LifeSize, a division of Logitech, has this week launched its new Bridge 2200, a 16-port multipoint control unit (MCU) which means you can have up to 16 participants in different locations, all dialling into your video-conference.
If they are on an ADSL line which is of poor quality, then the Bridge 2200 makes allowances for that without there being delays or drops in the coverage, and for those with fast lines offers high HD quality.
For users, most of whom have little specialised IT knowledge and no real wish to acquire any, the joy of using the new system is likely to be how simple it is. The new technology allows businesses to remove a lot of the complexity of video-conferencing by incorporating a lot of its features into its hardware.
It’s the equivalent of the simplicity of the Sky + control against trying to programme a video recorder to record a programme in five days time. As readers will no doubt have encountered in the past, the sophistication of much video-conferencing technology means that it can be very hard to work, and almost impossible to fix when there is a problem unless you have an IT person in the room with you or on standby (and sometime, even then).
There is a simple control, not unlike, well, a satellite TV control and the price point of this extremely high-end bit of equipment is said by the company to be about one-third that of its competitors, being £54,299. It’s a big one-off investment, of course, although if you already have existing video-conferencing equipment, the Bridge works with them, or, it “deploys easily and scales across existing resources, geographies, and standards based video conferencing offerings. The product supports any codec, speed, resolution, layout or port without losing capacity of HD video capacity.”
Of course as we are all focussed on being green and cutting travel costs to concentrate on the truly important face to face meetings, there’s little doubt that the advances in video-conferencing technology will play their part. As Lifesize puts it, the Bridge helps you “… become more productive while saving organisations significant costs in travel budgets, technology investments and administrative support.”
It’s something that every video-conferencing sales person has promised for the last 15 years. Perhaps Lifesize has finally cracked it. Visit lifesize.com.