If you actually made it all the way through that rather dense post from the other day on what Microsoft is now calling its Unified Communications Platform
, then you probably remember us mentioning a new software package called RoundTable that gives users a panoramic view of all the other participants at the remote end of a web-conference. Well now we've spied the first pics of that 360 degree camera which enables this immersive experience -- developed out of a Microsoft project called RingCam -- thanks to a recent demonstration featuring company employees and sitcom stars engaged in a scripted debate over what to order for lunch. As we saw at the mock meeting, users are able to toggle between viewing the entire remote group or just the active speaker, with RoundTable also allowing the speaker to broadcast documents or PowerPoint slides directly to participants' monitors. Like most of the other hardware and software elements that are part of the new platform, both RoundTable and the complementary cam will be available to business-types sometime during the second quarter of next year.