LifeSize Acquires Mirial, Augments Desktop/Mobile HD Video

LifeSize, a division of Logitech, has made an interesting set of announcements this morning. The three main points are:

What does this mean? Mobile, video-communicating, iWorkers will be able stay connected easily and affordably later this quarter when all of these components are generally available. Using the PC client, a very portable codec (about the size of a half-notebook at 8” x 5” x 1”) and camera, and a hosted bridging service, these iWorkers can connect to many standards-based, open video endpoints at HD resolutions. The required components are:

  • LifeSize Connections service - $360/year.
  • LifeSize Passport Connect codec and camera - $1,000 up front.
  • Mirial ClearSea client account - $480/year (this is available today, and it worked well when I tried it).
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Cisco Strategy Evolves And Tactics Mature

I just returned from Las Vegas where my meetings with Cisco executives, including John Chambers, Gary Moore, David Hsieh, Murali Sitaram, Kara Wilson, and OJ Winge, clearly demonstrated that Cisco is still moving forward. John Chambers and his team were in lockstep talking about two things: corporate strategic imperatives and organizational foundations for success

I believe that Cisco is sounding very much like a mature market leader as it balances risks and rewards in the rapidly changing markets for networking and collaboration. Precise financial measures got little talk time, but there were plenty of mentions that forward-looking statements do not supersede financial guidance given at regular updates — the team was focused on Cisco's plans to fuel future innovation, maintain its market position, and continue working on strategic relationship development with its most important customers.

John and the entire Cisco management team are focused on five corporate strategic imperatives:

  1. Core routing/switching innovation and optimization.
  2. Collaboration solutions.
  3. Virtualization (including data center and cloud) technologies.
  4. Video as a primary communication medium and IT task.
  5. Architecture — defining and delivering IT architecture for businesses and service providers.
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Facebook And Skype — It’s About The Engagement

I am starting a report looking at the social capabilities that will be of use to business and how those integrate (or don’t) with existing unified communications and collaborations solutions (UC&C). One truism that I am incorporating into my thinking is that engagement — users want to come back and use a tool because it was easy, useful, and (gasp) fun — will drive adoption, and thus penetration and ultimately business value. This seems to be the way that Mark Zuckerberg is thinking about Facebook growth as well. In his discussion of the integration with Skype yesterday, he posited that user volume is not the metric to watch for Facebook right now — despite its attainment of 750 million users. So what does Facebook see as its strategic imperative, and how does Skype help it attain that?

  • It’s not the absolute number — it’s the ubiquity. If it is reasonable for people to find information or people on Skype, it will accelerate the momentum of adoption. Something Forrester has been saying since 2008.
  • It’s not the people — it’s the activities you do jointly with the people. “Farmville,” “Friend,” “Group,” “Like,” “Stalk,” “Status,” and “Wall” are all words with new or special meaning to users because they describe what they do on Facebook. This is the engagement point from above — it’s not who you connect with, but what that connection enables you to do with them.
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