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7/20/2011
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Logitech Buys Mirial, Adds Mobile Videoconferencing To Lifesize

Logitech's Lifesize unit also launches cloud service, conference room videoconferencing system.

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Slideshow: Cisco Umi Takes Telepresence To The Home
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Lifesize is adding newly-acquired mobile and desktop videoconferencing software to its video communications platform, while also introducing a cloud service for video connectivity, parent company Logitech announced Wednesday.

Logitech has acquired Mirial, a small, private creator of video conferencing software for PCs, Macs, smart phones, and tablets based in Milan, Italy, and will merge it into Lifesize, which sells high-end videoconferencing and telepresence systems. The price was not disclosed.

"This has been a gap in the Lifesize product line," Lifesize CEO Craig Malloy said. Lifesize had a desktop client that could be used to call in to a videoconference, but it was for Windows PCs only and lacked some features customers wanted such as integration with a corporate address book. Mirial gives Lifesize a more full-featured client that works across PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android. Compatable devices include iPhone 4 and 3GS, the iPad 2; HTC's EVO, Desire, Incredible, myTouch 4G, Sensation and ThunderBolt; Motorola's Atrix and Xoom; Samsung Epic 4G, Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab as well as Google Nexus S and Dell Streak.

Although corporate and consumer videoconferencing technologies are converging, in a trend led by smaller vendors like Vidyo and FuzeBox, Malloy said the Mirial acquisition allows Lifesize to vault past competitors like Cisco and Polycom in the breadth of its mobile support. "If you look at our major competitors, they don't have anything like this," he said.

The Mirial software is based on standards that allow it to interoperate with Lifesize equipment from day one, but branding and distribution will be integrated in the coming months, Malloy said.

Lifesize also is introducing a cloud-computing product, Lifesize Connections, for organizations that want to use video conferencing without the need to buy or manage the required network hardware. Lifesize will host the equipment in a network of data centers Logitech picked up when it acquired the consumer videoconverencing service SightSpeed in 2008. For the past several years, the SightSpeed network has been used to support Logitech Vid, a free service for consumers who buy a Logitech webcam, but now it will be used to provide business class service as well, Malloy said.

In addition, Lifesize is introducing a new conference room videoconference system optimized for use with the cloud called Lifesize Passport Connect. Passport Connect includes a Logitech high-definition camera in combination with a videoconferencing network endpoint and a user interface for easier name-based dialing and search for contacts, according to Logitech. These units will be sold for $1,499, or $999 when purchased with a Lifesize Connections subscription. Lifesize Connections subscriptions will be priced at $30 per user per month for desktops and $100 per month for use with a Passport Connect endpoint.

LifeSize Passport Connect is also designed to interoperate with unified communications systems including those from Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, and Microsoft (Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Microsoft Lync Server 2010).

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