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Lifesize Icon 700 series delivers 4K video conferencing

Lifesize has overhauled its cloud infrastructure to support 4K video conferencing with use of the new Icon 700 series room system.

Lifesize Cloud now supports video and content sharing in 4K ultrahigh definition, a resolution significantly greater than what most web conferencing platforms offer. Businesses can access the 4K video conferencing service by purchasing the newly released Icon 700 camera.

Many cameras on the market today shoot video in 4K resolution. However, the cloud services on which those cameras run -- such as those offered by Zoom and BlueJeans -- often can't stream content of such high quality.

Lifesize overhauled its cloud to run on a microservices architecture that, among other things, makes it possible to support 4K video conferencing with use of the new Icon 700 camera, the first in a line of ultrahigh-definition room systems the vendor plans to release over the next six months.

"4K from cloud to endpoint is a differentiator for Lifesize," said Rob Arnold, analyst at Frost & Sullivan. "Customers should be looking at 4K as a way to future-proof their investments."

Lifesize lets customers link its hardware to the online meetings platforms of other vendors. But, for now, businesses need to subscribe to Lifesize's web conferencing service to stream in 4K resolution. The company said it was working on 4K interoperability with competitors' apps.

The ultrahigh-definition video feed should appeal to businesses in healthcare, engineering and other fields that work with fine levels of detail, Arnold said. A production company, for example, cloud use 4K resolution to more effectively collaborate on an animated movie.

However, when it comes to outfitting conference rooms for online collaboration, video quality is generally not the No. 1 concern of IT professionals.

In a recent Nemertes Research survey of 650 businesses globally, 31.6% of respondents said high-definition video conferencing was vital for their conference rooms. In contrast, 38.1% rated high-quality audio as vital.

Those IT professionals were also more likely to rate high-speed internet, a consistent set of collaboration tools and an abundance of power outlets as vital priorities in their conference rooms than high-definition video feeds.

That may be why Lifesize is selling its Icon 700 series camera at a price only slightly higher than competing models that offer 720p definition. The system costs $7,499, with the cloud service sold separately. The product is "very competitively priced for the functionality provided," Arnold said.

Lifesize is aiming the Icon 700 at larger conference rooms, boardrooms or even auditoriums. The vendor plans to expand the line to include cheaper products for smaller meeting rooms and huddle spaces.  

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