Logitech video conferencing arm LifeSize packs triple punch

LifeSize, the enterprise video conferencing company Logitech acquired in 2009, has made three major announcements today: a big acquisition, a new service, and a new piece of hardware.

The Acquisition

Logitech has acquired Italian company Mirial to grow LifeSize's portfolio with new mobile video collaboration solutions.

Since there is a major move in enterprise IT to include consumer hardware in the workplace, LifeSize will use Mirial's interoperable video conferencing solutions to expand into iOS and Android territory. Currently, Mirial supports more than a dozen devices, including the iPhone 3GS, 4, and iPad 2, HTC EVO 4G, Desire, Incredible, myTouch 4G, Nexus S, Sensation and ThunderBolt; Motorola Atrix; Samsung Epic 4G, Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, and Dell Streak.

The New Service

LifeSize announced that it has expanded from on-premise video conferencing solutions and now offers an HD cloud-based solution called LifeSize Connections.

Because a sophisticated video conferencing solution typically incurs a huge upfront cost for equipment, infrastructure, and support, it is not a very dynamic service offering and not within the budgets of many small businesses.

With LifeSize Connections, deployments are more scalable, pricing is less of a commitment (pay-as-you-go, $30/user/month for desktop, $100/room/month for endpoint,) and the demands on IT are lessened (auto-config of endpoints/terminals, web-based admin.) The service supports up to nine-way multipoint encrypted calling at 720p 30 frames per second.

LifeSize Connections will be available globally in the third quarter of 2011.

The New Hardware

LifeSize Passport Connect is the first piece of hardware co-developed by Lifesize and Logitech since the company's 2009 acquisition, and it is also the first piece of hardware anywhere to feature plug and play compatibility with the new LifeSize Connections service.

It can also be integrated with communications solutions from Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Microsoft Lync Server 2010. It supports 720p video calling, features Carl Zeiss optics and RightLight 2 low-light correction technology, and costs $1,499 as a standalone product. With a year of LifeSize Connections service, a significant chunk of the cost is removed, bringing it down to $999.

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