Shameless Videoconferencing Plug

Scott Francis
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I’m a big fan of videoconferencing.  As a process guy, It is hard not to look at the time spent traveling (on the plane, going through security, etc) as a “non-value-added activity” as they say in Value Stream world.  But, its also the case that a phone conversation is generally greatly enhanced by video – in terms of quality, content, and focus. Recently I held a videoconference with a few senior members of another company’s staff.  We had never met in person, and travel logistics to get us all into the same city in a reasonable amount of time were not practical.  But we could schedule a teleconference or videoconference about 4 day out that would capture everyone who needed to attend.  I suggested a videoconference, and after a quick followup with their staff, we determined that we could both do IP-dialing (please, if you still use ISDN, get IP videoconferencing enabled!  you are still in the dark ages of connectivity otherwise!) Our system is a LifeSize system, and theirs was Polycom, and they connected seamlessly.  Sadly, we didn’t have high-def videoconferencing because their Polycom system doesn’t support it. Regardless, we had a good productive video conference, and we could finally put faces to names, and see people smiling at jokes.  Sure, you could argue it saved us the travel costs to meet in person. But really, the decision to not travel was made before the videoconference decision was made.  The real benefit was improved communication.  And anyone who has worked with a virtual team will tell you – the quality of communication is the key to success or failure. Given all this, it was a nice surprise to see that Lifesize has released a new desktop version.  I first saw the story on Austin Startup (Lifesize was started in Austin):
LifeSize pioneered HD video communications to enable remote communications as naturally as in-person meetings, and the availability of LifeSize Desktop provides an ideal solution to extend video communications to the individual, often mobile user. LifeSize Desktop delivers HD video decode at 720p, 30 frames per second, in full 16:9 format, as well as HD audio with echo cancellation for productive collaboration. Designed for performance and efficiency, LifeSize Desktop’s low CPU utilization enables HD video calls even with multiple concurrent applications running on the PC. Remote users can easily connect and receive high quality video at any bandwidth, over the corporate VPN or through LifeSize Transit, for secure NAT/Firewall traversal.
Sure sounds good.  You can register for the free trial (and learn more about all the technical specs) here.  Of course, I’m hoping more people will get into the videoconferencing mode because that will mean more people I can connect with virtually! I’ve signed up for the trial, looking forward to giving it a test run soon. Also, if you’re interested in keeping up with the world of videoconferencing, check out their CTO’s blog. If you’re having a call with us, and you have access to videoconferencing, ask us to videocon instead of telecon.  Its great!