Imago ScanSource is Europe’s leading distributor of videoconferencing and collaboration technologies. They have just announced innovative bundles that enable immersive telepresence videoconferencing in regular conference rooms at revolutionary price points. They are billing i-Kandy as “Immersive Telepresence at video conferencing prices”
“We introduced Array Telepresence to the UK market last year, and its ability to upgrade video conferencing endpoints to immersive telepresence at a fraction of the costs usually associated with high-end systems, has proven very popular,” said James Vickerage, Vice President for the UK and Ireland at Imago ScanSource. “With the launch of i-Kandy, we are taking this a stage further and providing resellers with a ready-made solution that they can offer to their customers to transform their collaboration experiences.”
Imago’s standard i-Kandy bundle combines the Array DX Camera Module and Image Processor with Polycom’s Group 500 Video, Voice, and Collaboration Engine for cost-effective immersive telepresence in regular size conference rooms and boardrooms using dual-displays.
The i-Kandy bundles combine the video, voice, and collaboration engine of the Polycom Group 500 series videoconferencing codec(PDF) with the next-generation immersive imaging system from Array Telepresence which enables life-size immersive telepresence in regular size rooms. It is immersive telepresence at videoconferencing prices that uses less bandwidth and requires a smaller footprint than the split-table approach of 3 screen immersive telepresence systems .
i-Kandy feature an Array DX Camera Module that is concealed at perfect vertical eye-line between dual displays requiring just a 4mm separation
Each camera head of the DX Camera captures half the scene in a room at almost 4K resolution. The Array Equal-i 2S Image Processor sits between the DX camera and the videoconferencing codec where it plugs into the Polycom Group 500 series codec as a camera. The Group 500 series codec does everything that it normally does but the Image Processor improves the scene dramatically before handing it to the Group 500 for the trip across the network.
The 2S Image Processor simultaneously sits between the DX Camera and the Polycom Group 500 series codec and between the codec and the displays to improve both the out-going and in-coming scenes.
The Polycom RealPresence Group 500 Series Videoconferencing Codec
The collaboration engine in i-Kandy is one of the world’s most capable high-definition videoconferencing codecs: The Polycom RealPresence Group 500 series which provides video, voice, and data collaboration capabilities.
Image Improvement / Equal-i-zation and Immersive Everywhere
Equal-i’s Immersive Everywhere capability allows i-Kandy systems to call dual-screen videoconferencing systems and send a dual-screen immersive view even if the other side doesn’t have any Kandy. You can see the difference between the same scene captured using a standard PTZ camera on the lower display.
Immersive Everywhere is a capability that allows i-Kandy end-points to call dual-screen videoconferencing systems without Array’s technology and push out a dual-screen, immersive telepresence experience using the RealPresence Group 500’s 1080p data channel to send the 2nd screen of video. Participants can switch back and forth between sending dual-screen immersive telepresence and Equal-i’s single-screen Video+Content mode (shown below) to share data.
Some of the improvements include:
- Solves the problem of the farthest participants having tiny heads and indecipherable facial features by bringing everyone “up-close-and-personal” and improves the pixel count on the farthest face by 6.5Xs that of a PTZ camera.
- Equal-i-zes the size of the farthest participants to the size of the closest participants
- Conceals the camera which has psychological benefits as to how comfortable many participants feel in video meetings
- Improves the eye-line to perfect vertical which has additional psychological benefits in how participants are perceived
- Improves the format of the meeting to a more desirable “across-the-table” format
- Populates dual-displays using a single codec to create a wide format view that brings in more of the eye’s peripheral vision which is one of the brain’s cues to immersion.
i-Kandy’s Video+Content Improves Data Collaboration and Calls Through MCUs, VMRs, and Desktop Video
i-Kandy’s single-screen mode: Video+Content for sharing data and improving calls going through MCUs, VMRs, and when conferencing with desktop video clients like Polycom’s RealPresence Desktop and Skype4Business. The display at the bottom is showing the same scene using a Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera.
One obvious question: “How do we share data if we are using the 2nd display for immersive telepresence?”
Answer: i-Kandy has a proprietary single-screen mode called Video+Content that delivers a better single screen view than the traditional PTZ camera for sharing data or joining multi-point calls, Video Meeting Rooms (VMRs) or video calls using desktop video clients like Polycom RealPresence Desktop or Skype4Business. With Video+Content you lose life-size proportion but the pixel count on the farthest faces is still increased, the eye-line is brought to perfect vertical, and all the participants are Equal-i-zed to the same size. You can easily switch back & forth between sending dual-screen immersive and Video+Content during a call.
Immersive PTZ – iKandy Improves the Incoming Scene… Even if the other side doesn’t have any Kandy!
An example of i-Kandy’s ability to improve a scene from a remote site using a regular videoconferencing system and a PTZ camera and scale it up across dual-screens to create an immersive view and center/balance the scene. The screen on the bottom shows the exact same scene captured from the same Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera as a comparison
Because i-Kandy’s Equal-i 2S Image Processor sits between the Group 500 codec and displays it has the ability to improve the incoming scene from far-side videoconferencing systems that don’t yet have Equal-i Technology. While the videoconferencing industry has other solutions for trying to solve the problem of the farthest participants having tiny, postage-stamp sized heads those are one-way solutions that don’t do anything for the participants in the room the company has invested in. With i-Kandy’s Immersive PTZ capability the remote scene can be image-improved and scaled across dual-displays lighting up the 2nd display, centering the scene for the participants and creating an immersive view.
With i-Kandy you are improving both the scene being sent and the scene being received simultaneously.
i-Kandy PLUS – Immersive Telepresence PLUS the Polycom Medialign 270 Front System
The i-Kandy PLUS adds the Polycom Medialign 270 front system with dual 70 inch HD displays that will keep everyone in an average-size conference room at life-size proportions. The system also adds powered audio and a host of features that simplify installation and management of the system. It also looks amazing in any conference room.
i-Kandy PLUS combines the Polycom Medialign 270 Front System with the Polycom Group 500 Series Voice, Video, and Collaboration Engine with the Array Telepresence DX Camera Module and 2S Image Processor to enable life-size, immersive telepresence.
The i-Kandy PLUS’s front system features dual 70 inch HD displays and the front panels pop off making all the integrated technology front-serviceable. The abox central AV processor makes almost everything remotely manageable.
The Polycom Medialign components come flat-packed and can be installed quickly without even a screw driver. Each system breaks down to packages weighing less than 150 lbs to fit under the FedEx maximum for air-freight and fits in a standard elevator. Every system is front-serviceable, the cables are color-coded, and amplified audio and two 70 inch HD displays are included.
The abox central AV processor provides system control, signal routing, audio processing and power distribution. End-user control is simplified with Polycom’s RealPresence Touch.
Good News / Bad News / Great News
Because i-Kandy is a new solution in the European market Imago has a phenomenal 2-for-1 deal for systems integrators to get demo kit and for enterprises to set up pilot programs to trial the technology. The price is so good that you need to contact Imago directly. The bad news: i-Kandy is only available in UK, Germany and France for now (but the components can all be purchased separately from Array Resellers and Polycom Resellers)
Great News – Imago is going to be showcasing i-Kandy at their annual showcase of next-generation collaborative technologies: The Business Breakthrough Event at the historic Brewery in Central London on Thursday, May 26th. The event brings together enterprise collaboration managers, Europe’s leading systems integrators, and industry luminaries for great presentations, superb food, and a private trade show in one of the best venues in the City of London.