Video conferencing, especially in a work setting, can be a real pain in the ass. But PanaCast, unlike other video conferencing platforms, actually seems like something that would be both fun and exceedingly useful.
PanaCast is a crowdfunded panoramic video conferencing platform that Ross Rubin covered back in December in one of his Backed Or Whacked posts. Ross wholeheartedly backed the project, and since then PanaCast’s Kickstarter blew past its original fundraising goal of $15,000, raising nearly three times that amount.
Today PanaCast will be made available for the public to purchase for what they call a “market disrupting price” of $599 with a monthly subscription fee of $19.99.
What PanaCast offers is a unique panoramic video conferencing experience. It utilizes a special webcam that resembles, as Ross noted, an odd-looking UFO on a tripod. When the webcam is attached to the stand, it seems to be about two feet tall, so it’s fairly portable.
Setting up the webcam is easy. Once you have the PanaCast app open on your iOS device and a cellular or wi-fi connection, you scan in the barcode on top of the webcam to connect to it.
The webcam is composed of six different cameras that have had their feeds synchronized for one 200 degree video image that’s 2700 pixels wide and 540 pixels tall. The image itself is crisp and sharp, without any distortion whatsoever, and you can scroll and zoom to any part of the live video feed inside PanaCast’s iOS app.
From the live demos I was shown by Altia Systems, the company behind PanaCast, it’s also extremely responsive. There wasn’t the slightest bit of lag with scrolling and zooming at all. Within the app, you can also switch between multiple feeds pretty easily.
For now, PanaCast is only compatible with iOS devices. They’re planning on releasing desktop and mobile versions of the PanaCast app on Windows, Mac, and Android sometime in the near future.