Following Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) launch of its video streaming Windows Azure Media Services earlier this week, London-based StarLeaf has launched a video calling and conferencing solution that is managed entirely from the cloud. A variety of hardware and software endpoints are being made available for its customers, but StarLeaf Call, as the company is calling its new cloud video chat service, was designed to be entirely cloud-based.

Other companies have been jumping on this video communication in the cloud trend, including Polycom (NASDAQ: PLCM), which debuted RealPresence Cloud video-as-a-service a year ago and spent much of 2012 updating and promoting the new video communications service. StarLeaf will be going head-to-head with the likes of Polycom, but according to StarLeaf CEO Mark Loney, StarLeaf Call does what other cloud video communications services have failed in doing. That is, StarLeaf Call is being touted as being easy to use and easy to deploy.

More to the point, though, the real value in a cloud-based video service is in the cost savings found vs. completely on-premise systems. The capital costs disappear (well, almost—some hardware is still usually required), and video truly becomes a deliverable service. It's something vendors are slowly starting to introduce, particularly as consumer video communications services such as Skype and FaceTime become increasingly popular. Ah, to think there's an entire generation growing up that won't mention the 1936 World's Fair as a joke and ask "Dude, where's my video phone?"

According to StarLeaf, the Call solution is as easy as plug-and-play in deployment, which is good news for the company's channel partners.

"By taking the pain and cost of infrastructure out of the equation, and placing it in the cloud, we deliver scalable and affordable business quality video collaboration—to any size company whether they want one room or tens of thousands of connected users," said Loney in a prepared statement.