LifeSize Unveils Video Conferencing Bridge

LifeSize Communications is rolling out the Bridge 2200, a modular offering that enables businesses to increase capacity as needed.

LifeSize Communications has built a reputation as a video conferencing endpoint maker aimed at the SMB space. Now the company is expanding its offerings beyond the endpoint, while continuing to keep its focus on smaller businesses.

LifeSize, owned by Logitech, on Oct. 20 rolled out its first video conferencing bridge with a modular design that lets users scale the product as needed.

The 16-port LifeSize Bridge 2200 is designed to let businesses buy the number of ports they currently need-at about $4,000 per port-and add capacity as their video conferencing needs grow, according to Travis McCollum, product manager at LifeSize.

"This is a modular design," McCollum said in an interview with eWEEK. "It's flexible. You grow it as needed."

By contrast, competing vendors ask businesses to estimate what they'll need in the future, and to pay upfront for that capacity, he said.

LifeSize in the past had offered embedded bridging capabilities in some of its endpoints, and also has sold a third-party bridge from Radvision. Now LifeSize can offer businesses a more complete video conferencing system.

In addition, the company with the bridge can offer this system and the best high-definition quality at the best price, according to officials. The price per 720p30, 720p60 and 1080p port is the lowest on the market, and in HD, the cost is less than a third of what other vendors charge, they said.

While LifeSize has traditionally targeted SMBs, Mary Miller, director of product marketing at LifeSize, expects that reducing the upfront costs that businesses need to pay will help drive growth in the industry and "make video conferencing pervasive."

Businesses are increasingly interested in video conferencing as a way of reducing travel expenses and enhancing employee productivity. That increased interest is driving vendors, including Cisco Systems, Avaya, Radvision and Polycom, to build out their video collaboration technologies.

Cisco is investing tens of millions of dollars in R&D to create a networking infrastructure that will act as the platform for what officials say will be a flood of video Internet traffic over the next few years. Cisco officials on Oct. 19 unveiled several products that will be part of the Medianet the company is creating.