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February 05, 2009

LifeSize Debuts Video Network Management Tool

By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor

LifeSize Communications, the first company to create and deliver high-definition video communications products, today unveiled a new full-featured video network management platform, LifeSize Control 4.0.
With this new solution, users will gain centralized management and control of various video communications networks. It also integrates into the enterprise IT framework, making video communications a natural extension to the data network.
In addition, the LifeSize (News - Alert) Control 4.0 graphical interface is easy to use and gives administrators real-time information on device and network status for leading video endpoints, MCUs and other infrastructure systems.
What makes LifeSize Control unique is its ability to integrate directly with Microsoft (News - Alert) Exchange without the need for Microsoft Exchange server patches or Microsoft Outlook client plug-ins. This capability enables end-users to set up video meetings as easily as scheduling a conference room. The innovativeness of LifeSize Control’s Smart Scheduler makes video resource scheduling transparent to the end-user by automatically identifying and setting aside all the required video devices, rooms and multipoint control units.
Andrew Davis, senior partner of Wainhouse Research, a company that analyzes market trends, products and vendors, said that LifeSize Control has the most innovative features available on the market today and also fits into enterprise systems and workflows, and is able to expand scheduling capabilities beyond the administrator to the end user.
“LifeSize Control takes video network management to a new level as it’s designed to support the way networks work today and scale to support the expanding deployments of HD video communications,” Davis explained.
“LifeSize Control 4.0 combines power and simplicity in a robust platform that helps companies get the most out of their video networks,” said Craig Malloy, CEO, LifeSize Communications. “Not only does Control manage LifeSize HD video communications systems, it’s an open platform supporting video devices by other vendors, which allows organizations to leverage their existing investment forward.” 
Another benefit of LifeSize Control 4.0 is the Smart Scheduler, a management technology that understands the capabilities of all video resources on the network and intelligently allocates and schedules those resources as they are needed. While video administrators continue to manage all video conferencing equipment, Smart Scheduler makes it easy for end-users to set up video calls.
With the familiar interface of Microsoft Outlook, scheduling a video call is as easy as booking a meeting and to use the software, there is no additional training required. Users simply book a room using Outlook from their PC and then go to the meeting; LifeSize Control does the rest.
Administrators benefit from LifeSize Control 4.0 thanks to its ability to integrate seamlessly into Microsoft Active Directory structures. It requires no patches on the Microsoft Exchange server and no Microsoft Outlook plug-ins for end users. Users will find that adding video resources is as easy as adding a new mailbox.
“We architected LifeSize Control with the same design philosophy as our HD video communications systems: deliver a superior quality of experience, unique flexibility and unmatched price performance,” added Malloy. “By making it easy for both administrators and end users, LifeSize Control delivers increased system usage, better ROI and higher user satisfaction, resulting in lower travel costs, better communication, increased productivity and faster decision cycles.”
The LifeSize Control 4.0 dashboard provides real-time status of five key tracking categories required by video network administrators: device inventory, system upgrades, call history, alarms and call status are displayed for administrators to assess and manage their video network.
Some of the other LifeSize Control 4.0 features include:
-- Improved MCU management
-- Enhanced resource management
-- Remote call monitoring with still image snapshots
-- Scheduled remote software upgrades and system provisioning for LifeSize HD video communications systems
-- Management of LifeSize Networker gateway for IP to ISDN calls
LifeSize Control 4.0 also has added enhancements, including:
--  New layouts and templates in the user interface enabling simple system configuration.
-- Enhanced Web control administrator for configuration of Control settings.
--Improved call detail report engine that allows administrators to compile call statistics which can be used to monitor usage, calculate ROI, plan network expansion and document carbon footprint reductions through travel avoidance.
-- New language support for Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
As a cost-effective software solution, LifeSize Control is ideal for both a large enterprise and small business. There are no hidden costs and no additional software to purchase. LifeSize Control provides system administrators with robust management tools that capitalize on the value of any investment and allow for future network expansion as video use increases.
LifeSize Control is now available for purchase and can be evaluated with a free 30-day demonstration license supporting up to 500 devices. LifeSize Control software licenses can be obtained for $249 per managed device (US MSRP for 50+ devices).

Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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