Clear And Telepresent

Clear And Telepresent

NAME: Casey King
COMPANY: LifeSize
TITLE: Chief Technology Officer

BACKGROUND: Beginning at Singer-Link Flight Simulation, the company that invented flight simulation, highlights of King's impressive tech career include a 12-year stint at Apple, where he was an original member of the QuickTime team.

THE CHALLENGE: With HD video products that deliver telepresence quality at the cost of today's standard-definition video products, LifeSize aims to make telepresence affordable and accessible.

SCN: What does your position entail?

Casey King: I've been with LifeSize for more than four years and became the chief technology officer about a year ago. My job is to ensure that our company makes the right technology choices to continue to stay at the leading edge of the video communication market and can deliver the highest performing products at the lowest prices.

SCN: How has your background prepared you for your new role?

CK: I have worked for some great companies prior to LifeSize, and each has broadened my background preparing for the job I have now. Certainly the 12 years at Apple made a huge impact on me. The highlight of my time there was being an original member of the QuickTime team and contributing to that platform for 10 years. I was directly involved in graphics, video, video compression, and audio processing, but I also got appreciation of making complex things simple and the importance of a great user experience.
When you connect the dots, each place I've worked at has been instrumental in what I do today. The best thing, however, is that there is so much still to learn and do.

SCN: What are your goals?

CK: In the not so distant future, I would like to see high-definition video change the way we live and work. We use video every day at LifeSize. Working and communicating over video with co-workers around the world has made me a true believer that this technology can reduce the need to travel, help us pollute less and enjoy more time with our families and less time in airports.

SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?

CK: Keeping at the leading edge of technology on many fronts keeps me busy. Doing video communication well is hard. There is no silver bullet that solves the problem because there are so many disciplines involved: video, audio, networking, user interface design, embedded software, and optics.
Doing HD is even harder. HD is not a minor upgrade from standard definition FCIF video-it's handling 9X the pixels per frame at twice as many frames per second. Trying to "upgrade" an existing architecture is not the best way to handle such a fundamental technology shift.

Fundamentally, LifeSize set out to create an all-HD architecture, starting with a blank sheet of paper and lots of history in the video communication industry. Keeping costs down while handling the enormous computing capacity was a top priority.

LifeSize has ownership of the system "from glass to glass"-we built our own camera, starting with the lens and the HD image sensor. From the camera, we process the pixels directly in our own image processor, a LifeSize chip. So while keeping up with everything keeps me busy, we are free to implement the best solution for every part of the problem.

SCN: Where do you see the telepresence market heading?

CK: We believe that the telepresence experience should not be limited to the boardrooms of the world's richest corporations, but be available to any knowledge worker who needs to communicate and collaborate with remote colleagues. By making HD video products that deliver telepresence quality at the cost of today's standard-definition video products, we are making telepresence affordable and accessible.

SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from LifeSize?

CK: A lot of people are talking about how this all integrates with unified communication architectures and takes advantage of presence technology. It would be great to have a system that knows when and where I can be reached. We'll play in this space, but this will be more of an interoperability activity. Our value is to make great communication devices that eliminate the need to be physically present. If only we could shift time too.

SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from LifSize?