At Interop I spent time with Craig Malloy, CEO of LifeSize and Casey King, CTO and got a deep dive on their offering and even drove a high definition video conference on the show floor with users in Austin and Munich. Here are a few of my key observations from the show:

  • LifeSize paid very careful attention to visual clarity at a variety of network speeds – Internet connectivity works great
  • The company has considerable intellectual property in the HD cameras (the quality of the receivers' experience depends on data captured by the camera)
  • The company built its own H.264 codecs
  • The speaker phone doesn't need remote mics, includes over a dozen microphones and supports Power over Ethernet
  • The media processor includes a Power over Ethernet interface for the IP speaker phone so there is only one cable to the phone
  • But probably most significantly, the firm has developed a simple UI

With fewer buttons than most TV remote controls, the LifeSize infrared remote enables context-sensitive on-screen control of initialization, monitoring and reporting of session statistics (both local statistics and remote statistics). The clean presentation on the screen with clearly presented options makes it suitable for executive office deployments. 

I remember from my previous experiences with first/second generation systems over the past decade and a half that IT always had to be around to initiate the call and circuit binding procedures. That's because it didn't always work, and the equipment warm-up and call confirmation cycle was complicated. Bye bye IT person.

This is so powerful, inexpensive and easy that workgroups can deploy video conferencing in their offices and use video conferencing much more often than flying. And why not?

Craig uses his office system every day. Demonstrating the technology to potential customers. Talking with resellers around the world (they have about 100 of them). Significantly, LifeSize is growing the entire market by enabling businesses and organizations that had never before used video conferencing. Roughly 1/3 to half of the company's 700 customers to-date are in this category.

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