Videoconferencing Is Going Mainstream, And Cisco & Logitech Are Joining The Competition

Recent acquisitions by Logitech and Cisco are suggesting that videoconferencing is moving past enterprise and heading for the consumer market. Cisco has acquired and several companies in the past month, most notably Norwegian conferencing hardware developer Tandberg. And Logitech, which is mostly known for selling mice, webcams, and PC accessories, announced the purchase of LifeSize Communications, which sells cost-efficient videoconferencing tools. Also, we previously reported on the imminent rise of ViVu, the “video-as-a-service” company that earned $3 million in its Series A funding.

Prior to recent acquisitions, Cisco’s TelePresence conference solutions could cost up to $250,000 for a single conference room; not surprisingly, Wainhouse Research estimates that only about 500 companies have one of their systems since the brand launched three years ago. Heavyweight providers like Cisco and Logitech have realized they must make videoconferencing more accessible, and commitment to this goal is being tested. When Cisco first announced the acquisition of Tandberg, they said they were paying $3 billion for the company; after investors said the company is worth more, they boosted that offer up to $3.4 billion. In January, Cisco’s newest TelePresence solutions were advertised at $5,000 and lower, and that price will likely decrease when the Tandberg acquisition is finalized: Tandberg’s videophones sell for as less than $1,500. One of LifeSize’s products, meanwhile, is a device that facilitates videoconferencing through TVs and computers, and sells for $2,500. Now Cisco, Logitech, Polycom, and others are competing to offer cheaper products and they have competition from some smaller companies.

ViVu is marketing itself as the first “video-as-a-service,” and there are other companies, like New Jersey-based Vidyo, following suit. Bigger companies like Logitech and Cisco will take the cake when it comes to extensive solutions and hardware, but these software-only companies are attractive for smaller business and consumers, as they are cheaper but still highly sophisticated. It will be interesting to see if any of these major players make a bid to acquire the emerging VaaS companies—especially if Cisco plans to make more acquisitions for its Cisco WebEx service.


LifeSize's Passport, $2,500

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