When your users walk into a meeting room do their hearts sink at the thought of sharing content from their mobile device?
Would you like to be able to offer them the ability to present their smartphone, tablet or PC content to their colleagues in seconds without cables or hassle?
Would you like to offer them this productivity advantage from anywhere on your premises not just in designated meeting rooms?
No cables from the user’s device to the AV equipment – get your meeting up and running in seconds. Connecting any mobile device is via your enterprise wi-fi or via Huddle Hub One’s optional (secure) wireless access point. No hassle with finding/connecting/touching common cables, wrong sockets, display set to wrong source etc. etc.
Shared Content on All Logged-In Devices – the shared content from the sharer can be streamed back to other participants’ personal devices (PC, Mac, iOS, Android) so you are not relying on everyone having to see the room display (in fact there doesn’t even have to be a display in the room).
No USB dongle required – enterprises regularly disable the USB ports on laptops to guard against data loss plus no problem with lost dongles!
No Client Download Required on PCs or Mac’s – Apps are available for all major platforms but, for PCs, the HHO also supports a superb sharing experience just through your usual browser – no admin rights required.
Simple BYOM Video Calling – the room AV (display, camera, speakerphone, all-in-one USB device etc.) can be connected to the HHO making a BYOM (bring your own meeting) connection to the AV in the room completely wirelessly. The current sharer simply makes a video call using their preferred video client (e.g. MS Teams/SfB, Zoom, Cisco Webex, GotoMeeting etc)
Multi-Session Smart Room Support – the Huddle Hub Enterprise model can support up to six separate and isolated sharing sessions called “Smart Rooms”. So a group of users who need to meet, say, in a room without a Huddle Hub One or for ad-hoc gatherings in casual huddle or rest areas, for example, can grab a Huddle Hub virtual room and immediately start sharing content between their devices.
The pan, tilt and zoom or PTZ electromechanical videoconferencing camera was introduced so far back in the mists of time, almost everyone has forgotten, or never knew, why it was necessary in the first place. Has it had its day?
A quick bit of VC history…..
Viva La Resolution!
Modern video camera resolutions are typically measured in megapixels or millions of pixels. Even smartphone cameras now exceed 33 megapixels but, back in the day, videoconferencing video resolution was limited to about 100,000 pixels (no, really, just 352 x 288) and these had to stretch across large display screens (usually from projectors) so that those seated furthest away could see a usable image. So the video images weren’t great and the rooms had to be carefully designed to get the best from the limited quality.
In order for the far end to make out who was actually speaking, the PTZ camera was introduced so that you could zoom in and devote those 100,000 pixels to the current speaker. Of course, someone had to ensure that the camera was pointing in the right direction at the right time. In other words, someone had to “direct” or operate the camera and, in the days of the half million-pound video room, there was often a technician around tasked to do this.
Want to learn about the modern alternative to three decades old technology? – click on this image of the future, today
When systems became lower cost and more numerous, user interfaces were created to allow the participants to control their own calls and it was at this point that PTZ control really became a pain.
Users were not interested in controlling the camera
Users were not interested in controlling the camera. It was a distraction from the meeting and too demeaning for a senior executive to get involved with the technology. It was also an opportunity to screw up in front of one’s peers when the technology did something unexpected (like focus on the ceiling).
So what did they do? They set the zoom to fully wide and left it there demoting the expensive PTZ to a fixed camera, making it irrelevant and degrading the experience for the far end users – and they are still doing it.
Sure, there were attempts to resolve this using push-to-talk microphones that forced the camera to the current live mike and voice-tracking cameras which were supposed to move automatically to the current speaker. Apart from causing sea-sickness in the viewer from rapidly-tracking images, these voice-tracking cameras were pretty bad at finding the speaker unless the whole room was set up in something akin to an anechoic chamberbecause the audio tracking system would often mistake a reflected audio path as the direction of the speaker and focus on the source of the reflection from, for example, an adjacent wall. Not very helpful and, if an animated discussion broke out with multiple participants speaking at the same time, video pandemonium could ensue.
Move forward 30 years. The big difference is the video resolution of current systems. Most enterprise-grade videoconferencing systems can deliver at least 1920 x 1080 pixels or full HD with some capable of 4K, or Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 or around 8 megapixels).
