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It seems that webcams are important after all

For quite a few years I’ve believed that webcams are an important tool in the arsenal of personal communications. I’ve also wondered openly when they would evolve beyond a relatively simplistic state. For example, it took a long time for a USB 3 connected webcam to arrive.

This morning my wife was researching webcams for some of her staff. While she has a long history in broadcast production, she’s currently a public relations and corporate communications professional. Her staff are fielding requests from TV stations seeking to do remote interviews using tools like Skype, Zoom, Webex, etc.

Logitech Streamcam frontal

Since they have existing desktops, they don’t have built-in webcams. She was looking for webcams to add to these existing computers. Off the top of my head I recommended Logitech’s latest, which is known as the StreamCam.

Introduced in February of this year, the StreamCam is a brand new product. Unlike the Brio 4K webcam, reviewed here a while back, it’s USB 3.1 Type-C connected, delivering 1080p60. It’s likely a better solution than Brio 4K for most people.

When used with the Logitech Capture application StreamCam brings some new things to the table:

  • Facial recognition smart focus and exposure to help you look great in every video
  • AI-enabled smart framing so you always remain in view
  • Image stabilization to deliver smooth video

Alas, the Logitech web site show StreamCam as sold out. Amazon doesn’t even have a listing.

In fact, most Logitech webcams are not available. The venerable C920, which was commonly available for around $50, is offered for $181.96. The C930e offered for over $200.

The only webcams available are oddball names.

So it seems that webcams do have an important role to play. It seems that, faced with a new work-from-home reality, World+Dog have bought up all the decent, brand name webcams. Of course, Asian production of such products had been halted.

Incidentally, I’m told that headsets and POE inserters are also in-demand items these days. The need for headsets, like webcams, is driven by increased us of video conferencing/calling at home.

TPLink POE Injecter

The demand for POE inserters is the result of people taking their company-issued desktop IP phone home. At work it would be powered over the network from a company switch. At home, where a POE-capable switch is uncommon, you need an external power supply, which could be something oddball, or a POE inserter.

These are interesting times for observers of SMB communications.

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