Meet the Meeting Owl Pro, and Owl Labs' Smart Meeting Room ecosystem

Owl Labs’ smart 360-degree meeting room camera, mic array and speaker system gets smarter and supports bigger meeting rooms.

meeting-owl-pro-header.jpg

The Meeting Owl Pro: sharper and louder, to cover bigger meeting rooms.

Image: Owl Labs/Cam Ostman

Owl Labs, maker of the Meeting Owl -- a smart all-in-one 360-degree video conferencing camera, mic array and speaker system -- has launched a more capable successor, the Meeting Owl Pro. Increased processing power and more 'smarts' in the new model will also enable extra functionality to be introduced in the shape of a Smart Meeting Room ecosystem through 2020.

The Meeting Owl is designed to deliver a better video conferencing experience for remote workers interacting with a meeting room full of colleagues or clients. It does this by offering a panoramic view of the meeting room, and locating and focusing on different speakers as they talk.

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Remote workers see a panorama of the Meeting Owl-equipped room, with up to three participants intelligently highlighted.

Image: Owl Labs/Cam Ostman

So what's the new Pro model's USP?

"It's still a 360-degree camera — it's still all about the experience — but it's twice as sharp, with 1080p resolution, and it's also twice as loud. So it essentially covers a greater space," Owl Labs' CEO Frank Weishaupt told ZDNet. "We've also upgraded the Intelligent Attention System [which automatically locates and shows the current speaker] and have upgraded the component parts to give us more potential for the future. We're introducing the Smart Meeting Room as part of the Meeting Owl Pro: that's going to unlock a lot more potential to increase productivity in the conference room," Weishaupt added.

Here are the specs of the Meeting Owl Pro, compared to its predecessor:

Feature

Meeting Owl

Meeting Owl Pro

Camera

360° camera with 720p output resolution

360° camera with 1080p output resolution

Pixel capture

1756 x 1756

3456 x 3456

Processing

Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor (4-core CPU, Adreno 306 GPU)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 605 processor (8-core CPU, Adreno 615 GPU)

Microphones

12-foot radius audio pickup, 8 mics

360° outward-firing three-speaker system (2x louder room sound)

Wi-fi connectivity

WPA & WPA2 networks

WPA & WPA2 networks, MIMO

Computer connection

USB 2.0 plug-and-play

USB 2.0 plug-and-play

Recommended Rooms

Huddle and smaller rooms up to 12ft x 18ft

Medium-sized and large rooms up to 20ft x 20ft

Intelligence

Owl Intelligence System automatically focuses on the person speaking

Owl Intelligence System automatically focuses on the person speaking, plus Smart Zooming functionality

Compatibility

Works with all popular video conferencing software

Works with all popular video conferencing software

Owl Labs' Smart Meeting Room ecosystem

Core product improvements via wi-fi

Enabled for Owl Labs' Smart Meeting Room ecosystem

The first-generation $799/£799 Meeting Owl used a wi-fi connection, set up via a Bluetooth-connected iOS or Android app, to receive firmware updates and send usage and diagnostic data to Owl Labs. Analytics about your meetings was also available via the app, and this aspect is evolving into the Smart Meeting Room ecosystem in the new Pro model.

"In Q1 [2020] we'll be releasing an upgraded analytics package, and we will have the ability to manage a fleet through a customer portal. Later on in the year we'll be introducing other components of the conference room — for example the ability to see a whiteboard as it's being worked on, where the attention system will be able to detect that type of activity," said Weishaupt. "We're incredibly excited about this — it's a natural evolution for us: we have over 20,000 customers with the current version of the Owl, and now we're evolving it to cover greater spaces and do a lot more to increase productivity for our users," he added.

However, users of the original Meeting Owl -- with its lower processing power, resolution and volume -- will not get access to these upcoming smart conferencing room features, resulting in a two-tier product portfolio: Meeting Owl for huddle rooms and other spaces up to 12ft by 18ft, and Meeting Owl Pro, with Smart Zooming functionality, for rooms up to 20ft by 20ft.

The Meeting Owl Pro is available from Owl Labs from today (5 November) for $999.

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