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LifeSize Releases New Icon Series: High Power, Low Price, And A Completely New User Interface

January 28, 2013 | David S. Maldow, Esq.

The recent comments from Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell regarding the potential future of the Logitech / LifeSize relationship have definitely grabbed the industry's attention. While we wait to see how that shakes out, LifeSize is continuing to move forward with its ever improving UVC platform. This latest addition to the LifeSize Portfolio is a new room system, the Icon Series.

Do we still need new room system appliances with all the buzz around desktop and mobility? Of course we do. We still expect a superior, integrated, experience, even in a small business meeting room. The market for hardware based VC is undeniably constricting, but it is still a 9 figure industry and LifeSize isn't foolish for continuing to support it. Taking a closer look at this new Icon Series solution we see this may not be just an incremental upgrade, but a new class of affordable, powerful, intuitive meeting room solutions.

Old v New: We Are Moving In The Right Direction

The soul of the new Icon series is its completely redesigned user interface. The name really says it all. It is no secret that every since the first iPhone came and changed the world that people happily, naturally, and intuitively use icon based user interfaces. Traditional videoconferencing user interfaces are anything but user friendly. For example, they commonly have extremely complicated remote controls, forcing users to constantly look away from the screen at the buttons on the remote. A quick look at the new remote (above right) next to the previous version really explains it all.

The new user interface is a slick, modern, design, stripped of all confusing textual setting menus. Users are presented with an intuitive, immediately understandable, set of icons to choose (see above). This is clearly how the "Icon" series got its name and obviously the main focus of the product design team. They appear to have met their goal, as a quick demo of the new UI convinced me that even a complete videoconferencing novice should be able to pick up the remote and place a call with almost no instruction or help. The new UI also allows for some extremely user friendly call creation options, such as the calendar entries show below.

While the new UI may get all the attention, the system also offers great integration with the LifeSize UVC Platform, allowing for easy use of advanced features, such as recording, all from the same easy UI. Each system also includes a free seat of LifeSize's UVC Manager, which offers schedule and directory integration among other features.

Putting aside the ease of use, the new Icon series matches up very well based on a strict price and performance review. The system is available today for $2,999. This significantly less than competitive 1080p/60 capable endpoints which can cost two or three times as much. We can only guess as to how the current corporate kerfuffle will effect the future of LifeSize and their products, but meanwhile their team continues to push the envelope when it comes to powerful, affordable meeting room systems.

About the Author
David_Maldow, Esq.David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their telepresence, videoconferencing, and visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.

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