Logitech acquires video conferencing vendor Mirial

The acquisition of Italy-based Mirial was a reaction to customer requests for a mobile video conferencing platform, Rafi Anuar, senior manager of product management at Austin Tx.-based LifeSize Communications Inc., a division of Logitech International S.A., said.

LifeSize Communications was acquired by Logitech International in December 2009. Logitech just recently shuttered its Canadian division.

According to Anuar, LifeSize became aware of “a lot of demand in the marketplace for mobile video calling applications.” Through the acquisition, LifeSize added two new products to its video teleconferencing offerings: Mirial ClearSea, a powerful video conferencing desktop client and mobile teleconferencing.

Ira Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Boston Mass.-based Wainhouse Research LLC, said “this is a very interesting and strong move for LifeSize,” which “essentially, fills in the product portfolio. It fills those gaps.”

Weinstein said buying Mirial will “jumpstart (its) efforts into desktop and mobile” and “address an area of weakness that LifeSize needed to address.”

Anuar calls the mobile teleconferencing platform both incredibly flexible and “the best capability mobile video calling in the world.”

He also said that what drew LifeSize to Mirial, and what sets them apart from competing video conferencing software and hardware makers, Cisco and Polycom, is “not just the mobile offerings, but the (fact that the) desktop offerings also are higher quality. Mirial can do up to 1080p resolution.”

The good thing for existing LifeSize and Mirial customers is that upgrading is relatively easy, thanks to the interoperability inherent in the Mirial system. From day one, Anuar said Mirial products can call LifeSize products and vice versa, as well as they can interact with competing brands too.

Anuar said the acquisition won’t affect LifeSize’s target consumer base a whole lot. He said every company has some interest in video conferencing as “once you’ve used video conferencing and you go back to teleconferencing, you feel like you’re missing something, because you are.”

The only difference, he said, is that larger companies will likely gravitate to the desktop solution to help implement video conferencing across entire networks.

Weinstein also said that the move is a really fantastic one for Mirial as, “traditionally, Mirial has been OEMed through others.” This is the first time it will be recognized as a name in the video conferencing market and not just be used to background-power existing devices and solutions.

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