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.
We are delighted that the amazing Jabra PanaCast with avt mezzoCast has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2019AV Awards!
Up against a record 700+ entrants, Jabra PanaCast has been selected as finalist in the Communication Technology of the Year category.
Jabra PanaCast is the latest iteration of the world’s first 180°, 4K, Panoramic, Plug-and-Play video camera that delivers big benefits in the huddle room and classroom where its industry-leading wide-angle view ensures that everyone and everything is visible to the far end.
The camera’s 180° field-of-view allows participants to sit very close to the display/camera without that closeness being apparent to the far end (a trick of the unique triple-camera array technology). The wasted space (needed between legacy cameras and the closest participants) is no longer necessary saving at least 30% of the floorspace.
The Jabra PanaCast intelligent vision system provides a live room occupancy count (even when it’s not streaming). This may be polled via its API.
The Jabra PanaCast camera sees a 180° view of the room. There’s no point in asking a camera with a lesser field of view for a headcount.
avt mezzoCastis a cloud service and middleware application that ingests people count data from each room’s Jabra PanaCast camera and logs it into the cloud allowing reporting of each room’s utilisation data over a period of time.
avt mezzoCast can ensure that the client’s room reservation system accurately reflects the true occupancy status of the meeting room estate. Some organisations report that phantom or ghost meetings can account for over 25% of their total room reservations!
Through software integration with Office 365 and/or Microsoft Exchange (other reservation systems coming), mezzoCast will create, modify and/or delete room reservations allowing users to have a live and accurate view of the availability or otherwise of a room.
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.
Your choice of video room camera is already critical to a great meeting experience. Now, with the advent of artificial intelligence or AI in the room camera, that choice can realise productivity gains, inform on your future room design and maximise floor-space efficiency.
Altia Systems, the developer of PanaCast 2, the world’s first 180° panoramic 4K camera system, has recently announced “Intelligent Vision 2” which radically elevates the video meeting camera from a dumb light-gatherer to an intelligent sensor capable of delivering valuable data about how your rooms are being used.
AI in the Meeting Room – Introducing Intelligent Vision 2.0
TheIntelligent Vision 2.0 suiteis based on cutting-edge AI employing convolutional neural networks (CNN) and machine learning techniques that can analyse the live video and provide on-the-fly information about what the camera is seeing.
Features of Intelligent Vision 2.0
Intelligent Zoom 2.0:Intelligent Zoom 2.0 for the Panacast camera runs in the host PC and delivers significant enhancements over the in-camera capability with a new AI head detector and temporal filtering added. The system automatically zooms in and out on the video frame to include all meeting room participants, so it’s easier to enjoy a more immersive and consistent video conferencing experience.
Advanced Detection:Based on the new AI head detector CNN developed alongside Intel, the PanaCast camera’s advanced detection features can find people in a meeting room from all directions, covering a range of up to 40 feet. The system works perfectly in crowded situations, and the interface engine is optimised to work seamlessly with the Intel Core Processor and Panoramic Video used in the PanaCast camera system.
Why do we need People-Counting?
Room booking systems can monitor the live usage of rooms, detecting no-shows and enabling an empty room to be released back into the available room pool improving availability for users and enhancing room utilisation.
Rooms that are not in use may be powered down to save energy and CO2 emissions
Room system monitoring and management systems can capture utilisation data over time providing insight into room usage patterns and user behaviours. This data can then be used to inform decisions regarding future refits and new builds and to optimise room design and utilisation.
180° Vision means 180° Sensing
PanaCast detects everyone in the room. There’s no point in sending a head count of people that happen to be in the field-of-view of a camera that can only see part of the room.
As the business environment continues to evolve and innovate, we believe that a strong AV system with AI integration could be the key to making everyday conferences more engaging driving utilisation and productivity improvements. For those interested in upgrading their meeting room today, the PanaCast API is free to use and available. Intelligent Zoom 2.0 features and people detection software will be available as free upgrades for your Intelligent Zoom 1.0 package.
Please contact the Intermedia team if you would like to explore options for building commercial systems on the PanaCast API.
Take the first step, fill in the form on our contact page and we’ll be in touch.
We are delighted to announce that PanaCast 2 with Intelligent Vision 2.0 has been shortlisted for Collaboration Product of the Year in the 2018 AV Awards
PanaCast 2 is the world’s first 180° 4K Panoramic Plug-and-Play video camera that delivers big benefits in the huddle room and classroom where its industry-leading field-of-view ensures that everyone and everything is visible at the far end.
Intelligent Vision 2.0 is the latest development from the PanaCast development team. A powerful AI tool, IV2 identifies people in the room and provides a live headcount for third-party applications.
The AV Awards are now in their 20th year and this is the 2nd year that the PanaCast 2 Camera has featured in the final. We narrowly missed out on winning last year, but our hopes are high for a win in 2018.
The AV Awards were established to recognise excellence across the Audio Visual Industry. The aim of the AV Awards is to reward innovation and best practice, whilst encouraging others within the industry to raise standards across the board.
PanaCast 2 – 180° 4K Panoramic Video Camera
PanaCast 2 with Intelligent Zoom has been recognised for providing a new and innovative solution to meeting the challenges created by modern huddle room and classroom deployments where a much wider field-of-view is demanded than can typically be achieved using legacy PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras or low-cost webcams. WIth PanaCast 2, everyone in the room is always in shot with whiteboards or flip-charts being clearly visible thanks to its industry-leading 4K (UHD, 4 megapixel) resolution.
