How to Choose the Right Display for Video Conferencing

Re-post article by Elizabeth Hawes from lifesize.com

The ease and availability of high-speed Internet along with a dramatic drop in the price of flat screen TVs has changed the way companies meet. Expensive business trips don’t even have to enter the equation to meet face to face. Now, all it takes is a video system and a display to turn any meeting space into a video meeting space.

Whether you’re brainstorming concepts for the product roadmap or analyzing data in a sales report, the availability of a display to connect people over video and screen share is critical for your conference room. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right display for video conferencing. The size of your conference room, how frequently you’ll be using the system, the quality of the lighting and your budget all play an important role in screen selection. The general rule of thumb is: the bigger the room, the bigger the display.

Size Matters

Conference rooms can vary dramatically in size from the small team huddle room to the huge all-hands auditorium or lecture hall. You want everyone in the room to be able to see both the faces on a video conference call and the data shared in the online meeting, so select a size accordingly:

  • Small Huddle Room – (1) 42”–50” screen
  • Conference/Boardroom – (2) 42”–60” screens in side-by-side configuration
  • Auditorium – HD projector rated for 2500 to 4500 lumens for a lit room

Dual Displays

One way to ensure the visibility of the participants on the video call and the data shared in a web conference is to organize your video conferencing system for dual displays. Lifesize® Icon™ video conferencing systems can be configured for dual displays in Preferences > Appearance > Physical Display Arrangements. Options for dual displays include the ability to separate callers from an in-call presentation and mirroring the display when a presentation is not in use.

Mounting Height

To achieve the closest eye-to-eye feel over a video call, the display should be mounted at or around eye level. Placing the camera just above or just below the display will ensure that as you’re looking at your colleague on the screen, you’re also looking at the camera lens. In our tests, we have found that placing the camera just below the screen, at seated eye level, produces the best results.

Sound

Quality sound will help enhance the experience of your video calls. Be sure to select a display with built-in speakers or have a separate sound system for the room. This is especially important for large rooms set up with an HD projector.

Once you’ve established the display size needed, you’ll need to figure out which type to get. It is important to note that not all displays are created equal. There are three major types of displays most used for video conferencing, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Liquid Crystal Display(LCD). LCD televisions have a number of advantages. They’re light, thin and have a long life span (50,000 hours or more). They offer great picture quality and are available in mammoth sizes of 60” and larger. Additionally, burn-in (in which an image is static on the screen for so long that it becomes permanently etched into it) is uncommon.
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED). LED televisions come in a variety of forms, including direct LED, OLED (organic LED) and edge LED. Unless you are a tech enthusiast, it may be difficult to understand all of the variations of LED, but in general, LED TVs are more power efficient, thinner and capable of a wider color spectrum and higher contrast than other models. We use LED TVs almost exclusively in our office.
  • Front Projection. The main benefit of front projection is size. Most moderately priced projectors will be capable of displaying life-sized and larger-than-life projection onto a 12-foot or larger screen. The trade-offs, in most cases, are that the quality of the picture will suffer as the projection size increases and most projectors do not include an audio tuner—so you’ll need to source sound separately.

Connecting the Entire Company (Including Meeting Rooms)

Every person and every meeting room in your organization can be video-enabled with the best communication tool available. The shared directory of Lifesize Cloud makes one-click video calling quick and easy. People and rooms can be searched, filtered, favorited and instantly added to an active call.

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Blue Jeans: The future of videoconferencing will be geared toward non-tech-savvy users

Re-post article by Chris Talbot from fierceenterprisecommunications.com

If Mike Mansbach’s vision for the future of enterprise videoconferencing comes to pass, it could simplify video communications to the point that it’s natural for even the least tech-savvy person to use it.

Mansbach, who is two months into the job as president of Blue Jeans Network, told FierceEnterpriseCommunications that the company is spending hundreds of hours examining how people communicate. The goal is to take that data and plan out the Blue Jeans Network videoconferencing service of the future.

According to Mansbach, key to the next transformation is allowing people to connect in any way they choose. Videoconferencing, he explained, is about using either “your video or my video.” Blue Jeans hopes to remove that level of decision-making and provide a more seamless experience between different devices and services.