Add to this the vast improvement in display technology and the early problems around being able to discern who was speaking due to poor resolution have gone; in most rooms, everyone can now be seen clearly so why are we still deploying PTZ cameras? In fact they are now not only redundant, they are becoming a major problem.
This term has been adopted to mean small rooms that have not previously been considered viable for video capability due to cost. Three big factors are coming into play to change things significantly:
User demand: for more video collaboration facilities in the workplace.
Cloud video services: where the large cost of the video network infrastructure is being picked up by a Videoconferencing as a Service (VCaaS) operator and clients need only pay a low subscription fee for access and
Dramatically falling room hardware costs: It’s now possible to deploy professional-quality video into a huddle room for less than $2,000 including a large format display and these costs are continuing to fall.
It’s now possible to deploy video into a huddle room for less than US$2,000
Under pressure from their users for more readily-available visual collaboration facilities, organisations are pressing these Huddle Rooms into video service at a time when the above factors are combining to take away a lot of the pain.
But there is a problem with these legacy PTZs when you start to use small rooms that only seat a few people; the participants are all very close to the display and, consequently, very close to the camera.
Legacy conferencing cameras will not see the closest participants at the table
A typical PTZ camera has a field-of-view (FoV) of just 70-90 degrees. When placed in a small room, this will mean that some of the participants closest to the camera will be partially or completely excluded or it forces everyone to huddle closer than they may have anticipated around the furthest end of the table.
A Modern Solution – No Mechanical PTZ and a 180° Field-of-View
In both the security and conferencing markets (the two biggest markets for PTZ cameras) the trend today is away from electro-mechanical cameras that physically move, toward fixed, high-resolution cameras. This is becoming possible because the resolution of low-cost cameras is becoming so large that the camera can remain static and the panning, tilting and zooming can be achieved by using software to move around the fixed image from the camera sensor.
Jabra has come up with the first new approach to the videoconferencing camera in three decades
The Jabra PanaCast is an industry-leading example of this move towards “soft” PTZs. Jabra has come up with the first new approach to the videoconferencing camera in three decades and it’s both obvious in hindsight and a radical departure.
The Jabra PanaCast camera is three cameras in one with a total native resolution of close to 40 megapixels. This provides a highly detailed image much larger than that needed in a standard video call and can support a lossless zoom of 6 times. Meaning that the soft PTZ action can easily be accomplished within the camera’s captured image without any apparent degradation in the quality received at the far end.
In the PanaCast, Jabra has also produced the world’s first 180° 4K panoramic camera designed to cover the entire room in a single, ultra-high-definition video image.
Now, while wide-angle or wide field-of-view cameras have been around for a long time, unless you spend a huge amount of money on special lenses, they produce significant spacial and radial distortion (the so-called fisheye effect) causing the apparent size of people at the edge of the lens to be exaggerated and adding an unrealistic curve to their image while participants furthest from the camera appear diminutive in comparison. This creates a very unnatural image unsuitable for professional videoconferencing.
Jabra took a different approach. They took three ultra-high-resolution cameras each of a more modest field-of-view and stitched the three images together dynamically in the camera while also adding image correction to produce a single video stream that can cover up to 180° with virtually zero distortion.
The result is a very clear view from even the smallest Huddle Space in which every person, whiteboard or flip-chart is clearly visible within a naturalistic image which belies the closeness of the participants to the camera.
A Typical View from the Jabra PanaCast Camera
Jabra PanaCast’s field-of-view is up to 180 degrees
And, because the image is in high definition, individual viewers or sites can pan and zoom using touch screen devices into the part of the transmitted scene that interests them most without impacting the view of any other site. So, if I want to see the presenter or the whiteboard while you prefer to watch the reaction of others in the room, we can both do so using our own devices with no conflict.
By banishing the PTZ camera to history, one big intimidating factor in the video meeting room may be removed. In these days of self-service visual collaboration, the technology needs to be as transparent to the user as we can make it. The Jabra PanaCast camera is a game-changer in the video meeting room and allows organisations to expand their use of video especially into smaller rooms or Huddle Rooms and, at the same time, delivering a much-improved user experience.
Not the kind of “huddle” experience you had in mind?
The falling cost of hardware and the growth in cloud video services has led to smaller and smaller rooms and spaces being equipped with video collaboration facilities. This trend, referred to as the Huddle Room market by industry analysts, in turn has led to a problem around camera field-of-view (FOV). Standard pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) cameras or low-cost, fixed webcams typically have a FOV of less than 90° which, when deployed in small rooms with the participants close to the display, means that some participants will always be out-of-shot.
