Since the outbreak of COVID-19 remote working has become a normal part of life. The popularity of collaboration tools like Zoom and Skype has rocketed as businesses rush to stay connected with their workforce.
However, while Zoom and other video conferencing tools get all the plaudits for keeping businesses going, powering these interactions is the humble webcam, a device invented in 1991 to keep an eye on coffee levels.
Webcams have evolved considerably since Dr Quentin Stafford-Fraser and Paul Jardetzky invented the first webcam. The best webcams can track movement in real-time for constant focus and capture studio-quality video and sound.
A new breed of webcams has also emerged. These are called ‘video bars’ and they offer greater video and audio quality than webcams. They have bigger camera sensors and better microphones and speakers. You may have seen adverts for Facebook Portal — this is a range of video bars designed for video calling at home.
How webcams enable collaboration
Conference calling has been a part of the business since 1964 when it was introduced by American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The ability to bring boardrooms together fuelled mass adoption.
Today, conference calls over telephone lines are still common, however, video conferences over the internet are becoming the preferred option.
The reason is simple – online meetings over the video are more intimate than voice calls and so they enable a greater degree of collaboration.
Making the most of video meetings
Webcams used to have blurry video and required a separate microphone. Today, all webcams offer clear video with an in-built microphone. This means you can use any modern webcam for video meetings. You don’t need anything fancy.
However, not all webcams are created equal. The best devices for boardrooms and meetings with lots of people are ‘video bars’ and the Poly Studio is a great example of such a device if you want the best experience.
The Poly Studio is a USB video bar that works with any computer. It’s perfect for boardrooms, studios and classrooms.
With the Poly Studio, all you need to do is plug it into your Windows or Mac machine via USB and load your video app of choice. You don’t need to download any software or drivers – it works right out of the box. These apps are supported:
- Microsoft Teams
- Skype for Business
- LogMeIn GoToMeeting
- BlueJeans Network
- Google Hangouts
- Amazon Chime
- Cisco Webex
- Polycom RealPresence Desktop
The Poly Studio offers the best-quality audio and video in its class with a 3.7 m/12 ft microphone pickup range and Poly NoiseBlockAI technology which filters out distracting background noises automatically. It also has Acoustic Fence which keeps voices outside the room from interrupting your calls.
The camera has a 120-degree field of view and records in UHD 2160p (4K) capture resolution. It has a 5x zoom and there are 2 camera presets. The camera is capable of video recording and frame capture.
Most impressive of all, the Poly Studio has automatic people framing and speaker tracking so it tracks movement and talking to ensure laser-sharp autofocus. It’s a true ‘plug-and-play device’ that makes video meetings a piece of cake.
It comes with remote control with 2 AAA batteries and supports Windows 7, 8.1, 10, and MacOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14. Newer versions are also supported.
The Poly Studio can also be used for remote learning. The camera tracking technology lets tutors move freely around the room. It’s a great way to deliver online lessons and it can continue to find a use when students return to school, where it can be used to record lessons and conduct faculty meetings over the internet.