Lifesize CEO believes in driving relentless innovation

In the wake of the announcement of Lifesize’s split from Logitech, Lifesize’s CEO, Craig Malloy spoke with Express Computer in-depth about the journey forward for the company. “This is an exciting step for Lifesize and is the result of the tremendous work we have done to create a unique offering in the video conferencing and collaboration space,” said Craig Malloy, CEO and founder of Lifesize. “Standing as an independent company will allow us to invest more meaningfully in our product roadmap and be more responsive to the market and our customers.”Logitech will still retain a meaningful interest in Lifesize moving forward.

Backed by $17.5 million in funding from three prominent Silicon Valley venture firms – Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Meritech Capital Partners – the company is focused on winning new customers as a high-growth cloud-based video collaboration and meeting platform company, and tackling the $7 billion global conferencing market head-on.

Over the past 18 months, Lifesize has transformed itself to address the evolving video collaboration and meeting platform market. The company pivoted its business through the combined launch of ‘Lifesize Cloud’, its cloud-based video collaboration service. Since the launch of ‘Lifesize Cloud’, the company has added more than 2,000 paid customers – including Twilio, Survey Monkey, Omnicom Group and Evolution Gaming.

Reminiscing further on the reason for the split, Malloy says, “The reason we split from Logitech was to get a better focus on Lifesize. Over the last few years strategies of both companies started to diverge. Lifesize was becoming an enterprise software company, delivering cloud-based solutions. Because of the spin-off we are more independent, focused and smaller company that is free to maneuver in the market the way we want to. It allows us to be more nimble and faster.” In India, Lifesize sells its solutions through a distributor network. It has three distributors namely, Ingram, Reddington and GreenSource and 75-80 partners.

Scalability was always a huge ongoing issue with on-premise video- conferencing models. It is a whole new world in video communications with SaaS delivery models.” The demand for video communications is at all time-high. There has been a spike in video calling applications. When employees walk through the office door, they want to have same kind of experience which they get on apps like Facetime. As the demand has exploded the method of deployment needed to change as well,” states Malloy. The deployment earlier was the expensive on-premise one which also came coupled with scalability hassles in large environments. It stalled the widespread use of the technology.

However, in past few years it is possible to make a high-definition video call over mobile and tablet devices. The combination of new devices, network and enterprise software moving to cloud service delivery has enabled Lifesize to change its deployment for video communications. “Our deployment model used to be expensive conference-room infrastructure. With cloud-based models we can talk about enabling every person with a conference-room with great video collaboration tool. Our solution is delivered as a downloadable app or web-based application.Our value proposition is to enable all our customers and every person in every conference room with beautiful quality video web-conferencing, audio-conferencing, streaming and recording in a one simple scalable application,” mentions Malloy confidently. He also informs that in the current growing milieu of BYOD, Lifesize cloud is perfect. Anything that can make a video call, can participate in the Lifesize cloud infrastructure.

There is always a speculation about the death of conference-rooms as organizations are gearing up for anywhere everywhere SaaS collaboration tools. Malloy waives off these doubts and says that conference-room devices will only die out if conference rooms died out. 40% of all Lifesize video calls have one conference room. 75% of their overall 2500 customers have at least one conference room system paired to the cloud service.

The cloud delivery model has also changed Lifesize’s focus in APAC. “Earlier, Lifesize’s biggest customers used to be in China, which is not really an open market for cloud service. Presently, India and ANZ are our key APAC markets due to its progressive IT policies, vibrant economy, size of the market,’ explains Malloy. Lifesize cloud is hosted on IBM SoftLayer cloud infrastructure. It is run in 13 data centres around the world including IBM data centre in Chennai. Lifesize also has data centres in Melbourne, Singapore, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Toronto, Mexico City, DC, Dallas etc. They also give a fail-safe redundant capacity. Thus, in course of a disaster the worst that could happen is that the call will drop and gets re-registered in one of the other data centres.

Emphasizing on the company vision which also comes out of his own passion as an entrepreneur Malloy says, “One of the core values of our company is to drive relentless innovation. In our business one should never be missing technology cycles. You cannot be stuck in the past. As market is moving to cloud service, it is imperative to move that way. Our competitors who have not been able to do that are already seeing declining financial results. For a smaller organization like Lifesize it is absolutely critical to drive relentless innovation.” Presently, the major innovations which he is driving at Lifesize is working on effortless scale within the organization and consolidation of various web-streaming, audio conferencing and video conferencing technologies on one platform.

His own leadership philosophy revolves around establishing a vision to people of where Lifesize is going and to have the right set of people. As a leader Malloy always try to be a facilitator and lets individuals in the team be what they want to be by breaking down barriers, helping the team move to the other level and quench their creativity along with enabling them have a fulfilling time at work.

Being an entrepreneur at heart does not necessarily seems risky to Malloy. “Whenever I start a company I do not feel like it is a risk. I feel like I am going on an exciting adventure. The bigger risk is staying in a big company and not able to contribute or move out,” he mentions.

BYODcloud video collaborationCraig MalloyLifesize
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