The Revolutionary PanaCast 3 Camera
The PanaCast 3 camera meets and overcomes this challenge by employing three horizontal, miniaturised cameras, each with a more modest FOV and stitching these live video streams together in the camera. The resulting UHD (4K) resolution output stream delivers a stunning, natural-looking image of the room.
The ultra-wide view of up to 180° ensures that everyone is in-shot, even in a small group sitting close to the display. Even so, the undistorted view delivered to the far end belies the closeness of the local participants to the camera.
The addition of the Intelligent Zoom feature completes the solution in a novel way. Intelligent Zoom uses advanced in-camera video analytics to detect the faces of participants in the room and frames the transmitted video appropriately for the individual or the group. This framing happens dynamically and automatically and adjusts for people joining or leaving the room in mid-call.
The combination of the wide-angle camera with the Intelligent Zoom feature removes any concern by the local participants about whether or not they are being seen by the far end and greatly enhances the user experience of the video collaboration session at both ends.
Finally, the PanaCast 3 does all of this for around the same price as a standard electro-mechanical PTZ camera.
We are very proud to announce that we won the Collaboration Product of the Year Award at Install Awards UK 2018. Receiving this award was a great boost for Intermedia Communication Solutions and Altia Systems.
Doug Pidduck, Managing Director of Intermedia Communication Solutions said:
“It is great to be given this award and it justifies all the hard work that has gone into the Panacast 2, to make it the best Video and Conferencing Camera in the world. It is great to be working with Altia Systems, and their team of experts, to bring this technology to the UK, Europe and Middle East”.
The Install Technology Excellence Awards are just around the corner, and we’re thrilled to announce that PanaCast 2 with the PanaCast Whiteboard Application has been picked as a finalist for the category of “Collaboration Product of the Year”.The short-listed finalists for the award were revealed on the 26th of April, in preparation for the ceremony taking place on Thursday the 28th of June, in London.
The PanaCast’s small footprint makes it a natural for Huddle Rooms
Previous winners of the Install Awards include Sahara Presentation Systems, Shure and Antycip Simulation.We’re excited to say that we’re competing in one of the newest categories for the Technology Excellence Awards, which focuses on the rising importance of collaboration in the workplace.
The PanaCast 2: A Collaboration Leader
Altia Systems’ PanaCast 2 Intelligent Camera System is the collaborative camera experience that earned its entry as a finalist to the Install Awards category for Collaboration Product of the Year.Ever since Altia came up with the idea for the ultra-wide view camera for meeting rooms, huddle spaces, classrooms and lecture theatres, they’ve been focused on developing state of the art video experiences for organisations in today’s rapidly-evolving communication environment.
PanaCast Whiteboard is an advanced machine intelligence application using state-of-the-art video analytics to detect any type of standard whiteboard or writing wall in the room.The application extracts the image of the whiteboard from the main video feed, corrects for geometric distortion removing any keystone or radial distortion and applies contrast and brightness enhancement to present a perfect image of the whiteboard which it then makes available as shareable content in the video call alongside the main room/presenter view.
In situations where the need is for the far-end to see clearly what is being written on the board or wall, Whiteboard provides an attractive solution compared with costly electronic smart boards especially where the far-end may not have access to a compatible (or any) board equipment.
We’ve entered an era where collaboration is critical to the performance of any company.As remote working grows increasingly popular, it’s crucial for today’s organisations to be able to interact with their employees, clients, and shareholders in an immersive, and fully engaging format.The PanaCast 2 camera supports this vision with 180-degree image coverage, a panoramic 4K resolution and a state-of-the-art human visual perspective that makes everyone feel like they’re right there in the room.
And because PanaCast 2 complies with the industry USB Video Class (UVC) standard, it works seamlessly with your web and video collaboration apps, including Microsoft’s Skype Room Systems, Zoom, BlueJeans Network, Cisco WebEx and many more.
Many HE/FE clients are also successfully using PanaCast 2 for lecture capture with applications like Panopto™.
The Install Awards 2018
For the last 5 years, The Install Awards have recognised and celebrated the contributions made by innovators in the technology space.There are accolades available for single product solutions, as well as product families and complete AV installations.With 18 categories available, the awards focus on drawing attention to some of the most intuitive and thoughtful projects in the technology environment, showcasing the very best that the pro-AV space has to offer.
