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Go wall-to-wall with Jabra’s new panoramic 4K webcam

By Raymond Lau - on 27 Sep 2019, 12:10pm

Go wall-to-wall with Jabra’s new panoramic 4K webcam

Jabra is bringing video conferencing to small meeting rooms with its third generation PanaCast – a panoramic 4K video webcam that boasts a 180-degree viewing angle and intelligent software that fixes distortion at the edges in real-time.

Small huddle spaces are increasingly popular in the modern office. They are often touted as much-needed collaboration spaces in open-plan office layouts, yet most do not come equipped with video conferencing solutions.

An example of a tiny huddle room in many modern offices.

This is because most existing webcams on the market simply cannot capture images that are wide enough to cover such a narrow space. Furthermore, cameras that do come with wide-angle lenses will still encounter blind spots in the room, or distort the image so much that people don’t want to use them.

Jabra fixes this problem by using three 13-megapixel cameras to take three separate video images. An onboard processor dubbed the Vision Processor then stitches them together in real-time to produce a panoramic image with minimal distortion.

Before stitching. You can see three distinct videos.

After stitching. One smooth panoramic image with face detection to boot.

The resulting video output is impressive, but what’s even more impressive is the tiny size of the webcam.

The PanaCast is not much bigger than a wallet and can fit easily in the palm of my hand. Bear in mind that the device itself packs three 13-megapixel cameras, stereo microphones, and all the power to stitch and process the distortion of the video input in real-time.

This makes the device versatile enough to be used in a variety of settings, such as in a lecture hall for e-learning purposes or on top of digital signages to measure engagement of passers-by.

The camera sits on a hinged flexible mount that lets you adjust the direction in which it is pointing and place it easily on the top of your monitor or laptop. It can also be attached to any standard tripod, or mounted on the wall. Naturally, Jabra has its own desktop tripod that you can buy for S$78.

 

Software

Software, of course, is critical for what the PanaCast can do.

The PanaCast has plug-and-play capability on the PC, just like any other webcam peripheral. This means that the camera software that comes with your PC or laptop will work flawlessly.

It’s certified for Microsoft Teams and is compatible with all major office collaboration apps like Bluejeans, Cisco Webex, Zoom, and more. Simply plug it into your workstation and it’s ready to go with these apps without any further set-up necessary.

Jabra also has its own accompanying software that you can use to tweak certain settings like brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and white balance. The app also includes some basic AI such as facial recognition and people-counting, which can help organisations.

As for the aforementioned potential usage scenarios such as e-learning and digital signage, developers can tap on the PanaCast API to develop custom software for their specific needs.

 

Pricing and availability

The PanaCast is available now at a recommended price of S$1,389 from all Jabra business partners.

Since this is a product marketed specifically at businesses, you won’t be able to buy it off the shelf as easily as other webcams. Interested parties will have to contact authorised resellers to get it installed and set up for use in their offices.

If you really want to see this in your office, we recommend sending this article to your boss for his consideration!

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