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Array Telepresence Launches in Europe & Imago Scansource Promotes with 2-for-1 Deal
Array Telepresence makes a telepresence imaging system that combines a unique dual-headed camera and image processor that replaces the Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera typically used with videoconferencing codecs. The system is a $15,990 upgrade to an existing dual-screen videoconferencing system.
Each camera head of the DX Camera captures half the scene in a room at almost 4K resolution. The Array Equal-i 2S Image Processor sits between the DX camera and the videoconferencing codec where it plugs into the codec as a camera. The videoconferencing codec does everything that it normally does but the Image Processor improves the scene dramatically before handing it to the codec for the trip across the network.
The 2S Image Processor simultaneously sits between the videoconferencing codec and the displays to improve incoming scenes from remote sites using Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras that don't yet have Array's technology.
Equal-i's New Capabilities Debuted in January at TEAM Polycom
A picture from the Array booth at the TEAM Polycom exhibition showing a live demonstration of Array's new Immersive Everywhere capability that allows videoconferencing systems equipped with Array to call any dual-screen videoconferencing system and send a dual-screen immersive view. The company showed the same scene using a standard PTZ camera in a 2nd live call simultaneously on the display below.
Array debuted new features at TEAM Polycom, the videoconferencing powerhouse's annual partner conference and technology exhibition including a capability called Immersive Everywhere that allows videoconferencing end-points equipped with Equal-i to call dual-screen videoconferencing systems without Array's technology and push out a dual-screen, immersive telepresence experience using the codec's 1080p data channel to send the 2nd screen of video. Participants can switch back and forth between sending dual-screen immersive telepresence and Equal-i's proprietary single-screen Video+Content mode to share data. The single screen Video+Content mode (shown below) offers numerous improvements over the current single-screen pan-tilt-zoom camera predominantly used in videoconferencing today.
The dual-screen immersive telepresence scene and improvements to the human factors of the environment provide numerous improvements over existing pan-tilt-zoom cameras that makes participants more visible, more comfortable, and shares more non-verbal cues and body language during the call. Some of the improvements include:
- Solves the problem of the farthest participants having tiny heads and indecipherable facial features by bringing everyone "up-close-and-personal" and improves the pixel count on the farthest face by 6.5Xs that of a PTZ camera.
- Equal-i-zes the size of the farthest participants to the size of the closest participants
- Conceals the camera which has psychological benefits as to how comfortable many participants feel in video meetings
- Improves the eye-line to perfect vertical which has additional psychological benefits in how participants are perceived
- Improves the format of the meeting to a more desirable "across-the-table" format
- Populates dual-displays using a single codec to create a wide format view that brings in more of the eye's peripheral vision which is one of the brain's cues to immersion.
Array's Video+Content Improves Data Collaboration and Calls Through MCUs, VMRs, and Desktop Video
Another photo from TEAM Polycom showing Array's single-screen mode: Video+Content for sharing data and improving calls going through MCUs, VMRs, and when conferencing with desktop video clients like Zoom and Skype4Business.
So one question that Array gets a lot is: "What happens to my data if we are using the 2nd display for immersive telepresence?" Answer: Equal-i has a proprietary single-screen mode called Video+Content that delivers a better single screen view than a PTZ camera for sharing data or joining multi-point calls, Video Meeting Rooms (VMRs) or video calls using desktop video clients like Zoom, Videxio, FaceMe, VidyoWay, or Skype4Business. With Video+Content you lose lifesize proportion but the pixel count on the farthest faces is still increased, the eye-line is brought to perfect vertical, and all the participants are Equal-i-zed to the same size. You can easily switch back & forth between dual screen immersive and Video+Content during a call.
Equal-i's Unique Capability to Improve the Incoming Scene
Another photo from Array's exhibition at TEAM Polycom demonstrating the ability to improve a scene from a remote site using a Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera and display it on dual-screen to create a wide-format view and center/balance the scene. You will notice that the scene isn't as resolute as the first picture in the article showing Immersive Everywhere and the eye-line isn't "perfect vertical" since this scene is being captured by a PTZ camera mounted in the usual and customary spot.
Because the Equal-i 2S Image Processor sits between the videoconferencing codec and displays it has the ability to improve the incoming scene from videoconferencing systems that don't yet have Equal-i Technology. While the videoconferencing industry has other solutions for trying to solve the problem of the farthest participants having tiny, postage-stamp sized heads those are one-way solutions that don't do anything for the participants in the room the company is investing in. With Array's Immersive PTZ capability the remote scene can be image-improved and scaled across dual-displays lighting up the 2nd display and centering the scene for the participants. With Array you are improving both the scene being sent and the scene being received simultaneously.