This year, we’re thrilled to be considered alongside outstanding contributions from brands like Clevertouch, Harman Professional Solutions, Oblong Industries, Vivitek, and ViewSonic Europe.
We’ll See You at the Install Awards!
As EMEA distributor for the PanaCast Product range, Intermedia is thrilled that this state-of-the-art camera system has earned recognition for the part it plays in developing enhanced collaboration experiences for our customers.With this remarkable plug-and-play USB camera and its intelligent applications, we hope to give all organisations the chance to discover the true potential of the huddle room, the lecture theatre or collaborative spaces in general.
Collaboration is key to success in today’s competitive landscape. The easier it is for team members from every background to work seamlessly together in an enhanced collaborative space, the quicker you’ll achieve incredible results with every meeting and conference.
Innovative new technology like Microsoft’s Surface Hub Interactive Touchscreen is making it simpler for organisations to bring the right team together for the most creative brainstorming and meeting sessions possible. Surface Hub allows users to redefine their meeting experience by introducing next-level collaboration where attendees can design, sketch and share their ideas.
The question is can you take your Surface Hub video meeting experience to the next level?
Download our latest tips and ideas guide containing a few key steps that you can take to enhance the video meeting room experience and unlock your team’s true potential.
Download the guide now by filling in your details in the form on our contact page.
Video has risen to the very top of the list as the communication method of choice for the corporate and business environment. As the use of video continues to grow, it is essential that companies build a culture that has bought into this form of communication.
Why build a Video-First Culture?
Looking at communication methods among different age groups, show that 87% of younger respondents would prefer to work for a more “video-enabled” organisation or business rather than one that limits its investment in video conferencing and external and internal meetings.
This tells us that video will continue to gain in popularity as the younger generations work their way up to holding more senior roles.
Future-proof your communication
In case you still need to be convinced, here are a few benefits of video communication:
Choosing to schedule your meetings via a video conferencing platform instead of a traditional conference call can help you develop more meaningful relationships with colleagues, business partners, clients, investors and more.
Video can help to reduce the cost of both time and money in travelling to and from meetings. Your most expensive asset is probably your people. Do you really want them to spend their time stuck in traffic when they should be working productively for you?
Setting up a meeting lightening fast – Using something like Zoom which is low-cost, reliable and secure, with your PanaCast 2 Video Camera, you can set up a meeting and have 10 groups of people spread out all over the world in that meeting in less than 1 minute.
Humanise your interactions:
Video allows participants to pick up the nonverbal cues, that make up to 93% of standard communication.
When using the right technology, video communication has the potential to mimic face-to-face interactions. Seeing someone while they are speaking transforms the nature of the conversation, for the better.
Cut travel costs:
Video calls allow you to schedule regular meetings, internal or external, without having to physically travel to another location. This helps to cut travel costs and time. This enables your business to allocate that budget elsewhere (perhaps for some new video conferencing technology!).
Enable remote work:
Last year, about 43% of management and director level people spent at least part of their time working remotely.
In order to keep all of these remote employees engaged and feeling as though they are part of the team, video communication can be used to coordinate check-ins and to give remote employees the opportunity to have some valuable face time with the rest of the team.
Video communication will continue to rise in the coming years, which makes the case to start building your video-first company culture now.
So, if you are going to use video, why not do it professionally?
Watch this video and see the true value of buying a PanaCast 2 Video Camera. The PanaCast 2 is the world’s first 180° 4K video camera for personal and room-based video communications. It is a plug-and-play device that works with popular enterprise collaboration services such as Skype® for Business and Zoom without requiring any driver or software installs.
The revolutionary PanaCast 2 has many fantastic features including:
An ultra-wide, natural looking field-of-view
Unparalleled visual clarity
180º wide by 54º tall field-of-view with 3840 x 1080 pixels per frame
The ability to greatly reduce the optical distortion
A natural choice for small, so-called Huddle Rooms
No participants remaining out-of-shot
Being able virtually to ‘look around’ the room
Multi-touch gestures on personal devices, creating custom views without disturbing those of other participants.
If you want to find out more about buying the PanaCast 2 Video Camera, then simply click on the link below and gain access to further details and information.
