I was one of the lucky people who had an opportunity to attend UC EXPO 2017 at ExCeL London this year. Of course, not only did I have a chance to drop in on some of the biggest conferences, and learn about the changes happening in the UC environment, but I also got an exclusive chance to conduct some interviews with the biggest names in unified communications for CommsTrader. Here’s what happened when I got to speak with Andy Nolan, VP for UK, Ireland and Northern Europe at Lifesize.
New Developments for Lifesize
Andy Nolan is the VP for Lifesize in the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe. He’s been with the company for about four years now, following on from several roles in the contact centre and communications industry. When I asked Andy about what was going on for Lifesize lately, he was quick to acknowledge that the brand has been going through some exciting changes.
Lifesize was one of the first companies to make the shift for video into the cloud. In the past, video conferencing had often been expensive and complicated for end-users and clients, and the comms market was reluctant to touch it, as cloud video conferencing seemed far too complex a concept. However, as UC becomes more integrated in the current environment, companies like Lifesize are changing the way that companies take their product to market.
Andy was keen to comment that the Lifesize brand has seen significant growth recently – acquiring an average of 160 new paying customer accounts per month for the cloud-based Lifesize App, a number that’s much larger than anything the company has been able to achieve before.
I was interested to learn whether the changing state of voice and video communications and interactions had helped Lifesize to grow in the UK. Nolan told me that Lifesize have a network of partners that are involved with various parts of the UC ecosystem
He noted that whilst some partners had not made the shift to cloud there are many new partners from the Comms channel that have and more that will follow.
What’s Hot for Lifesize Right Now?
The UC EXPO is all about introducing and uncovering the latest trends in Unified Communications, so I asked Andy Nolan what he considers to be a “trending topic” at Lifesize right now.
He explained that Lifesize are all about providing a hardware endpoint that works in the meeting room, alongside a unique cloud subscription. This tight combination of meeting room and cloud subscription services is something that’s relatively unique to the UC sector, and a convenient development that customers hadn’t been able to access before.
Lifesize helps to simplify the video communication network allowing their customers to bring audio conferencing, instant messaging, recording, streaming, and other tools to the environment, Lifesize helps to bring all of these elements together into a seamless cloud conferencing space. Their service is similar to VaaS (Video as a Service), working on the idea that customers are searching for ways to communicate more effectively in a shifting work climate.
For Lifesize, Nolan commented that one of the biggest shifts that they’ve seen lately, is with people moving their internal communications outwards.
“Most of the customers we talk to simply don’t have great internal communication solutions. So, we fix that for them, but then we also ask them how they’re using their external communications. If the solution is disjointed or ineffective, we let them know that they can expand the technology that they’re using internally, outwards.”
It’s about giving customers a simple combination of hardware and cloud solutions that allows them to communicate in the way that’s most effective for them. “Our cloud solution powers the interactions, all that clever stuff that connects people together. If we update our software, we do it in the cloud, and end-points update automatically. Everything is seamless.”
How is GDPR Impacting Lifesize?
Since GDPR has been something of a buzzword recently, I thought it was a good idea to ask Nolan how the new developments and regulations were impacting the video industry. He agreed that GDPR does seem like a growing concern in the marketplace, and noted that it’s something his company has already been focusing on for some time now. “It’s about presenting our products in a way that ticks all of the rules and regulations boxes. We addressed GDPR about eight or nine months ago, hiring security professionals specifically for that purpose.”
Although the video conferencing segment may not be as affected by GDPR as the audio conferencing side, Nolan and myself both agreed that the integration of these rules and regulation into video recording would be something that’s likely to emerge in the near future.
Unified Communications is something that’s embedding itself into the world at all angles, and that development isn’t going to slow down any time soon. End users are looking for simple solutions in an increasingly complex world, and Lifesize are looking to offer that simplicity. For instance, one of their customers, The Equiom Group, have been using their services to set up instant meeting spaces in their new offices and acquired companies. These meeting spaces allow for immediate collaboration between teams at the click of a button.
Nolan commented: “We used to hear about how people would ‘Skype’ each other, now we hear that people ‘Lifesize’ each other”.
What’s Next for Lifesize?
In a world that’s increasingly becoming saturated in chatbots, virtual assistants, and AI, I wanted to know how Lifesize were going to get onboard with their own disruptive technology. Nolan suggested that some of the latest tech is a little far out for Lifesize, instead of getting too wrapped up, their company is focusing on delivering a more seamless experience for their customers.
“We’re looking into automating things so that you just walk into a room and your solution is already waiting and ready for you. It’s scary how quickly things are changing with AI, and we’re all about making sure people have great options for communication.”
“Really, it’s the adoption that’s the key part to making sure that people get the benefit from UC solutions. We’re all about making adoption simpler, and more natural.”
Nolan noted that Lifesize has invested in a “customer obsession” team, that examines how customer businesses work, so that the company can simply fit their technology around what they’re doing. In other words, Lifesize are making their product a natural addition to the existing company framework. They connect people to make the workplace great. They call it “making our products CEO-proof”.