Jan 26 2016

Review: Lifesize Cloud and Lifesize Cloud Amplify

Software offers powerful conferencing features at a reasonable price.

Most video conferencing tools focus on point-to-point communications or assembling small groups in a virtual meeting space. Lifesize Cloud takes this a step further by giving enterprises more control over their meetings and adding tools to make collaboration easier.

The cloud-based video conferencing software enables users to record meeting content and create personal video libraries to share with others through Lifesize Cloud Amplify. Training managers will find this feature particularly useful. Unlike some competing services, Lifesize Cloud Amplify can record content from a variety of endpoints, including Macintosh and Windows desktops, Google Chrome browsers and Android or iOS smartphones and tablets.

Lifesize offers room-based hardware as well, which provides government IT managers with a nice combination of features and choice of devices. This means you can mix cloud-based services with physical video conferencing products.

Many video conferencing services make trade-offs between video and audio call quality and ease of use, but not so with Lifesize, which offers both in abundance. Our test calls experienced excellent video and audio quality.

Cloud's simple pop-up menu enables users to speed-dial favorite numbers, view recent call history or a user directory, launch a text chat window, invite new users to connect and direct-dial someone. Once a task is selected, the menu disappears from the screen, and the conferencing session occupies the entire window.

Lifesize users can direct-dial meeting participants wherever and however they are connected without having to set up special “meet me” rooms or call-in numbers. Unlike systems from other vendors that are exclusively room-based, setup is easy and doesn’t require much on the part of IT managers to integrate the video conferencing service into their enterprise networks.

Systems requirements

Operating Systems: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10; Mac OS X 10.8 or newer
Room Systems Supported: Avaya/Radvision, Cisco Systems and Polycom
Video Protocols: H.264/H.263
Other Supported Endpoints: Google Chrome browsers, Android and iOS smartphones
Number of Participants: Up to 40, depending on subscription