Portable video conference solution - The Owl

The Owl is a portable video conference solution for the hybrid and mobile classroom.

The Owl

With "MeetingOwl3", you can create a dynamic and engaging atmosphere in the hybrid classroom. It combines video from a high-resolution 360-degree camera with a 360-degree microphone setup and speakers, allowing you to move and interact freely in the classroom while still maintaining the attention of the online participants.

Photo: Samuel Lundberg.

Using the Owl is straightforward and the interface for settings is optional, so even for those with limited technical experience. It can be connected directly to the computer via USB and used as a standalone solution straight out of the box - just plug in mains and USB and select the device as both camera, mic and speakers in Zoom or Teams. 

It's compact enough to fit in backpack but does require access to mains power to function. It serves excellently as a solution for breakout rooms in hybrid events and conferences. 

Key take home messages

  • The Owl is primarily recommended for smaller groups and meeting rooms.
  • Two units can be paired for use in smaller lecture halls and as a cost effective BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) solution.
  • Combines 360-degree video, microphones and speakers into one portable unit.
  • It can automatically pan, zoom and focus on the active and last active speakers, enhancing the remote learning experience. 
  • Always on panoramic view of the whole room, facilitating online participants sense of the whole group.
  • It connects to a Windows or Mac computer via USB and can be used as a standalone hybrid solution.
  • Available for purchase on the Wisum e-commerce platform.

Drawbacks

  • Even though the camera has a high resolution, the results in the AI generated boxes are not very high-resolution due to digital zoom.
  • Due to technical reasons in design, it lacks optical zoom, making it harder to see participants further away in the room due to varying lighting conditions in field of depth.
  • The speakers are powerful and reproduces all incoming audio, but it has low resolution and is not suitable for music or high dynamic range audio.
  • The microphones are strong and pick up everything in the room, to the extent that paper and pens can be heard more than the actual speakers sometimes.
  • The microphones are sensitive to echo and room noise - the Owl does not yet have the echo cancellation we have become accustomed to today.
  • It does not have a built-in battery, so the user is dependent on functioning mains power to use it.

Purpose at KI

Considering the price, it is primarily suitable for shared spaces and recurring events such as dissertations and interviews.

It can be used in education as a backup for occasions when installed AV is not functioning and for spaces without installed AV.

See video review of The Owl.

Contact

There's an opportunity to experiment with The Owl in Meeting Room 264 and to visit UoL for a demonstration (both at ANA10, Campus Flemingsberg). 

Educational technologists at UoL can provide support and guidance for integrating MeetingOwl 3 into teaching contexts. Please contact Samuel Lundberg.

Photo: Samuel Lundberg.

Background

At Karolinska Institutet, we recognise the importance of effectively communicating and engaging our students, especially in the increasingly common digital learning environment. A product that can be of great assistance in this context is the "MeetingOwl 3," which we affectionately refer to as "The Owl." The Owl is particularly suitable for smaller groups and meeting rooms, and two owls can be paired to effectively cover a smaller lecture hall (professional installation by a carpenter is required).

While teaching or conducting meetings, you can take advantage of MeetingOwl 3's ability to automatically pan and zoom (virtually) to focus on the speaker. At the same time, it also displays a panoramic view of the entire room, showing how everyone is positioned in relation to each other and capturing reactions and body language in the room. This creates a natural and participatory experience for everyone, regardless of their location. Additionally, it captures audio clearly, ensuring that all voices are heard crisply and clearly.

SL
Content reviewer:
20-05-2024