Polycom adds remote camera control to Real Presence Mobile

The company is also opening its video conferencing platform with APIs

A new version of Polycom's Real Presence Mobile software allows users to control a video conferencing camera remotely, the company said Monday. Version 1.3 software will be available this month and adds support for two HTC handsets and Apple's new iPad.

With the software, users can pan, tilt and zoom a compatible remote camera by placing their finger on the phone or tablet's screen and dragging a cursor. Polycom said the software is already in use at Orlando Health, allowing doctors in another location to control a camera to better examine a patient. With previous versions of the software, the doctor had to ask someone in the room with the patient to physically move the camera.

"We announced our mobility platform in October of last year with a big launch at CTIA," said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, chief development officer of Polycom. "Since then we've been continuing to innovate in that space."

The software adds support for the HTC One and HTC Jetstream smartphones in addition to the new iPad. It also runs on older iPads, the iPhone 4S, Motorola Xoom, Droid Xyboard, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1.

Polycom also said Monday that it is publishing a number of APIs (application programming interfaces) to let software developers design custom applications for the Real Presence platform.

"It's all about extending customers' environments, because no two customers are the same," said Ramakrishna. "So, how do you extend their environments to give them the ability to collaborate and be more productive in their environments? That's really the whole premise around the API technologies that we have built."

One developer, Lansdale, Pennsylvania-based ProtonMedia, has used the APIs to embed Polycom video conferencing and whiteboarding into its ProtoSphere virtual 3D world.

The system typically represents individuals on a conference call with avatars, but through the Polycom API it can allow avatar-to-real-person video calls, said Rob Burns, CEO of Proton Media, in an interview.

Burns demonstrated a beta version of the software in which video calls from two colleagues were displayed on a video screen inside a large, open virtual space. Two whiteboards sat alongside the video screen and could display charts and documents dragged from the PC desktop into the virtual world.

The version of ProtoSphere that works with Polycom's platform is expected later this year.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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