LifeSize, Microsoft Partner on Video Collaboration

LifeSize is working to qualify its video-conferencing products to interoperate with Microsoft's Lync and Office Communications Servers UC platforms.

LifeSize Communications is bringing its video-collaboration capabilities to the Microsoft unified-communications platform.

LifeSize officials on Feb. 7 announced that their high-definition video-conferencing products, including the 220 Series offerings and the more affordable LifeSize Passport collaboration system, will immediately interoperate with Microsoft's Lync communications platform, with further qualifications for Lync later in the year.

In addition, LifeSize expects its offerings to be qualified this year to work with Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 R2, according to Craig Malloy, LifeSize co-founder and CEO and senior vice president of parent company Logitech. It will make LifeSize among the first video-conferencing vendors to qualify for interoperability with the Microsoft platform.

"Our partnership with Microsoft is a key component in our vision to extend the highest quality collaboration capabilities to anyone, anywhere, giving customers true simplicity across existing UC platforms," Malloy said in a statement.

The partnership is only the latest pairing of major technology companies and video-collaboration specialists as both sides look to take advantage of a major trend in both the corporate and consumer markets. Cisco Systems, a strong proponent of video communications, expects video to be a key part of a larger collaboration space that should grow to $30 billion a year.

Businesses see such technology as a key way of driving employee productivity while reducing such costs as travel expenses.

At Lotusphere 2011 earlier this month,


showed off a new plug-in that will let users of IBM's Lotus Sametime UC (unified communications) platform easily run and participate in high-definition video conferences.

According to LifeSize officials, the interoperability of their technology with Microsoft's UC platforms will be a boon to businesses of all sizes, enabling them to connect over video between the LifeSize devices and desktops running the Microsoft offerings.

It also will mean more manageable communications, they said. A number of communications avenues-from e-mail and video to chat and the telephone-can be accessed and managed via a single user interface from myriad locations, such as conference rooms, a desktop or a home office.

"The combination of LifeSize technology with Microsoft UC platforms will enable joint customers to extend their video-conferencing ecosystems with service to both conference rooms and PCs," Bill Verthein, principal group program manager for Lync Devices at Microsoft, said in a statement. " Through our qualification process, LifeSize will become one of the first video-conferencing vendors qualified to interoperate with Microsoft OCS."

When LifeSize's offerings are qualified to work with Office Communications Server, it will mean support for such featuers as authentication and encryption, firewall and other security measures from Microsoft Edge Services for secure communications outside organizations, auto-configuration and united presence status.