Owl Labs Uses 360° Camera, AI in Video Conferencing Device

Meeting Owl provides inclusive experience for remote workers with simultaneous intelligent focus on active speakers and a panoramic view of the room.

Video Conference

Artificial intelligence is not only moving into family rooms and kitchens (Alexa, Google), cars, enterprise applications and mobile devices. It’s also using the internet of things to move into the remote conferencing business.

Boston-based Owl Labs has launched something called the Meeting Owl, a plug-and-play video conferencing product for collaborative teams. It features a 360° camera and intelligent focus, which means that it automatically identifies and focuses on active speakers in the room.

“For years, the collaboration industry was in a plumbing phase, focused more on ensuring that calls connected reliably than on providing an optimal user experience,” said Ira Weinstein, Senior Analyst and Partner at Wainhouse Research and co-author of "Adding Collaboration to the Huddle Room." “The Meeting Owl, however, is all about the user experience, ensuring that all local participants are captured on camera, and that remote participants feel more ‘connected’ to the rest of the people in the meeting.”

What helps the Meeting Owl stand apart in the market is that it optimizes a remote participant's inclusive experience and view. Body language and facial responses of those in the room are captured with intelligent focus on one, two or three active speakers at the same time--in addition to the panoramic view of the entire room.

Key features of the Meeting Owl include:

  • "Face-to-face” experience: The Meeting Owl employs a single 360° lens to create a panoramic view of the room without video stitching. The intelligent speaker focus simultaneously highlights individuals and the interaction throughout the room. Remote participants no longer feel like a fly on the wall, as they often do when using conventional video conferencing systems.
  • Easy to use, all-in-one audio and video device: The 11-inch tall Meeting Owl encapsulates the 360° camera, microphones and speakers into a single USB plug-and-play device. The device is simple to set up and integrates with popular web-enabled video conferencing providers, including Zoom, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans and Skype for Business.
  • Smart technology: The Wi-Fi enabled IoT device is designed to intelligently improve over time. It automatically updates and syncs new features in the background to enhance the remote experience. For power users, the Meeting Owl app provides various capabilities, including manual control of the camera to focus on a particular area of the room.

The Meeting Owl is priced at $799. Go here for more information.

Go here to view a video comparing various videoconferencing options.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...