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PanaCast brings panoramic HD video to conference calls in the palm of your hand for $599 (hands-on)


Video chats have become quite popular these days, whether you're using Facetime, Skype or are attending a Google Hangout. One problem with those platforms is that they provide a limited field of view and that view is static for attendees. PanaCast solves that problem with some unique hardware and software that provides a 200 degree FOV and a virtualized camera for each viewer. Its camera has six imagers, an SoC with dual ARM11 cores and a custom-built multi-imaging video processor (MIVP), along with an Ethernet port and a USB 2.0 port.

The MIVP, with an assist from some custom firmware, stitches all of the input images together to form a single 2700 x 540 video stream. That feed has enterprise-grade encryption and can run at up to 60fps over faster connections, but streams lower framerates over 3G as well. It works over the open internet and streams using a high-speed codec developed by Cavium Networks that needs only 350kb of bandwidth to function. After you're done perusing our gallery below, join us after the break to learn more about how the PanaCast system works.

Gallery: PanaCast panoramic HD video conferencing camera hands-on | 6 Photos

To join a video conference, users need only download the PanaCast app and scan the QR code or tap their phones on the NFC-enabled camera to join. Once you're in, you can swipe from side to side to see the full 200-degree FOV, and navigate among multiple locations if you've joined more than one conference. We briefly got to use PanaCast and found its wide-angle FOV a great improvement over standard video chat experiences. The app's simple and intuitive to use, but the video froze several times on us and was pixelated at times during our brief experience. However, a second demo we witnessed onstage here at DEMO Mobile in SF went smoothly. Currently the app is iOS only, but it was written in Ubuntu Linux, and Android, OSX and Windows 7 and 8 versions are in the works. The camera can be had for $599, and while it's compatible with existing video chat services, it'll cost $19 per month per concurrent user if you want access to PanaCast's cloud platform.

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Revolutionary Panoramic HD Camera
and Cloud-Based Video Communications Service Launches at DEMO Mobile

200° Panoramic Field of View with Real-Time High-Quality Video and HD Audio;
PanaCast Apps Allow Remote Users to Pan & Zoom with a Swipe;
Market Disrupting Price of $599, Works with Skype, Google Hangouts & Enterprise Apps

April 17, 2013 – Cupertino, CA – Altia Systems™ today announced immediate availability and the launch and immediate availability of its first product – the PanaCast™ Experience – for desktop and mobile device multi-point communications.

PanaCast delivers an immersive, real-time 200° panoramic video experience with up to 60 FPS (Frames Per Second) and HD audio to anyone, anywhere, with an Internet connection. Even at 3G wireless speeds, PanaCast enables Panoramic-HD™ video quality and always includes enterprise-level video encryption.

Each remote participant (using the free PanaCast app) can choose their own individual perspective from the stationary camera's real-time panoramic video stream. This is easily accomplished with the swipe of a finger or zooming in and out with a finger pinch/spread.

The PanaCast system is not only fully portable, but also offers unparalleled usability through its integration of both NFC and QR code technology. This makes creating and joining a videoconference session as easy as touching your smartphone to the top of the camera or scanning the QR code.

Altia Systems developed the PanaCast experience through its 3-year stealth engineering of multi-imager processing technology and novel algorithms implemented in custom silicon. The PanaCast experience is created through the integration of the panoramic–HD video camera-server, a real-time Cloud switch fabric and free apps that combine to deliver an optimized and personalized A/V experience over any connection.

The camera works with both Skype® and Google® Hangouts as well as other business applications, or it can be bundled with the cloud-based PanaCast service starting at an introductory price of $19/month per user to achieve the full immersive experience.

PanaCast is available immediately at at an introductory price of $599 (replacing high 5-figure room-bound videoconferencing systems).

PanaCast was shown publicly for the first time at DEMO Mobile 2013 (San Francisco), the launch event exclusively focused on the best new mobile technologies based on design, innovation and market potential.

"The "bring your own device" trend is now a reality in enterprises seeking to achieve new levels of business productivity combined with state-of-the-art infrastructure," said Aurangzeb Khan, CEO and co-founder of Altia Systems. "The launch of the PanaCast experience here at DEMO Mobile proves that disruptive hardware and software combined together can bring amazing new communication capabilities for remote workers collaborating around the world in real-time."

"With PanaCast, Altia is bringing the entire human perceptual field into video conferencing," said DEMO Executive Producer Erick Schonfeld. "It really feels like you are there."

Altia Systems™ is a venture-backed company based in Cupertino, California that has created the PanaCast™ solution. PanaCast™ is a unique experience that enables anyone on desktop or mobile to receive an interactive, real-time panoramic HD 2000 field of view video stream that replicates the human panoramic perspective. Follow @panacast1 on Twitter® for further information.

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