The changes will impact how channel partners monetize Dash, both by selling extra add-on features, and using it as a pre-sales tool to easily introduce customers to the technology on a small scale.
Video collaboration vendor Lifesize has announced a new free licensing model for its Lifesize Dash huddle room offering. This will impact existing paid licenses, but as this is a freemium model, Lifesize channel partners will be able to sell value-added paid services on top, as well as use Dash as an entrée to larger meeting room solutions.
Lifesize started out in 2003 as a high-end high definition videoconferencing company, that sold big hardware solutions that competed with the likes of Cisco’s high-end models. That’s not the company’s focus today.
“The company has undergone a considerable metamorphosis in the last two and a half years,” said Tim Maloney, Lifesize’s SVP of Worldwide Channels. “It’s not your father’s Lifesize. Five years ago, our CEO Craig Malloy redefined the company to stay relevant, moving the focus from on-prem to cloud, and redefining the entire approach. Gone is the heavy on-prem footprint and high barrier to entry. That vision around the cloud changed the company.”
SaaS is now a core component of the business.
“In the old days, our partners and customers had to have massive IT systems,” Maloney indicated. “Today, it’s a low input low velocity proposition. Craig’s vision was how we can make the technology easier to consume. So while in hardware, we were the first to market with HD and 4K, now we are a SaaS-based company with intelligent appliances and a variety of models – CAPEX, OPEX, buy-sell model with channel, and agency model. We are well positioned going forward.”
Lifesize introduced Dash a year ago, a software-based solution that they targeted at the mini-meeting space market.
“The huddle space is the fastest growing space in unified communications,” Maloney said. “Customers there don’t want to rely on USB from one vendor, PC from another, and camera from a third.” It can be rolled out along any existing hardware investment.
Lifesize looks at Dash primarily as a way for customers to sample their technology and see its differentiation in the market.
“The idea is that it looks at It lets companies experiment with scaling video, and then look at meeting room systems,” Maloney said. “Dash is an onramp to a more complete suite. We don’t look on it as cannibalizing our own market, with its high quality. It’s all about an ease of use story and a competitive story against how competitor rooms are priced and operated. With Dash, all the interoperability is already baked in.”
The changes to the pricing will see each free Dash license register one meeting room to the Lifesize cloud service, supporting video calls with up to 25 participants. Today, Dash supports Chromebox or Windows PC-based meeting room kit devices, with support for Mac room kits coming in 2020. Existing paid licenses will also transition to free, and Lifesize will work with partners to transition existing customers on Dash to free licensing. They estimate that this will save customers about $1000 per room.
While Dash is a comparatively new product, and as such doesn’t have a huge install base, this will still have a channel impact because almost all Lifesize’s sales go through partners.
“Our partners are critical,” Maloney said. “96% of global revenue flows through the channel. Our old ecosystem reflected the on-prem model, and a core group of partners have stayed with us on that journey. Now we have about 5,000 partners with the new model, with the fastest growing being agency model partners. We add about 100 partners each quarter.”
The expectation is that partners will still be able to monetize Dash, but its main value to them going forward will be as a pre-sales tool, to demonstrate the comparative value of the technology.
“This will reset partner expectations of what Dash can do for them,” Maloney indicated. “There are all kinds of value-add that will be paid features, and partners can leverage free licenses as an onramp to additional services and hardware. We also expect it will be an effective presales tool to get customers into quality video. Unlike similar types of products from competitors, it doesn’t do weird things after 30 minutes.”
Lifesize is also introducing a new Room Controller app that can be used together with Dash and an Android or Apple room kit tablet. It will enhance the meeting experience by enabling camera controls, at-a-glance integrated calendar views, one-touch join for active meetings and intuitive access to essential collaboration features.