World’s first 180° panoramic 4K plug-and-play video solution

5th December 2019
Anna Flockett

As offices and companies grow and adapt to new situations and as society increasingly changes, products and solutions designed for these companies and work spaces need to change and adapt. A number of products are out there on the market to try and help companies, large and small, to adapt to environments where offices and meeting rooms need to be shared and need to be adaptable, but Jabra have just developed the product that will arguably revolutionise this space.

The Jabra Panacast was recently unveiled as the world’s first 180° panoramic 4K plug-and-play video solution, which essentially creates an environment perfect for people working together in meetings, no matter whereabouts in the world they are and allowing more people to be involved.

James Spencer, Business Development Director in Video, explained Jabra are taking the next step in supporting collaboration trends with video. “Collaboration between smart people will grow as work complexity grows exponentially.”

One of the key new elements coming into working environments includes the move to Huddle Spaces, which Jabra describe as ‘a smarter way of using space and teams to create greater collaboration and productivity.’ There used to be a much bigger need for bigger meeting rooms, but now it has completely swapped - companies are using smaller rooms for smaller teams that are often much more spread out, either around the country or around the world.

The world is changing, that is clear, as team collaboration is on the rise. Neil Dunn, Managing Director of Jabra EMEA North, offered some statistics to show how much the world is changing, and how rapidly. He said: “80% of employee time is spent collaborating, 72% of employees will be working remotely by 2020, and most surprisingly 62% of people have one to two meetings per day at least.”

Office designs are changing, and now 73% of meetings involve two to four people. However, 53% of conference rooms are built for meetings of seven or more people – what a waste of space. The office spaces that exist need to adapt, and 93% of employees believe open office environments need more huddle space.

Having enough huddle rooms is not just the only problem, often when there are huddle rooms in office spaces, only 13% of them are equipped with the video technology that is required.

Collaboration productivity is challenged from two angles ‘challenges’; such as team work and officer design, and ‘enablers’; such as new ways of working, technology, turning large rooms to smaller rooms, and open office changing into zones. But one clear solution for this is video.

Spencer explained that video makes meetings better. “As they say, seeing really is understanding. Video conferencing is part of getting collaboration productivity back on track, as with video you can see people’s reactions, and judge where to go with the conversation.”

Jabra actually found that 94% of video users had better productivity, and that is why for the past few years, they have been working on and developing the Jabra Panacast. Solving a collaboration challenge is not new to Jabra, it is almost becoming second nature, and the Panacast is just the latest in this string of tools to help.

Aurangzeb Khan, Senior Vice President of Video Collaboration, expressed that so many companies have people working remotely and having meetings from many different places, so video conferencing is crucial. He said: “But often the normal cameras only offer tunnel vision, which doesn’t give you real vision, so therefore we have added multiple cameras to one device, which are all in real-time. We were solving the problem for ourselves as we did video meetings, but found that actually many people also had the same problem.”

Collaboration zone complements concentration zone

In the concentration zone, for example, in open offices, the problem is noise and the solution Jabra provided were headsets designed to allow people to focus on complex tasks. Now the collaboration zone is up and coming and huddle rooms are on the rise, the problem here is team inclusion in the huddle room. Jabra has again provided the solution with Panacast by humanising team collaboration.

Khan explained further: “Huddle room video conferencing is booming and is expected to grow from 8.1% to 70% of all video conferencing room meetings by 2022. But it’s not just about video, it’s about video, audio, AI and data.”

What makes it so ideal for huddle rooms?

Khan added: “Video is an essential ingredient, but not the only one. Video helps you be in the moment and work without being distracted - the Jabra Panacast works with real-time immersive intelligent vision, which makes it so effective.”

In terms of video, the Panacast includes three cameras working as one, with 13MP each. Real-time stitching makes the video smooth, and a 180° lens with geometric fidelity and without scale distortion, ensures that no one on the end looks a funny shape.

The vision processor is programmable, with 300MPs, and includes a patented core IP, and nine processors in total. The intelligent vision feature includes 180° AI sensing, so it knows when someone leaves or enters the room and adjusts the picture accordingly. The AI and API data is all in real-time also.

Finally, the plug-and-play feature means it works with all leading apps and is open for integration – which means it is easy to use, and you will not waste half the meeting time trying to set up complicated equipment. Also, it is Microsoft Teams certified, which is handy as many companies are moving onto this platform.

Khan explained: “Jabra Panacast combined with the Jabra Speak is the ideal combination for huddle rooms, as it delivers naturally inclusive experiences, with a great view of the room where you can view everyone to see if they are engaged, or you have lost them. This is so much better than other cameras, even the wide lens ones.”

Jabra Panacast provides value for huddle rooms and uses 100% of the space.

Research has found that 33% of millennials prefer to work in collaborative spaces, so with the aid of Panacast this preference is made so much easier, convenient and more likely to be an option.

Video doesn’t just help people work better together, but help in building up trust. Stephen Covey wrote in ‘The Speed of Trust’: “Trust always affects two outcomes, speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed will also go down and costs will go up. When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs will go down. It’s that simple, that real and that predictable.”

Providing inclusion, and including everyone in the room and across the world in the meeting helps to build up that trust, and allows everyone to focus on what truly matters, as the Panacast autonomously optimises the experience and adjusts the camera. For example, if people leave the room and your left one-on-one the camera adjusts so it gives a more personal feel. Plus, real-time data ensures the device is ready for the future.

The intelligent audio solutions from Jabra let you hear more, do more, and be more. Nigel Dunn, Managing Director of Jabra EMEA North, explained Jabra is part of the Danish company GN Group (the Great Northern Telegraph Company), and from the very beginning had the same aim and purpose as the company does now, to ‘transform communication in new and innovative ways,’ which is a perfect definition for the Panacast.

With the Panacast, its intelligent vision enhances collaboration in a number of ways as discussed, and another is the multi-exposure high-dynamic range (HDR) feature that will autonomously pick up on whiteboards in the room, zoom in and display on another screen in the meeting. Khan explained: “It will extract and correctly present the whiteboard - we worked with Intel on this autonomous zooming features - they invested early in the Panacast journey.”

Speaking one-on-one with Dunn and Khan, they explained the product was officially launched back in August this year, and there was around 1,600 devices currently in use. Dunn stated: “Jabra have seen a steep growth in the past three years, we have had a good growth phase, and this product is strategically one of the most important things we will do. It is an interesting market for us, and I cannot stress enough how important team collaboration and video is.”

They explained they have tried to make every element of the Panacast as simple easy for the user as possible so with the plug-and-play feature your computer or system will remember the device - when you plug it in it will automatically come up set up and ready to go. Khan stated: “It can be used for a number of things, it isn’t restricted to meetings and office use. We have seen people live streaming with it, and had people use it for a Facebook live. Also, we have seen it used in self-driving autonomous cars and robots – just for experimental use.”

There is a market for its consumer use too, the product is a lot smaller than you imagine, with a clip on the back or a fixing, so you can attach it to the wall in a meeting room. Dunn said: “Essentially it’s just bringing a new and fresh view to the market.”

Overall, with the changing nature of meetings and the work environment as a whole, we will soon see huddle rooms exploding, in a positive way to help us, and Jabra has developed a tool to help the huddle rooms. Dunn commented: “Communication is more than just sound, you need video – for trust, which leads to an increase in productivity, and lower cost. Employees want better collaboration and its becoming the core of the business.”

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