Huddle room cameras have a Goldilocks Problem. Traditional VC systems are too big (in cost), and webcams are too small (in field of view and features). The VDO360 Compass is designed to be “just right” for these collaboration spaces. It certainly hits all the obvious checkmarks, as it is priced at $1,149.00 with up to 1080p/30 resolution support, offering full pan, tilt, zoom functionality, and “CEO Proof” ease of use.
VDO360 Unboxing Photos (click to expand)
Perhaps one of the best things about the VDO360 is that this review will not need to be very long. The days of having to review proprietary cabling and custom software are ending. It simply worked like every other USB peripheral attached to my computer.
Installation and Set-Up
I plugged it in and connected the USB cable to my computer. There was no set up process, download or installs. I opened up a few video programs and the VDO360 was listed as an option in the settings menu of each one (such as Videxio’s Chrome WebRTC, shown above), and worked when selected.
While I often focus on the design in terms of usability, appearance is certainly important as well. We want cool looking devices in our meeting rooms. Appearance is particularly important when it comes to cameras. While I think people are, in general, much more comfortable on video then they were a generation ago, we can’t deny that cameras can still have an effect on people’s behavior. The VDO360 does a good job of minimizing this effect by making the camera “cute” and almost anthropomorphized. When I briefed with Dan Freeman and Chip Manning from the VDO360 team, they refer to their camera as “that little guy” and its easy to see why. It looks like something in a Pixar movie.
The camera can be controlled (pan, tilt, zoom, video mute, presets) in three ways:
- RS-232 Control: For rooms with Crestron, AMX or similar control panels or systems.
- UVC over USB: This allows the camera to be controlled by a desktop program, and perhaps more importantly enables Far End Camera Control (if supported by your VC software).
- Remote Control: The VDO360 remote is notable for its usability. An overly complicated remote can hinder adoption. With a remote this friendly, even a novice user should be comfortable picking it up to adjust the camera view and improve the overall experience.
By significantly reducing the intall, setup, and IT support requirements, the VDO360 can be the key ingredient for the new DIY huddle room VC receipe, along with; an appropriately sized monitor, a quality sound system, a capable PC supported by a business quality interop VC platform, and some best practices. Like any good recipe, you can’t just throw the ingredients together and hope for ideal results. There are a number of integrator resources and experts available to help design a space that doesn’t just fit the room, but fits your user’s needs. But at the end of the day, the flexibility of an affordable USB pan/tilt/zoom camera opens up a lot of possibilities.