As we approach the end of the year, it’s always fun to evaluate the current landscape and identify what opportunities we can expect in the future. In the first of a series of upcoming blogs, we asked two of Ingram Micro’s in-house UCC experts—Curt Vurpillat and Chad Simon—to discuss hot videoconference camera trends to keep an eye on in 2019.
#1—ePTZ (electronic pan/tilt/zoom)
Cameras that can pan, tilt and zoom can do so in one of two ways—via motors that physically adjust the camera or by digitally altering a static camera to give the desired pan, tilt, zoom effect. ePTZ has some benefits in UCC applications. For instance, because the panning, tilting and zooming aren’t done at the camera level, each user at the conference can manipulate the view as desired. Traditional PTZ cameras allow only one view from the camera. Also, ePTZ cameras provide a faster response. Finally, because the ePTZ is done digitally with software, the cameras are less complex and, therefore, cost less than traditional PTZ cameras.
#2—Intelligent framing/auto tracking
Related to PTZ functionality, intelligent framing and auto tracking are camera features that automatically pans, tilts and zooms the camera to keep meeting attendees in view, even if they move around the room. If a speaker stands to interact with a whiteboard or presentation, the camera will automatically adjust to ensure the speaker is in view. There have been related advancements in audio tracking technology that ensure whoever is speaking is in the field of view.
Camera analytics can be used to count people to provide data on conference room use or the number of participants on a particular conference call. Eventually, facial recognition will identify who was at a meeting for automatic recordkeeping. An additional use case is for security or attendance tracking at schools.
Business use cases are up for debate, but new cameras can now identify and count hundreds of different types of objects in the field of view. One practical application is a new accurate form of people counting that relies on counting the number of heads in a room.
#5—Virtual reality (VR)
On the cutting edge of conferencing lies virtual reality. Videoconferencing already vastly improves interactivity over a regular phone call. Imagine a more immersive experience where it looks as if you’re actually in the same room as the call participants. It’s even possible to include body language and subtle eye movements through VR, which provide a more natural communications experience. The biggest obstacle to VR conferencing today is that people aren’t very interested in wearing a VR headset for an hour-long meeting. Still, experts feel it’s just a matter of time before VR meetings become a reality.