Telepresence: Cisco Faces Lifesize Challenge
The VAR Guy participated in a high-definition video conference with Zenith Infotech CEO Akash Saraf yesterday. Our resident blogger was in Pennsylvania. Saraf was in India. The video and audio connections were rather remarkable — nearly “telepresence” in terms of quality. But the system wasn’t made by a big, high-end networking company.
Instead, the solution involved high-def video conferencing gear from Lifesize Communications, a fast-growing startup that seems to be giving larger networking companies — Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, etc. — a run for their money. The VAR Guy has written about Lifesize Communications before. Fast-growing. Nimble. And apparently on Cisco’s radar.
Lifesize isn’t a high-end telepresence solution. But it costs pennies on the dollar vs. traditional telepresence options and is more than “good enough” for most solutions providers and their customers, The VAR Guy believes.
No doubt, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard Halo and other telepresence providers are moving fast into lower-end markets — and Cisco is even striving to put video conferencing on home TVs. But anecdotal evidence shows Lifesize continues to gain momentum as a cost-effective option. In recent months, The VAR Guy has heard from half-a-dozen Cisco solutions providers that have started reselling Lifesize’s technology.
If you saw the price tag and the technology in action, you’d understand why. During yesterday’s video discussion, The VAR Guy felt as if Zenith Infotech‘s Saraf was just down the half — rather than on the other side of the world.