Guest post by Javed Tufail
Dir. Int’l Sales & Business Development at Altia Systems Inc.

Huddle rooms, those small conference rooms where all the white board sessions happen and actual work gets done are the orphan children of video conferencing solutions. Up until a couple of years ago they were not recognized as places where video collaboration among multiple locations occurred. Dedicated high-end video conferencing rooms or desktop video systems were the focus for IT departments. But high-end rooms are almost impossibly complex to use and desktop systems are plagued with limited video and poor audio.

With the gradual disappearance of overhead projectors and the appearance of large screen displays in huddle rooms, the addition of video to enable remote collaboration is a natural. The opportunity for gains in collaboration and productivity are enormous. The number of huddle rooms that are not video enabled ranges from between 20 million in the US to around 200 million globally.

By their nature, huddle rooms are smaller spaces – a corner in an open workspace, a cubicle or a small to medium sized conference room. Available USB or huddle room cameras do not capture these spaces in their entirety because of the camera’s limited field of view. Participants are often left with making the choice of seeing the whiteboard or the presenter, but not both. Everyone needs to bunch up to be seen, getting in the way of the work at hand.

Some cameras on the market attempt to address this problem by offering mechanical pan and zoom features. Panning presents the viewer with an either/or choice. Users are restricted to seeing only the portion of the room where the camera is “looking”, which minimizes the immersive experience. This means you miss people’s body language and other non-verbal queues in the room. How many times have we heard “Apologies to the folks on the other end who can’t see the white board?”

It is estimated that it takes about 7-9 minutes of every video conference call to get started. Some people give up before even trying. What is needed is an easy to use camera that can see the whole huddle room in one view. Remote participants could then see the whiteboard, the speaker and other participants in the meeting at the same time.

The answer is PanaCast® 2, the world’s first Panoramic-4K video camera. It boasts an 180 degree horizontal and 54 degree vertical field of view. Using technology embedded in 32 filed patents, it synchronizes video from three separate images and dynamically stitches them to form one panoramic video stream delivered to a USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 port on a PC or Mac. Its USB connectivity allows it to work right out of the box with all the popular Unified Video Collaboration (UVC) apps available today such as Microsoft Lync®/Skype for Business™, Skype®, Cisco® WebEx®, Citrix® Go To Meeting®, Google® Hangouts®, Vidyo® to name a few. See the PanaCast 2 product brief here.
A picture is worth a thousand words. The comparison shown below between the PanaCast 2 Panoramic-4K camera and a standard HD webcam explains it all.

 

 

The ability to view the entire huddle room delivers all the benefits of attending the conference call in person, short of actually being there. When you have the whole room laid out in front of you, the need for an annoying pan and zoom mechanical camera goes away. PanaCast, with its panoramic field of view and Panoramic-4K resolution makes huddle room meetings more productive, immersive and meaningful video collaboration experiences. Huddle rooms around the world are waiting to be video enabled – Start doing it with PanaCast.

 

About Javed Tufail:
Javed has over 16 years of industry experience related to unified communications collaboration. In the past Javed held many significant roles at Cisco and Microsoft. He has spoken at various Industry conferences including Cisco Live and Microsoft TechEd both nationally and internationally. He holds CCIE, MCP and VCP certifications currently.