LifeSize Grows Virtualization Support in Video Collaboration Platform

LifeSize’s UVC platform will now support Hyper-V as well as VMware virtualization technology as the company expands its software-based solutions.

LifeSize Communications continues to add to the UVC video collaboration platform it rolled out earlier this year, with the most recent enhancements including support for more virtualization options, greater management capabilities and a larger number of endpoints that can connect into the environment.

Officials with LifeSize, which is owned by Logitech, announced the improvements Nov. 7, saying they are the latest steps in the company’s efforts to move from being a hardware maker to offering software-based video collaboration solutions.

LifeSize began the transformation in February with the unveiling of the UVC integrated software platform, and over the past several months has aggressively added to the solutions it offers on the platform, according to Michael Helmbrecht, vice president and general manager of video solutions at the company.

Making the move to a software-based solution set offers businesses greater flexibility, scalability and cost efficiencies, and makes it easier for them to test, deploy and run their video collaboration technologies, Helmbrecht told eWEEK. It also gives organizations greater deployment options.

The software “can be deployed on our hardware or in a virtualized, cloud environment,” he said.

With the number of endpoints for video collaboration rapidly expanding—from massive room-based systems to tablets and smartphones—established vendors like Cisco Systems, Polycom and LifeSize are shifting more toward software-based solutions, which give customers greater flexibility and cost efficiencies. In addition, smaller companies like Vidyo are offering fully software-based video conferencing products.

With the UVC platform, LifeSize not only lets organizations choose how they want to deploy the video software, but also which applications they want to use and how quickly they want to grow.

In the newest enhancements to UVC Platform, LifeSize officials are announcing across-the-board support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology, to complement the support they already give VMware’s virtualization platform. According to Helmbrecht, adding Hyper-V support will give LifeSize access to almost 90 percent of virtualized environments; about 65 percent run VMware, and another 27 percent run Microsoft’s Hyper-V. The move will help LifeSize extend the reach of its UVC platform, he said.

LifeSize also upgraded its UVC Video Center solution, which enables high-definition streaming, recording and auto-publishing through a single button. Organizations now can allow any standards-based endpoint to dial into a video conference, and record and stream data. In addition, LifeSize added closed captioning in multiple languages, doubled its capacity limits and added support for Blackboard Learn, a learning management solution for higher education institutions.

LifeSize also unveiled UVC Manager, which is designed to simplify management of the video network. UVC Manager is an application like any other on the UVC platform and gives users a single user interface from which they can monitor, schedule calls and upgrade hundreds of devices. Both UVC Video Center 2.1 and UVC Manager are available now.

Since introducing the UVC platform in February, LifeSize officials have been aggressive in adding new capabilities. Most recently, in August, the vendor introduced UVC Multipoint, a software-based multi-control unit (MCU) that makes it easier for users to make video calls over mobile devices and to cluster multiple bridges onto a single virtual bridge.

Helmbrecht said more enhancements and solutions are on the way over the coming months.

“You’ll see a continual wave of innovation,” he said.