don't want to do is just sign up resellers to get market spread as we have done before... We want to have a partner community that is very defined. If we have an education channel partner that will be our only education partner."

July launch for new channel programme

He said that LifeSize would formally launch its new channel programme for Australia on 1 July, and added: "The biggest verticals we are focussing on are healthcare and education."

The company has already appointed eVideo as its first direct tier one partner for the Australian market and, Claringbold said: "We are working with Dell on a solution specific to the 'connected classroom' market that will be distributed by DH Technologies."

LifeSize is also looking for a major channel partner or partners to address the enterprise unified communications market - where its products would be the video component of an overall UC solution. "We are doing due diligence now: there may be a banking and finance [UC] specialist and there may be specialist partners for other sectors," Claringbold said.

Also scheduled for a similar timeframe is the Asia Pacific launch of LifeSize's recently-forged unified communications partnership with Avaya. In March Avaya and LifeSize announced plans to establish interoperability between the Avaya Aura unified communications platform and LifeSize HD videoconferencing systems.

Claringbold, said: "This is a very large play for seven year old LifeSize in the global market...It will be branded 'Avaya powered by LifeSize' and will be part of their Aura UC portfolio. It will be a global partnership. Traditionally Avaya has partnered with Polycom and Tandberg, but now they will be providing their own solutions."

LifeSize focuses solely on high definition video products and its present market is predominantly mid sized companies. "We were the first to pioneer HD video and that is all we do," Claringbold said. "That is how we differentiate ourselves in everything from point-to-point to room systems."

He added: "The price points of products we are bringing to market are challenging SD and that makes video accessible to a larger market. However our strategy is not to compete against others providing SD or HD but to create new markets where video has not been affordable before. We have tried to move video out of boardrooms and into the field."

SMB market the immediate focus
Claringbold said the company's immediate focus was to gain more business in the SMB market. "Right now we want to create more awareness and more accessibility in that SMB space. We will ultimately move into the enterprise, but we have not been as visible as we need to be at the high end."

With LifeSize's now parent, Logitech, very much focussed on the consumer and SoHo markets, Claringbold said that the initial synergies between the two would be more in the back end than in their product and market strategies.

"From a business standpoint we are running as an independent division of Logitech and will continue to do that...[But] the size of Logitech will enable us to invest more to accelerate our R&D and bring new products to market faster...And we expect synergies in manufacturing. We manufacture out of Penang in Malaysia, and Logitech has large facilities in China."

Longer term he said that LifeSize would be addressing the consumer market, "Our objective as a company is 'video to everybody' so we want to drive video into the integrated home entertainment market with embedded solutions."

The first result of this ambition is likely to be a combination of Logitech PC software and LifeSize video products. "Logitech is developing software that will integrate with LifeSize products that will run on a PC and work with video cameras," Claringbold said. "We are still developing that functionality. We are probably six to eight months away from bringing that to market."

This article first appeared in ExchangeDaily, iTWire's daily newsletter for telecommunications professionals. Register here for your free trial





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