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Logitech To Launch Cloud Video Conferencing Service

September 22, 2011 | Hogan Keyser
LifeSize Connections service works this fall with Windows PCs and Macs; down the road will support unified communications platforms, smartphones and tablets.

By Robert Mullins InformationWeek
September 21, 2011 11:59 AM

Logitech's LifeSize Connections 1.0, available this fall, offers a cloud-delivered infrastructure for high-definition video conferencing, which it touts as "democratizing" video conferencing by making it available to businesses that can't afford to build their own video conferencing systems. Initially, it is being offered as a standalone service only on desktop computers with plans down the road for integrating it with unified communications systems and supporting mobile devices.

Connections 1.0, which was revealed in July, was demonstrated recently at an event in Silicon Valley and will become available sometime in mid-October at $30 per month, per person for a desktop connection and $100 per month for a room-sized connection.

LifeSize introduced several enhancements to its telepresence solutions, including a 10x high def camera for its room-based systems, an executive solution in partnership with LG, and new MCUs for high-def multipoint video.

While LifeSize is competing with HD video conference systems from such vendors as Polycom and Cisco Systems, one selling point Logitech emphasizes with LifeSize Connections is that meetings can be scheduled on the fly. While some video conference systems feature a reservation system in which an organizer selects participants and sends them an invitation to log on at a certain time and date, LifeSize allows an organizer to contact people by phone, instant messaging, or email to invite them to join a meeting that may be already underway.

[Three out of four companies are expected to be using video conferencing in the next few years. Here are some of the reasons why.]

"We don't have to do pre-established meetings. With our approach it's much more dynamic. It's very much like with phones and IM," said Scott Lomond, vice president and general manager of Logitech's SightSpeed business, which Logitech acquired in 2008 for $30 million. SightSpeed delivers the session initiation protocol (SIP)-based cloud networking capabilities that integrate with the video communications platform from LifeSize Communications, which Logitech acquired in 2009 for $405 million.

The management platform for LifeSize Connections enables a meeting organizer to scroll through a directory of employees to include in a meeting. For a participant outside the company asked to join as a guest, the organizer sends him or her an email invitation and a link to download the LifeSize Connections desktop client.

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