LifeSize Video Added to Switchvox UC Phones

Digium is updating its Switchvox UC business phones to include LifeSize HD video conference capabilities directed at small to midsized businesses. The move adds to evolving channel options amid an upswing in demand for UC video applications.

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Digium’s Switchvox unified communications business phone system now integrates with the LifeSize Express 220 HD video conferencing solution. It’s billed as a cost-effective solution that delivers high-definition quality at the lowest possible bandwidth.

An increasing number of companies are using video conferencing as a way to boost productivity and reduce travel costs. The high price tag of some advanced communications, however, has squeezed out SMBs in search of something more flexible and less expensive.

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The new LifeSize solution option is being targeted toward small work groups, teams or individual workers. Digium reports no additional licensing charges for advanced features, including the ability to interoperate with the LifeSize Express 220 system to support both video and voice.

LifeSize is one several vendors trying to break through in the video conferencing market against the market leaders – Cisco, Avaya, Polycom and Microsoft. Founded on low-cost and efficient HD solutions, LifeSize has been working hard to disrupt the communications and collaboration market with virtualized, easy-to-deploy and affordable packages.

Digium’s Asterisk software is free to the open-source community. Switchvox, its UC communications system based on Asterisk, includes integrated mobility and a customizable interactive Switchboard with click-to-dial calling, CRM and built-in audio conferencing. A range of hardware and software allows resellers to implement VoIP systems or design their own telephony solutions.

“The world is moving to UC, combining many separate applications into a single solution, and one important UC application that business users demand is video,” said Leslie Conway, vice president of global marketing at Digium.

Digium is also a partner of video conferencing competitor Polycom, whose IP phones are commonly deployed with telephony systems based on Asterik. The two companies recently renewed a partnership with a goal of allowing developers to continue creating applications for joint solutions, including management features such as provisioning.

Video solutions, such as Polycom RealPresence video, are expected to be added to the offering and tested for interoperability.

Digium also recently introduced its own family of HD IP phones with an eye on mid-market opportunities among reported enterprise expansions of IP telephony and replacement of earlier deployments.

The new IP phones include Asterisk and Switchvox. The goal, Digium said at the time, is not to be the cheapest phone, but rather provide phone systems that offer the best value for SMBs. Digium also noted its partner model is value-based, not volume-based. This allows for higher margins than other vendors, say execs.

This week’s addition of LifeSize HD video collaboration with Switchvox again delivers more complete solution choices for Digium partners and their customers, with the underlying attraction and flexibility of an open-source system.

With more options for partners to extend the capabilities of UC environments among SMB customers, there’s a better chance to drive greater usability and adoption of collaboration tools.

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