Conference calls don’t always suffice for getting business done. It’s great to get multiple parties on the phone sharing ideas and collaborating on a common goal, but sometimes you need visual aids like charts, graphs, or PowerPoint presentations, and a higher level of communication that can only be achieved face to face. However, in an increasingly global business market, companies tend to have sites and branch offices scattered to all ends of the Earth. Gathering a team together for a face to face meeting can be exorbitantly costly. The airfare, hotel, rental car, and other travel expenses for each person, combined with the lost productivity during the travel time to and from the location all impact the bottom line and make such meetings cost-prohibitive in many cases.
Microsoft has introduced a new tool that may revolutionize those face to face meetings- Roundtable. Roundtable is a webcam on steroids. It captures a panoramic view of all participants sitting around the device and transmits the video feed for others across the campus or around the world to experience as if they were sitting at the table. It also tracks the active speaker in real-time and automatically switches to displaying the individual that is currently speaking. For more details about the product, and a look at how well it worked during testing, take a look at Review: Video Comes Around, from ChannelWeb.