Video conferencing can help organizations break down barriers that hamper collaboration among users at remote locations. It presents a natural setting that encourages interaction and enables workgroups separated even by great distances to be productive without the penalties in time and trouble that often accompany travel.
But good video conferencing technology can be hard to find, especially for mobile devices. Wavy video and choppy audio detract from natural interaction, and even when these issues are addressed, organizations face other challenges to true collaboration. Some form of document or workspace sharing or related capabilities is essential to a productive video conferencing experience. The UVC ClearSea mobile video conferencing solution from LifeSize really gets the job done.
I tested the UVC ClearSea by conducting a video conference with users in two locations. Downloading and installing the software client to my notebook computer couldn’t have been easier; after a couple of clicks, I was connecting with my counterparts.
A poor video conferencing experience can hijack a meeting’s purpose. When users and IT staff members must resolve connectivity issues or wonder what another person said, it’s nearly impossible to work together productively.
But the LifeSize UVC ClearSea performs beautifully. Image quality was uniformly crystal clear, with excellent resolution and frame rate, and interactions among attendees felt natural.
The test also included some limited interactions with shared desktops, which went flawlessly. One of the other users on the call even showed a few slides, with no complications. The solution’s user interface is clean and simple, with numerous conveniences, including a contact list, call history and telephone-like features such as hold, busy and mute.
Why It Works for IT
The LifeSize UVC ClearSea solution provides a high degree of flexibility and convenience — perfect for IT departments that don’t want to spend significant time on administration and support. Adding guest users is easy, as is recording and exporting calls in Windows Media Video format. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine a user who would require much help with this product.
The management console, which includes a variety of status and alert messages, allows system administrators to adjust key parameters with no hassle. For example, if participants experience some choppiness in voice quality, an administrator can solve the problem by adjusting the bandwidth with just a couple of clicks. The system also maintains detailed logs, collecting numerous statistics to assist in resolving issues or evaluating usage.
I tested the product on an installation hosted by LifeSize, but organizations most likely will deploy the product on their own servers. LifeSize UVC ClearSea runs on Linux and can be hosted on a virtual machine, if desired, minimizing hardware and system software costs. Its wide variety of flexible configuration options can accommodate a broad range of networking options. It also supports numerous authentication methodologies, including Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.
While setup and configuration should be straightforward for network professionals, the LifeSize UVC ClearSea isn’t a consumer-grade video conferencing solution; some tuning and maintenance likely will be required. Also, the product is available only as licensed software. LifeSize doesn’t offer a service-only option, making adoption by small organizations potentially complex.