LifeSize Communications has expanded its line of high-definition video conferencing products, and while the new capabilities cost more, their improved codecs may allow business owners to save money by avoiding expensive dedicated networks.The new 200 series offers true 1080p HD performance at 30 frames per second over a standard 1.7Mbps Internet connection or 780p at 60fps over a 1.1Mbps connection. The 1080p mode is designed for when you need to see clear details (I used it to clearly read the label on a Coke can located in Texas), while the 720p version is typically the default option because the faster refresh rate does a better job of handling motion. There's also a 720p 30fps version that works over a 768Mbps connection.
The new products will ship in the first half of November, but they augment, not replace the company's existing line. The single-screen version, LifeSize Room 200 costs $17,000, compared to $13,000 for the standard LifeSize Room. The full 3-screen telepresence LifeSize Conference 200 is priced at under $50,000, compared to about $40,000 for the older LifeSize Conference. LifeSize Team 200, designed to connecting several locations at once, in different locations, costs $11,000, compared to $9,000 for the older LifeSize Team. (That's for the codec and related equipment of course, not the screen. But those are getting cheaper all the time.)
While you might think videoconferencing systems that cost this much are all enterprise-oriented, LifeSize CTO Casey King told me that companies of all sizes are taking advantage of the technology. This can be transformative for small companies who ned to maximize individual productivity, added Michael Helmbrecht, LifeSize's director of product management.
Believe it or not, they also said that companies are even installing these systems in-home for top execs. Apparently, the son of LifeSize CEO Craig Malloy has a system in his college dorm room! "People don't realize you can do this," for this amount of money, King said.
I didn't realize dorm rooms had gotten that high tech.
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