“What we care about is the ability to use our device and communicate either inter- or intra-organization seamlessly,” he said.

Mansbach noted that the “walled garden” approach taken by many vendors in the past simply doesn’t work. Instead, consumers don’t care what protocols the applications are using to run; they just want them to work.

For now, videoconferencing technology is too focused on the tech-savvy end user. Mansbach indicated that the different devices and services are easy for tech-savvy people to use, but when it comes to non-techie users, it’s a different story. (When I consider my father, who sometimes struggles with computer technology, I see his point.)

Introducing people new to videoconferencing takes training. The end goal is to make it so simple that no training to step-by-step walkthrough of the technology is required, Mansbach said.

Exactly what this videoconferencing service of the future will look like is still up in the air. Mansbach isn’t even sure, as Blue Jeans is still doing its own research. The promises are still somewhat ethereal, but the technology will likely change and evolve over the next few years to better suit enterprise demands.

Logitech Spins Out Video Conferencing Unit Lifesize

Re-post article by Jeffrey Burt from eweek.com

Three venture capital firms have invested $17.5 million into Lifesize, though Logitech will retain a 37.5 percent share in the company.

Logitech, which bought video conferencing vendor Lifesize Communications in 2009 at a time when companies were looking to the technology as a way of saving money, is spinning out the business, though it will keep a hand in it.

Logitech officials in late December announced that Lifesize was being spun out and had raised $17.5 million from several new investors—Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Meritech Capital Partners. Logitech will retain a 37.5 percent share in the company, which will run as a private entity. It will now be known as Lifesize Inc.

There were few details about Lifesize’s future plans coming from officials of either Lifesize or Logitech, though Lifesize CEO Craig Malloy said the company has “big plans moving forward” that officials will share in the coming weeks.

“We’re committed to delivering the most dynamic cloud-based video collaboration and meeting platform to the market, and to accelerating our exceptional growth into 2016 and beyond,” Malloy wrote in a brief post on the company blog, adding that spinning out the company “is the culmination of many months of hard work.”

In a statement, Logitech officials said the move will enable Logitech to continue its efforts to become a simpler and more nimble company and to focus more on its retail business. In addition, it will allow Lifesize to grow faster as a cloud-based provider of video conferencing services, and that the company will benefit from the experience in the video conferencing space of the three new investors.

The relationship between Logitech and Lifesize over the years has been an uncomfortable one at times. When Logitech bought the company in 2009, the deal came as the world was dealing with the crushing recession and companies were looking for ways to increase employee productivity while driving down costs, both of which video conferencing can address.

However, Lifesize was in a market that included such established vendors as Cisco Systems and Polycom, and in 2013 Logitech officials said they were considering selling the business, which at the time was seeing sales drop as competition increased and the video conferencing space continued its transition away from room-based equipment to cloud- and software-based offerings.

A year later, Malloy—who founded Lifesize in 2003 but had left in 2012 to pursue other opportunities—returned to the company and has since overseen an aggressive push into the cloud. In May 2014, three months after Malloy returned to the company, Lifesize launched Lifesize Cloud, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering the CEO said will deliver business-class video collaboration to organizations that is scalable, easy to use and affordable. Since then, the company has expanded on its vision to enable users to participate in conferences from wherever they are and on any device they choose, including notebooks, smartphones and tablets.

“For the very first time, we are enabling any company of any size to completely and cost-efficiently supply their entire staff with video conferencing,” Malloy told eWEEK at the time.

Lifesize’s embrace of the cloud addresses the growing demand from businesses trying to manage such trends as increasing workforce mobility, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and social software. Lifesize is not alone in the effort: Cisco, Polycom, Avaya and other established players also are broadening their cloud portfolios, and a growing number of smaller vendors—such as Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network—also are gaining traction with cloud-only offerings.

Last month, analysts with IHS Infonetics said businesses are continuing to embrace video communications technologies and that the trend continues to be away from in-house infrastructure to cloud-delivery models. They said they expect revenue of cloud video conferencing services to hit $281 million in 2015, a 25 percent jump over the previous year.

Logitech also sells its own video conferencing equipment, though officials last year noted that the company’s products complement Lifesize’s cloud efforts.