Practically everyone has a webcam. But what are your options when a fixed webcam simply isn’t good enough? For example, how to adequately service a small meeting room? What some would call a “Huddle Room.”
It was around a year ago that went on the hunt for a USB 3.0 webcam, only to find that they were essentially nonexistent. In my quest what I discovered was a range of products beyond the familiar consumer webcams. These are serious webcams for business, offered by companies like VDO360.
That companies’ initial product, the VPTZH-01 HD USB PTZ Video Camera, was novel for its VISCA compatible pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) capability. It was introduced at around $1399, a price that was heralded as a breakthrough at the time. Award-winning in fact. The current street price, as exemplified by Amazon, seems to be $999.
The VPTZH-01 HD USB PTZ Video Camera is a USB 2.0 connected device, with all that entails. The sensor is capable of delivering images up to 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p.) Most applications will only manage to access a 1280 x 720 pixel (720p) stream since they are taking uncompressed frames from the camera.
Applications that are sophisticated enough to setup the camera to deliver a stream of MJPEG compressed images will be able to get full 1080p quality for the effort. The MJPEG compression overcomes the bandwidth constraint of the USB 2.0 connection to the host computer.
“The code, the code, my kingdom for the code!” – Richard III
My apologies to Will Shakespeare but I find myself thinking this way about Logitech’s BCC950 Conference Cam. You may remember it from when it was featured in a VUC session back in November of 2012. At that time the BCC950 was newly released but I managed to buy one to have some experience with it for the occasion of their appearance.
Since then it’s been a fixture on my desk. in fact, I find a lot to like about the BCC950. It’s long stem puts the camera at a nice height so that it’s gaze is not looking up or down at me. In that regard it’s actually better than the Logitech C920 webcam sitting on top of my monitor, although both create fine quality video streams for UC or vodcasting applications.
What it lacked was any kind of integration of its pan, tilt, zoom control with application code for any common soft client. I’m told that one of the enterprise video conference clients (Vidyo?) has included far-end camera control that was aware of the BCC950.