Modular Bridge Delivers Scalable Videoconferencing Solution - InformationWeek
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10/21/2010
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Modular Bridge Delivers Scalable Videoconferencing Solution

LifeSize, a division of Logitech, has taken the wraps off a product that could make videoconferencing easy, affordable, and scalable for small and midsize businesses.

LifeSize, a division of Logitech, has taken the wraps off a product that could make videoconferencing easy, affordable, and scalable for small and midsize businesses.The company's latest offering, the LifeSize Bridge 2200, is a 16-port videoconferencing multipoint control unit (MCU) that allows IT administrators to use existing network architectures to deliver high-definition video.

"Traditionally, we've offered embedded bridges -- technology built into the endpoint that allows four to eight parties to participate in a videoconference," says Travis McCollum, product manager at LifeSize. "Users were coming to us saying they needed more ports but weren't satisfied with the price/performance [ratios] of products offered by our competition."

In response, LifeSize developed the 2200. The cost per port is about $4,000, versus anywhere from $5,600 to $15,400 for competing products, McCollum says. "Other companies tend to design these products for enterprises, then depopulate the chassis to accommodate smaller players," he says. "They pull out processors and end up with 15 or 20. Small companies still have to pay for that 'hidden capacity,' and for the R&D that went into the original product. But it's not as if they can add back those ports down the road."

By purchasing the 2200, SMBs can avoid making a huge upfront invest in videoconferencing, McCollum says, adding that they don't have to make predictions about future capacity either. Yet the bridge allows an organization to scale as it grows. The 2200 can be used in a centralized environment or for distributed videoconferencing, and it supports both on-demand and scheduled calls.

LifeSize sells nearly 100% of its videoconferencing technology through the channel, says Mary Miller, director of product marketing at the company. She says the vendor's 1,500 worldwide partners include distributors, resellers, and systems integrators, many of whom offer routers, switches, and other unified communications-related solutions to businesses of all sizes and in an array of vertical markets. Other products from LifeSize include video management and control software; the LG Executive, a $2,999 all-in-one videoconferencing solution geared at SMBs; and a line of videoconferencing cameras.

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