Intermedia Communication Solutions, together with Altia Systems recently hosted a PanaCast Webinar and as we have received lots of great feedback from the people who attended, we have decided to share a recording of the Webinar.
By watching the video you will learn all about the world’s first 180° Panoramic 4k plug-and-play USB video camera, hosted by Steve Mills of Intermedia and demonstrated by Javed Tufail of Altia Systems.
During the Webinar, Javed also demonstrated the new Whiteboard technology which allows people in multiple venues to see your whiteboard live as you write on a separate screen.
He also demonstrated the PanaCast Vivid software. This is a newly-developed real-time HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology which is a fully integrated high-performance engine running in the PanaCast Video Processor.
It automatically and continuously improves video quality under varying light conditions to enhance participants’ collaboration experience.
We would like to thank everyone who joined one of our two recent PanaCast 2 Video Camera webinars. The webinars included a live demonstration of the outstanding PanaCast 2 Video Camera showing how the PanaCast technology can improve your online meetings.
Javed Tufail, Director for Global Sales and Business Development from Altia Systems, did a fantastic job explaining and demonstrating how to use the PanaCast 2 Camera, including the remarkable Intelligent Zoom and PanaCast Whiteboard features which improve the quality, professionalism, and effectiveness of online meetings.
We had lots of great feedback after the webinars from the globally based attendees and many questions from them throughout. For those of you who couldn’t make the webinars we have collated a list of the most popular questions asked below:
Will the PanaCast 2 Camera work in different size rooms?
The PanaCast Camera is perfect for small rooms as well as large rooms, including auditoriums. In fact, it is currently being used by more than 130 universities for both their huddle room deployments and lecture theatres.
Does the whiteboard feature also work with an electronic whiteboard?
Yes, it does. The PanaCast Whiteboard application will capture an image displayed on a smartboard display.
Do I need to download any software for the camera to work with my PC?
There is no need to download any additional software or drivers. The PanaCast 2 Video Camera is UVC compliant and connects to any computer (including Google Chromebook) via standard USB (either USB 2.0 or 3.0) for up to 4K plug-and-play operation. HDMI connection is also possible via an adaptor.
Is it best to have a desk stand or a wall mount?
It depends, but 70% of our sales have been for wall mounts for permanent installation. The desk stand version is useful if you need to move the camera between rooms.
How quickly can I receive a Panacast 2 Video Camera?
We have the cameras and accessories ready in stock in the UK. UK orders will be shipped within 24 hours for next working day delivery. Most European destinations will be reached within 2-3 working days.
How can we purchase a PanaCast 2 Video Camera?
For customers in the USA, cameras may be purchased from Altia Systems. Details can be found by clicking here.
For customers in the UK, Europe, The Middle East and Africa, cameras may be purchased from Intermedia Communication Solutions. Details can be found by clicking here.
Please keep an eye out on our website for further webinars that we will be running in the future.
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"More than 2500 organisations in 38+ countries are using the PanaCast daily to improve their communication and productivity.
Over 200 universities are now adopting the PanaCast for lecture capture and huddle room deployments."
What our clients say!
“(PanaCast 2) is a very different form factor than the usual 1080p camera that we are using elsewhere in the lab. You can see it has no seams and it’s a very good picture quality.”
ScobleFuturist / Rackspace
“PanaCast…actually seems like something that would be both fun and exceedingly useful.”
SeoWriter / TechCrunch
“The actual image captured by the camera when we tried it in a lecture theatre (300+ seat) was perfect. Every seat in the frame, handled the lighting conditions well, good focus, seamlessly stitched. Very impressed.”
Sr. Project Manager of IT & Digital Services / University of Western Sydney
“… a great improvement over standard video chat experiences.” Read article
Editor-in-Chief / Engadget
“The panoramic view allowed me to see all five remote participants at the same time, and the 4k resolution provided great visual detail – allowing me to feel ‘connected’ to everyone in the meeting.”
What Ira M. Weinstein thinks about the PanaCast 2
Senior Analyst & Partner / Wainhouse Research
“We chose the PanaCast 2 video camera because it gives an immersive sense of participation to remote meeting participants. With PanaCast 2, there is no need to squeeze together to get into the scene or waste time panning and zooming like with a typical conference room camera.”
Jolean De KortJolean De Kort
Director Employee Technology / GoDaddy
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