Cameras at Infocomm


Let’s look at the video conferencing camera announcements from Infocomm 2018.



Huddly
Huddly announced a partnership with Creston Mercury. I’m not sure exactly what the partnership entails, but the Mercury has a USB camera input so it’s my assumption any USB camera will work. It’s unknown if there are some software/firmware features that makes the Huddly camera more compatible or what. Maybe there is the ability to E-PTZ through the Mercury. Maybe the partnership is sales based.


The Huddly camera now comes in four different colors.


Altia Systems/Panacast
The Panacast camera has a resolution of 5120x1440. The Rave video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmhYGHRxPYY shows the output on an ultrawide monitor and the camera seems incredibly suited for this type of screen. The camera also includes facial detection and the ability to autozoom and frame participants. The main issue I see with this camera is that I can see the camera overlap quite easily. They use three camera heads and software/firmware stitching. The stitched areas have this pinkish effect to them and I can see inconsistencies in the stitch. A casual user may not have this problem though. There is also a significant fish eye due to trying to capture so much scene.


Logitech
Logitech announced RightSense, a technology suite designed for their cameras. This technology automatically frames the participants. Currently, I don’t know if it automatically moves around based on movement (standing up, etc). It also optimizes light balance and color as well as suppresses background noise. It’s not apparent which cameras this tech can be married to other than the new Rally detailed below. The ability to frame people is not currently available per their blog.


Logitech also announced Rally, a modular system for conference rooms. It contains a 4k PTZ camera, modular audio components and the RightSense technology detailed above




HighFive/Dolby

I’m not sure if Dolby designed this camera or if HighFive did.

This camera is 4k that intelligently adjusts to the participants using facial recognition. This camera also has a whiteboard skew feature like Cisco’s IX5000, which in my opinion simply can’t work as the marketing department would like you to believe. Intentionally skewing the whiteboard will result in the participant in from the board appearing incredibly warped.

Another interesting item of note on this page: https://highfive.com/pricing/ is that the product has 360 degree audio capture. I find that odd considering it’s mounted on a display and where do displays typically get mounted? On a wall, thus negating any need for 360 degrees of audio capture. 180 is probably overkill and coning it to variable degrees based on number of participants defined by autoframing would be infinitely better. Harder for the marketing department to describe that though and harder for the engineering department to create.

HighFive also announced Best Buy as being a reseller of their product.



Scintilx
Scintilx showed their intelligent camera that’s geared more toward education than corporate video conferencing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33A0G2m64tQ


HuddleCamHD
HuddleCamHD’s cameras are USB/PTZ based with audio capabilities built in.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WlliaPGqac&t=5s


VDO360
VDO360 recently announced their AutoPilot camera tracking system that constantly moves with the participant. While on the surface it doesn’t appear appropriate for typical video conferencing purposes, it can be useful for instructor led situations or video conferences where there is a constant presenter.

They also showed their Saber (4k), TeamCam and CompassX



1 Beyond
http://1beyond.com/ptz-cameras
They showed an autotracking PTZ camera that uses motion and facial recognition. They also showed their Collaborate AVS switching system via a recorded demo. It’s unsure if this works as good (which is not good at all), better or worse than either Cisco’s Speakertrack or Polycom’s Eagle Eye Director as it wasn’t a live demo.


I found a video on their YouTube page that uses 4 cameras for this switching. Ouch. I hope the cameras have red lights or some other identifier, so you know which one is active. I won’t go into the inappropriate nature of four cameras in odd locations in a room… https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=eVv_EdMSzgw



HELLO/Solaborate

I saw via Twitter that they were displaying their camera but haven’t heard about any product updates or releases yet. I did read on their website that it’s integrated with Amazon’s Alexa. Not sure how I would feel about that integration in a living room with an operational camera involved.


Vaddio
Other than seeing that they were at Infocomm, I’ve not seen any product announcements except for an in-wall box for one of their cameras.

OwlLabs
They are presenting at Infocomm, but I've not yet heard of any new advancements to their product.
https://twitter.com/OwlLabsInc


Polycom
Polycom did not announce any new camera technology at this years’ show.

Cisco
Cisco did not announce any new camera technology at this year’s show.



What you’ll notice are the current trends of facial recognition and participant framing. It’s becoming a standard feature in cameras for video conferencing. Auto-framing technology has been around for a while now and the technology still isn’t that good. Personally, I’m still of the mindset that fixed cameras (or – once you frame it you leave it alone) are much better for a video chat. The constant moving/framing is completely distracting. Less distracting though than a switching camera, but still distracting.

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