LifeSize is looking to help its long-standing audiovisual (AV) partners diversify into new technologies as it seeks to dominate the mainstream market with its cloud videoconferencing technology.
The vendor recently shook up its distribution channel with the addition of Avnet, while Medium and Touchline Video were shown the door. Incumbents Zycko and Tempura Communications remain in place. Georges Millet, EMEA channels and alliance director at LifeSize, told CRN the changes may generate “a bit of surprise” among resellers, but stressed that most will be substantially unaffected.
“The reality is that 98 per cent are already working with one of the three [remaining distributors],” he explained. “We need distributors that are able to support the full ecosystem to help bring our AV partners [into new areas]. We have also been growing very fast in EMEA and needed to have more consistent distribution across Europe.”
Millet asserted that AV-focused resellers should improve skills as demand for video becomes more centred on its role as part of a wider unified communications (UC) strategy.
“We see AV partners investing more in expanding their expertise,” he said. “They realise that [they need to do so] to win bigger business and better support their customers.”
Adrian Studd, UC business mana-ger at Avnet (pictured), added: “Our Partnering programme enables AV/VC resellers to fill skills gaps in areas such as core networking and voice integration, facilitating smooth entry to this market without extensive investment.”
LifeSize recently unveiled Connec-tions, a cloud-based HD videoconferencing offering available on both conference room systems and user desktops. Millet claimed that providing a video end point for less than £1,000 will be a key differentiator against rivals Cisco and Polycom.
“We are bringing another disruption that, with all due respect to the others, they could not bring, as they are really focused on the high end, rather than on the mainstream,” explained Millet.
“[When I arrived at LifeSize six months ago], I was wondering why this market had not exploded before. It was positioned for the chief executive at incredible prices. It was being made to sell more network.”
Daniel Weisbeck, EMEA vice president of marketing at Polycom, defended the pricing and capability of his firm’s cloud video kit.
“Polycom has been working with service providers around the world on cloud-based UC offerings and has found that businesses want more than price options,” he said.
“While price is definitely a consideration, organisations also need to ensure that the system they purchase is reliable and interoperable. The Polycom UC platform is the leader in this arena and offers native interoperability with our alliances partners such as Microsoft Lync, IBM Same-time and other leading UC vendors.”
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