Mouse maker spends big on video conferencing
Eeeek... how much?
Mouse and peripherals maker Logitech is splashing out $405m in cold, hard cash to buy Texan video conference company LifeSize.
LifeSize offers everything from enormous purpose-built video conference rooms to simple add-on bundles for home workers and small businesses.
It claims most of its kit is "HD-quality" and uses ordinary IP networks, not dedicated lines.
The two firms will combine tech expertise, R&D, manufacturing and supply chain expenses.
But LifeSize will continue to operate as a separate division, headquartered in Texas, under chief executive, and co-founder, Craig Malloy.
Malloy said he hoped the deal would allow the firms to accelerate adoption of the technology by all types of business. LifeSize hopes to bring in about $90m in revenue in 2009.
Video conferencing has long been one of the great disappointments of the tech industry - promising much but delivering little, and charging a fortune for it.
The deal should close in December, subject to the usual regulator and shareholder agreements. The full press release is here.®
HD or not HD?
We put in a LifeSize system here in the UK to speak to our colonial cousins in the US a couple of years ago. It wasn't cheap (£10k each end) but it works pretty well over ADSL though you'd be hard pressed to call it HD quality; having said that, the faster your link, the better it is. The benefit for us was IP meant no need for loads of concurrent international ISDN calls and the reduction in flights over the Atlantic so it's definitely paid for itself. YMMV...
LifeSize kit is...
...all 720p30, with some of it capable of 720p60 and 1080p30. All works over the internet no problems (I've seen it) and you can get 720p30 in as little as 768kbps on the higher end stuff. It's a smart acquisition for Logitech; LifeSize were the first people to market with that kind of technology and they've been growing so fast that they're going to be big players sooner rather than later (they've already overtaken Sony in the marketplace and only Tandberg and Polycom are bigger).
What is meant by HD quality (I dont just mean in this article, but as a standard)? Is there a number to go with it because otherwise it's just meaningless.