And PanaCast 2 can capture a best-in-class 180° field-of-view without the excessive fisheye-type distortion typically created by single-lens, wide-angle cameras.
Introducing the New Intelligent Vision 2.0 Suite
The Intelligent Vision 2.0 suite is based on cutting-edge AI employing convolutional neural networks (CNN) and machine learning techniques that can analyse the live video and provide on-the-fly information about what the camera is seeing.
Features of the Intelligent Vision Suite
The Intelligent Vision product suite includes:
Intelligent Zoom 2.0: Intelligent Zoom 2.0 for the Panacast camera runs in the host PC and delivers significant enhancements over the in-camera capability with a new AI head detector and temporal filtering added. The system automatically zooms in and out on the video frame to include all meeting room participants, so it’s easier to enjoy a more immersive and consistent video conferencing experience.
Head counting AI (People detection): In-camera detection technology in the PanaCast system is available through the PanaCast API. This allows 3rd party software apps to poll a count of the number of people in the room at any given time.
The key applications for this data are:
Room booking systems may monitor the live usage of rooms, detecting no-shows and enabling an empty room to be released back into the available room pool improving availability for users and enhancing room utilisation.
Rooms that are not in use may be powered down to save energy and CO2 emissions
Room system monitoring and management systems can capture utilisation data over time providing insight into room usage patterns. This data can then be used to inform decisions regarding future refits and new builds and to optimise room design and utilisation.
180° Vision means 180° Sensing
PanaCast detects everyone in the room. There’s no point in sending a head count of people that happen to be in the field-of-view of a camera that can only see part of the room.
Wow, the world is changing and it’s changing at a pace that’s tough to keep up with.
We’re hurtling towards a world of driverless cars, artificial intelligence and greatly enhanced communications that’s going to change the way we work, play and live our lives.
In the future, some jobs (and whole companies) will disappear, new ones will be created and technology will continue to change the way in which most of us do everything.
Can you remember the day’s when a phone was just a phone and you paid for things using something called cash! The fact is that, if your business is going to stay ahead of your competition, then it needs to stay ahead of the curve in terms of communications technology.
One example of this change is in the conference room. It’s time for the 1980s technology of the old pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) camera to be put to its final resting place and to welcome in its successor, the PanaCast 2 Intelligent Vision System.
Watch this short demo of how the PanaCast 2 can help to improve the quality and professionalism of your meetings:
If you want to know more simply call us on +44 (0)1992 878312.
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.
Recent research has discovered that long commutes to work can cause depression, obesity and money worries. The research was undertaken by Vitality Health and its partners – the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer*. They surveyed over 34,000 workers and identified links to health and well-being, obesity, money worries and even depression.
Spending two hours commuting each day is a reality for many workers in the UK, with lots of people travelling much further and longer. The office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that 3.7 million workers travel for two hours or longer every weekday (compared to 2.8 million in 2010). In 2015, the average daily commute lasted 57.1 minutes. Long commutes – particularly into London are blamed on stagnant wages, high property prices and rental costs.
On a positive note, with today’s technology, non-driving commuters can now make the most of the downtime by catching up with work and personal tasks on laptops, smartphones and tablets to and from work.
For commuters who are looking to reduce the amount of time they spend in the office and have negotiated some ‘working from home time’ with their employer but don’t want to miss any important meetings, the revolutionary PanaCast 2 Camera System with Intelligent Zoom is the answer.
The PanaCast 2 camera delivers a professional web meeting and is a class-leading 180° field-of-view ensuring everyone in the room is visible to the far end. The Intelligent Zoom feature automatically adjusts framing to make sure that no participant is ever out-of-shot making it perfect for small/huddle rooms making home-workers feel part of the meeting rather than being just a remote, passive observer.
The PanaCast 2 Camera, is the world’s first 180° 4K plug-and-play video camera for personal and room-based video communications that could help say goodbye to lengthy commutes and in turn improve health and bank balances!
For more details about the fantastic PanaCast 2 Camera, to watch a video of the camera in action or to contact us please click here.
We are really excited to let you know (in case you missed the announcement) that Samsung are now offering their amazing ultra-large, ultra-wide monitor, the CHG90, with a screen size of 49 inches (124.5 cms) and aspect ratio of 32:9 – equivalent to two 16:9 monitors side by side!
This screen, the largest aspect ratio available in the industry, is intended for the gaming community but could be an extremely useful display for the huddle room and could herald the availability of larger, more mainstream 32:9 displays.
Built with Quantum Dot technology, the monitor delivers a billion shades of accurate colour plus support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) providing mind-blowing detail across the total brightness range of the picture. Built very much with high frame-rate video in mind, the curved monitor has super-fast 1ms MPRT (motion picture response time) to add to an unprecedented all-round picture performance.
The PanaCast 2camera, launched in May 2015 by Altia Systems, is the world’s first 180° 4K Panoramic Plug-and-Play camera to deliver video with a natural human perspective and also uses the same 32:9 aspect ratio! The combination of the PanaCast 2 and 32:9 displays promises an affordable, immersive, telepresence-like experience at the desk or in the video meeting room.
The PanaCast 2 with Intelligent Zoom provides a new and innovative solution to meeting the challenges created by modern huddle room and classroom deployments, where a much wider field-of-view is demanded than can typically be achieved using legacy PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras or low-cost webcams. It ensures everyone in the room is always in shot and whiteboards or flip charts are clearly visible thanks to its industry-leading 180° field-of-view and 4K (UHD, 4 megapixel) resolution.
For more information about the groundbreaking PanaCast 2 camera and to see it in action please click here.
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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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