If you have ever seen a Sci-Fi movie from the 50s and early 60s referring to the future of the 1990s – when space travel would be achieved and a common day occurrence, you would also noticed that the most common form of communication was also the video call. Even Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon had video devices in the 30s serials.
The idea of video conferencing is nothing new. Twenty plus years ago I was installing video cameras, projection TVs and Internet connected whiteboards in an attempt to carry out video conferencing sessions between our New York and California offices. Once or twice I was successful in establishing a connection to Switzerland.
Of course, back in the day, we didn’t have HD quality devices. At best, the video image was grainy, there was a time lag and the overall experience was nothing to marvel at. In those days, we had only a handful of companies, such as Cisco that were even attempting such a feat. They have been offering enterprises video conferencing services for a long time. The experience became tolerable as the technology improved.
However, as the technology improved, so did its complexity. In most cases, you needed a separate server running an individual system. Companies like Cisco were able to charge a small fortune to install a network server. Most of the time, your company was charged for installation, professional services, licensing fees and let us not forget the all-important training for the IT team.
This was usually a requirement in order to successfully operate and troubleshoot the complicated system. Fast forward to the future, which we call the present – and we have real-time communications thanks to the cloud and WebRTC. The fact that we have greater IP network capacity and faster wireless networks have added to the ability to make real time communications substantially cheaper and provided as a service.
Lifesize, which provides high definition video conferencing endpoints and accessories, infrastructure products and a cloud-based video collaboration platform introduced last week, Lifesize Cloud, a SaaS offering that makes it possible for anyone, anywhere, in any organization, to have access to high quality HD video collaboration.
We no longer exist in a world where everyone sits behind a desk and makes phone calls. Everyone is constantly on the go. However, they all still need to remain in almost constant contact with their company, colleagues and clients. Real-time communication solutions have made this a possibility.
Lifesize’s cloud-based SaaS can make this possible for up to 25 connections at $25 per user per month and a 25-way call in HD video or audio can be accomplished. All of this is done without the need to manage a large, unruly, complicated system.
Gone are the days of managing multiparty bridging ports. Some of the key features that can be found in Lifesize Cloud include:
A connected experience on any device, especially the meeting room, with support for smartphones, laptops, tablets and telephones through the Lifesize Cloud app
A Lifesize Icon room video system the works out of the box by connecting to the organization’s network and providing authorized log-in credentials
Click to call, check presence status, connect instantly or in scheduled calls, have single and group calls, and presentation sharing.
What makes this a particularly useful product is the fact that the company uses WebRTC technology to make this software instantly accessible to millions of users across not only platforms but also devices. The only requirement is a compatible browser followed by a quick installation of Lifesize’s user friendly client for your device and creation of a user account.
The beauty of the solution is that it allows subscribers to communicate with people outside of their company’s cloud network without switching technology or, more importantly, sacrificing the quality of the service and its features. Users are able to call each other from their tablets, smartphones, computers, or conference screens and instantly strike up communication in servers maintained by LifeSize Cloud.
It is this simplicity that makes a product useful. When we installed the first video conferencing systems 20 years ago, they remained unused most of the time due to the simple fact that they were too cumbersome. Several days advanced notice was required in order to make sure that all the various pieces worked together. Today, thanks to companies allowing you to use your own smartphones and tablets (BYOD) you can stay connected regardless of your location. Lifesize Cloud allows you to join a video conference being held in your office, in real-time, while you are on the move. What could be more simple and useful?