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LifeSize Launches LifeSize Connection - Cloud Based Videoconferencing Infrastructure Solution

July 20, 2011 | David S. Maldow, Esq.

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LifeSize, the first videoconferencing vendor to offer high definition videoconferencing (now a division of Logitech), has made the second in a series of strategic product related announcements. The first announcement covered Logitech's partnership with Jabra.

LifeSize has introduced "LifeSize Connections", a Cloud based videoconferencing platform providing the infrastructure backbone for a videoconferencing environment including LifeSize endpoints, PCs, and Macs. According to LifeSize, interoperability with non-LifeSize endpoints is pending.

Many large enterprises purchase and internally operate the infrastructure (MCU, management software, gateways, firewall traversal, etc.) supporting a videoconferencing deployment. Other enterprises may choose to use a hosted solution, trading off some amount of control and customization to avoid cost and complexity. For further discussion on the choice between internal and hosted infrastructure, please be sure to read the next issue of Telepresence Options Magazine.

LifeSize Connections is a hosted solution, enabling calls between LifeSize endpoints and desktop users running a proprietary thin client. The solution is currently in "Alpha" testing with global availability expected in late August 2011. Licenses will cost $30 per desktop client and $100 per endpoint seat per month with volume discounts for large numbers of subscribers. Other features include:

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  • 9 way 720p30 video bridging
  • Fully encrypted media and signaling
  • Integrated firewall traversal
  • "Plug and Play" environment (auto configuration of LifeSize Endpoints and thin clients)
  • Directory based dialing
  • Presence
  • Web based management tools (Bandwidth control, reporting, etc.)

LifeSize Connection includes a guest invitation capability similar to the WebEx model. LifeSize Connection users can send an email invitation to guests, including a link to download the thin client. Guest users can only communicate with the person who invited them. The use of guest accounts greatly increases the reach of the LifeSize Connection environment allowing users to meet with clients, remote salespeople or experts, etc.

LifeSize is also releasing the "LifeSize Passport Connect", a version of their LifeSize Passport series optimized for LifeSize Connections environments.  It offers a simplified version of the LifeSize UI, leveraging the directory based dialing of LifeSize Connections.

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The LifeSize Passport Connect is intended for telecommuters and remote workers. Rather than running the thin client on a laptop or desktop, they can get a large screen, high definition videoconferencing experience for a much lower cost ($999 when bundled with LifeSize Connections) than a standard room system.

These releases are further indicators of a larger industry trend, focusing on usability over technical specifications like pixel count. In an interview with Wynn Hartley, Product Marketing Lead at LifeSize, she described LifeSize's current focus as "Anyone, Anywhere" communication. Accordingly, LifeSize Connection offers users and their guests the ability to connect from any desktop, inside or outside the firewall.

For organizations wishing to internally host their videoconferencing infrastructure, LifeSize continues to offer its traditional line of bridging and firewall transit devices and management software. 
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