Avaya’s Radvision Unit, LifeSize Unveil Video Conferencing Solutions
The appliance is a standard 1U (1.75-inch) Intel-based server that runs the software-based Radvision MCU software, he said. It also comes with a host of other capabilities, including H.264 High Profile support for greater bandwidth efficiency, and H.264 Scalable Video Coding and multistream telepresence connectivity for multi-party collaboration. It can support 40 full-1080p60 high-definition ports for greater density—up to three times the density of hardware-only offerings and four times that of software-only solutions, Romano said. The Scopia Elite 6000 Series cuts the cost-per-port for HD video conferencing by as much as 50 percent and requires up to 75 percent less power than hardware-based MCUs, according to Radvision. The company's eVident package includes PreVideo, a tool for assessing the readiness of networks for video, RVMON (Real-Time Voice and Video Monitoring), and VQInsider, for quality measurement and analysis. The Scopa Elite 6000 Series and eVident package are part of a larger plan by Avaya and its Radvision subsidiary to eventually integrate Radvision video technologies into Avaya's Aura UC platform. Aura already has some video capabilities, but they aren't at the same level of Radvision's solutions, Romano said. However, the trend is toward tighter integration of UC and video, where video conferencing eventually is a part of a larger unified communications offering, he said.The system also is tightly integrated with LifeSize's UVC Platform and its applications. Through this integration, navigating through the directory is easy and fast, and users can quickly see a complete schedule, click to join meetings and get reminders about meetings. They also can stream and record a meeting by pressing a single button, bring in multiple parties in a scheduled or ad hoc fashion, and easily upgrade the system, including changing the number of screens, type of camera and resolutions. Video can be presented in up to 1080p60. The integration also helps businesses control the costs of video, by enabling them to buy only the applications that are needed, and to add more as demands dictate, Helmbrecht said. "It's easy enough to use and cost-effective enough to scale," he said. The Icon Series has been in the works for a couple of years, Helmbrecht said. Company officials felt that the complexity in video systems was hurting the adoption of video conferencing, so they pushed for a simpler, less costly system. "This is a big bet for us, and our bet is that what is really holding video conferencing back … is the user experience," he said. "You have to give people a compelling reason to use things, and if you make it hard, companies will go and use another thing." LifeSize's Icon Series launch comes at a time of uncertainty for the company. Its parent company, Logitech, has struggled through a few quarters of disappointing financial numbers, and new CEO Bracken Darrell said that he and other executives would decide within three months whether to sell off LifeSize, which saw sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 drop 4 percent.
For LifeSize's Helmbrecht, the goal of his company's new Icon Series video system was to offer businesses a simplified, highly intuitive user experience that will further reduce any barriers—such as complexity and cost—that might keep them from widely adopting video conferencing.