Understanding the ROI for the Enterprise
Array offers video program managers and IT executives the ability to significantly improve the ROI of their video investment cost-effectively:
1. Improving the human factors of video meetings improves end-user acceptance and satisfaction which increases usage which improves ROI - The big lesson from telepresence 1.0 ($300,000+ immersive telepresence environments) was that humans have innate expectations with respect to inter-personal communications. Meet these expectations with lifesize participants, across the table format, dedicated network/clear video, spatial acoustics, etc. and you can drive usage dramatically and the improved quality allowed enterprises to use video for important interactions with partners and customers. Array democratizes this capability widely through the enterprise making immersive telepresence possible in smaller spaces, using less bandwidth, and with a better format for the local meeting than the "split table" approach of three-screen immersive environments.
2. Improve how your executives, subject matter experts and "brand" come across when conferencing with customers and partners - As video becomes more pervasive and acceptable in calls between partners and customers Array offers the ability to improve how your executives look making them more visible and improving the eye-line. There have been numerous studies showing good eye-contact is associated with truthfulness, attractiveness, and power. Array's dual-screen approach tracks the widely-adopted industry standard of dual-screen videoconferencing systems for maximum inter-operability.
3. Improves the Amount of Information Transmitted in a Video Call - It has been estimated that 70% of communication is non-verbal which is one of the main reasons why organizations use video and the companies that can afford it invest in $300,000+ rooms. Array makes facial expressions and body language more visible improving the amount of information transmitted during a call.
Planning an Array Pilot in Your Organization - Pro Tips
Since Equal-i is a new technology many organizations are testing the waters with 2-4 site proof-of-concepts. Here are some Pro Tips to get you started:
- Get Executives on-board with a demo - Array can call any dual-screen videoconferencing system with a 1080p data channel and demonstrate Immersive Everywhere, Video+Content, and Immersive PTZ. Array is running a global demonstration event in April (April 4-8th)
- Pick rooms that get a lot of point-to-point use and, ideally, inter-company use so you can gauge feedback from both co-workers and partners/customers as well.
- Check out Array's Room Layout Recommendations to see how Equal-i integrates into 23 different room types with a variety of tables and furniture.
- Array offers a complimentary room design service for systems integrators and prospective enterprises where they will make recommendations on the best possible placement of the table and camera to ensure stand-up capture and perfect vertical eye-line. Simply fill out a 1-page Site Survey with the basics of your videoconferencing room (or planned room) and they will send back CAD drawings showing the optimal scenario.
- Use a Control Panel in the room to simplify switching between Immersive Everywhere and Video+Content. Array has modules for both AMX and Crestron and publishes all the telnet commands needed to control the Image Processor in the Installation Manual.
- If you want to use Immersive Everywhere to call non-Equal-i rooms then you are going to need an HDMI switcher in the room to switch back and forth between sending data OR the 2nd screen of immersive telepresence down the data channel. The wiring diagrams are in the Installation Manual.
- Work with an Array partner. Array has signed up some of the world's leading systems integrators and is working with Imago to find the best in Europe.
Planning a Full Scale Array Deployment - Pro Tips
- Deploying Equal-i in your best and most frequently-used rooms will lift the performance of your entire video estate - Because Equal-i is improving both the scene that is being sent and the scene that is being received if you deploy the system in the top 25-35% of your rooms you will improve the performance of all the rooms that the tier one rooms are conferencing with. Important: If you want to improve calls with partners and customers those rooms will have to have Equal-i installed to make Immersive Everywhere calls.
- Divide the cost over the entire video estate... Not just the rooms that have Array - Because Equal-i is improving the performance of the entire video estate don't look at the cost as $15,990 per room but instead view the investment like you would video infrastructure and divide the cost by the percentage of total rooms upgraded. I.E. If you deploy Array in your top 25% of rooms then the cost averages to $3997 per room since you are improving the performance of all the rooms.
Should have Gone to Array - Imago Scansource's Amazing 2-for-1 Deal
Imago Scansource is Europe's premier distributor of videoconferencing gear and, for a limited time only, is making it easy for systems integrators and enterprise video managers to trial Equal-i Technology with a 2-for-1 offer. Act fast and you and your executives can look fantastic!
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