“PanaCast 2 is a cost effective solution given the quality of manufacture and the meeting experience it provides. The visual quality is excellent, and the interface is intuitive, so there’s no learning curve. It’s truly the next best thing to being there.”
– Benedikt Engler, Global Procurement

Leica-use-case

New Camera’s 180º Field-Of-View Gives Remote Participants “A Seat At The Table”

If your company is into teamwork – and who isn’t? – the Leica Geosystems story is must-read material. Leica Geosystems has more than 4,500 employees in 46 countries, and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world with headquarters in Switzerland. Teamwork and collaboration can’t work for the global leader in measurement technology without quality communication – over long distances and in settings that range from huddle rooms to board rooms.

The company’s business is all about capturing, modeling and visualizing 3D spatial information, so it’s no surprise that the visual experience was a big factor in choosing the right video solution for remote collaboration.

Leica Geosystems looked at all the options, and chose the PanaCast® 2 video camera from Altia Systems. Why? Exceptionally natural human visual quality, USB Plug-and-Play compatibility with their existing conferencing software…and ease of use.

Visual Quality

Leica Geosystems wanted to show the whole meeting room, including all the participants, the white board and maybe other display materials as well. The PanaCast 2 video camera is a perfect match, given its unique 180º panoramic field of view and Panoramic-4K resolution (3840 x 1080). It has a 32 x 9 aspect ratio that’s pretty much like the human eye, with no fisheye distortion.

The End of Annoying Mechanical PTZ

Leica Geosystems had achieved its goal with the selection of the PanaCast 2 camera. But, the company wanted to go further, and make the meetings even more immersive. They wanted people to actually see the details on the white board, and be able to read facial expressions as well.

That’s not a given. Conventional video conferencing cameras have a narrow field-of-view and use mechanical PTZ (Pan, Tilt and Zoom) to try and overcome this limitation. Users (or software) need to rotate or tilt the single camera physically to see what they are interested in, or zoom in with mechanical lens rotation/movement. This creates delay and is noisy and distracting, taking away from the main purpose of the meeting of helping people work with each other in a seamless and natural way.

The Leica Geosystems team wanted the richer experience and higher level of control you get with PTZ, but without the hassle. It turns out, as the old saying goes; “There’s an app for that.” The PanaCast ePTZ software app takes a unique approach to this problem; participants can use multi-touch controls on the host computer to digitally pan, tilt and zoom (4X) within the PanaCast 2 video stream. In other words, they can “look around” the room to focus attention on specific participants, or focus in on the whiteboard or speaker, to guide the discussion with no noise or delay. They can also use presets to smoothly transition the video from speaker to speaker or content, as they like, immediately and directly. It draws meeting participants in, helping them engage as if they were there at the table, which is of course the whole point.

Benedikt Engler from the global procurement department at Leica Geosystems agrees. Summing up his decision to purchase PanaCast 2, he said, “PanaCast 2 is a cost effective solution given the quality of manufacture and the meeting experience it provides. The visual quality is excellent, and the interface is intuitive, so there’s no learning curve. It’s truly the next best thing to being there.”