LifeSize, a division of Logitech, announced Wednesday the launch of its first external high-definition video conferencing bridge – both plugging a hole in its product line and extending its disruptive low-cost, high-performance proposition.
The LifeSize Bridge 2200 16-port multipoint control unit (MCU) will be globally available by the end of October for a suggested retail price of $64,999, which the company said is the lowest per-port price ($4,062) in the market and one-third the price of leading HD bridges.
“[LifeSize] has consistently increased its market penetration over the last few years and has been instrumental in bringing low-cost, high-performance HD systems to the market. The introduction of this HD video conferencing bridge -- at a fraction of the price of what its competitors charge for HD bridges -- is expected to further support LifeSize's growth in this market," said Roopam Jain, principal analyst covering conferencing and collaboration for Frost & Sullivan.
Multiparty calling is not new to LifeSize; it has been offering embedded bridges since 2005. The LifeSize Team and LifeSize Room systems support four-way and eight-way conferencing, respectively. In addition, it offers external bridges under an OEM agreement with Radvision, one of the video infrastructure market leaders behind Tandberg (Cisco) and Polycom.
The trouble with this situation was twofold, said Rich De Brino, director of advanced solutions for Right Systems Inc., Lacey, Wash., a LifeSize VAR that has been pushing the manufacturer to make its own bridge. First, he claimed, the quality of other maker’s external bridges are not on par with what customers have come to expect from the internal LifeSize bridges. Second, the cost of other bridges is high. “The hardest thing about selling bridges is the price point," he said, noting that it’s common to spend $200,000 for 30 ports or $90, 000 for 15. “Customers don’t want to do it. They will make do without it, or try to budget it for next year."
De Brino predicted the LifeSize Bridge – with the equivalent HD quality and at the lower price point – will change the market by enabling more companies to buy bridges and also to do so with budget leftover to purchase more endpoints to video-enable more people or locations within their organizations. “We’ll probably end up selling more endpoints since they won’t blow half their budget on the bridge," De Brino said.