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Swivl Joins The Pan/Tilt Tablet Videoconferencing Arena
Last week we covered the Kubi solution, a tablet/phone stand which can controlled by a remote participant. This allows a videocaller to "look around" when calling that tablet/phone. Today we are taking a quick look at the Swivl, a slightly different take on the same basic concept. This is actually the second generation of the Swivl, boasting new support for tablets, DSLR cameras, and android devices (the first generation appears to mainly support iPhones).
The first version was so popular, and the demand to support tablets was so strong, that this next version was a no-brainer for the Swivl team. After one day on Kickstarter they have already reached 1/3rd of their pledge goal. Let's take a quick look at the extra bells and whistles that make the Swivl so interesting.
As we discussed in the Kubi article, the ability to "look around" during videoconferencing adds a lot to the experience. It can be discerning to hear someone talking slightly off camera, and our natural instinct is to turn our head, adjust our view, and look at the person who is speaking. This is why pan/tilt cameras, and far end camera control, are standard on traditional meeting room video systems.
The Swivl has a few additional features that make it even more compelling. I am particularly interested in the wearable "marker" accessory. This small device can hang around your neck on a lanyard, and serves two purposes. First, it is a high quality wireless mic, which is greatly appreciated. Never overlook the importance of good audio. Second, it allows the Swivl to automatically follow you as you walk around the room. Think about using this in a classroom setting, with a professor who likes to wander around and write on the board. Swivl also has the capability for the remote participant to control the view.
The Swivl team certainly seems excited about the reaction to their product. Here they are (below) winning a CES award for innovation. We believe the potential uses for this type of product may be more than initially meets the eye. Photographers can use it with DSLR cameras to remotely take pictures, which opens up a whole realm of creative and artistic uses. Personally, I can't wait to find out what my cat does all day when I am at work.
About the Author
David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their telepresence, videoconferencing, and visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.
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