Less than five years ago, in December of 2005, LifeSize re-invented the video communication industry. The revolutionary LifeSize Room system was the very first HD video communication product on the market, allowing people to use 1Mbps of their open internet bandwidth to communicate with anyone around the world (We can now deliver 720p30 at less than 768kbps).
I remember vividly the first time we showed our new Room product at a trade show in Las Vegas. People were amazed. They had never seen anything like it. A few actually thought we were faking. They didn’t believe such a small, affordable box could produce such a stunning result. One of our favorite sayings around the office – borrowed from Arthur C. Clarke – is “great technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I think our LifeSize Room product certainly achieved that mark.
Five years on, LifeSize has made great progress toward our goal of changing the way the world communicates. Once we proved the technology worked and customers saw the value in low cost HD video products, the race was on. In the past few years the video communications market has literally exploded with new competitors, product offerings and services for professional and personal use.
We have also been very busy. We are now shipping our 4th generation endpoint product, working on our 5th, and offer a full line of systems to fit many different uses. We also have a full range of management and infrastructure products. However, one of the things that always bothered us was the high cost and low quality of multiparty calling, or “video bridging.” This is the same application of dialing into an audio conference call, except with video. Where audio bridging is simple to use, has good quality and is very low cost, video bridging is ridiculously expensive, has terrible quality and is very complex. The current state of standalone video bridges is a real barrier to mainstream deployment and everyday usage of video calling.
Our endpoints products have always included an embedded video bridge to facilitate multiparty calling. In fact, very objectively, the multiparty calling feature built into our Room and Team product is the very best bridge on the market today in terms of simplicity, quality and cost. There are, however, applications requiring a standalone infrastructure device, and we have not been able to satisfy that customer request.
Building network infrastructure equipment, for any application, is a major engineering project requiring millions of dollars, dozens of talented people, and several years of work. Therefore, in most industries, companies specialize in either endpoints or infrastructure. Video infrastructure equipment is no different. Over the life of our industry, there have been at least five standalone companies formed and operated to build and supply video infrastructure equipment. In the early to mid nineties, Multilink, VideoServer and Accord built and shipped products; Codian was formed and shipped the best product of its generation about six years ago. Only Radvision exists today as a standalone video infrastructure company. The others were purchased by larger endpoint focused companies or ceased operations.
But none of them were able to develop, what we believe, was the right combination of quality, flexibility and cost. We always thought we could build a much better HD bridge than what was on the market and about three years ago we set off to do it. We finally had the size and resources to accomplish the task. Although we were also aware no supplier of video communication endpoint products had ever built and marketed a successful standalone bridge.
This week we are shipping the LifeSize Bridge 2200. Developed from everything we have learned about video calling and bridging over the past 7½ years, the LifeSize Bridge 2200 delivers the attributes of performance and price that have been holding back broad deployment of these devices for many years. We think this is some of our very best innovation yet. The quality of user experience is amazing and the affordability is equally compelling. Our website is full of great information about the LifeSize Bridge 2200. Please check it out and book a demo with us or one of our partners.