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No more business travels for conferences, Microsoft's Roundtable is the alternative

Microsoft eyes future of teleconferencing with RoundTable, a product that is scheduled to debut by mid-2007. RoundTable is a table-top device, not much bigger than a traditional speaker phone at the base. It can be connected to a standard PC to offer synchronized voice and video conferencing. The device creates a 360-degree, panoramic video of side-by-side images of everyone who is taking part in the conference. It tracks the flow of the conversation, so the image and voice of the person who is speaking are spotlighted. People across many locations can attend meetings together virtually. The product which was termed as RingCam would be in market for around $3000

The product is ideal for the two types of conferenced business meetings. First, there’s the meeting with two groups of people in two different conference rooms in different locations. If there’s a RoundTable in each room, the devices will capture a 360-degree view of each, and meld together images of each person on the monitor. Empty spaces around them get discarded. If someone has a PowerPoint or other document to share with the group, it appears on the screen alongside the images of the people.

The second type of meeting is also very common: You have one conference room full of people and several other people who are dialed in from the offices, home or a hotel. The remote attendees can use a RoundTable device or a standard Web cam to include their image in the meeting. If not, they can dial in from a standard phone, and their voice will be added to the session; if they have an online connection, they can see everyone in the conference room. Thus providing businesses an alternative to business trips or expensive conventional audio/video conferencing systems.

The below video is a demonstaration of this product shared via YouTube.. caution: its a bit funny



Whats more all of these meetings or conferences can also be recorded and archived, Check out the below video of a demonstration on a meeting which is recoded by Microsoft Rountable (formerly known as RingCam)

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