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UVC Control Research Sources

UVC Control Research Sources

UVC Camera Control Research Areas

Hello UVC Control Followers!

            In this post we are outlining the main sources for research on the UVC Control protocols from: Mac, Windows, Linux Playstation, and Solaris. Most important for most users are the drivers for Windows and Macintosh operating systems. The majority of users looking for pan tilt and zoom camera controls through UVC (just on USB cable connection to the computer) will be using video conferencing software installed on either a Mac or PC. It’s nice to see other operating systems following suit with support for UVC and we will outline them in this area.

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A new evolution of UVC Control: Camera Presets!

A new evolution of UVC Control: Camera Presets!

 

UVC Control InterfaceThe Interface:

In a nutshell, the PTZOptics UVC Controller is a remote control for your camera that you can access from any computer or device on your internal network. Under the hood you will find access to advanced features such as: a camera manager, web server and preset visualizer which we will talk about in the “advanced features” section below. The top portion of the GUI interface includes a “Home” button along with 8 direction keys, which you can use to control your camera with a mouse, keyboard or USB joystick.  Below the control section you have access to zoom and focus controls along with a camera selection bar. Yes, this software can control up to 8 cameras with one computer! Next, we have control of the presets which include the ability to name presets.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to name presets. Once your presets are named you have a easy to use solution that is easy for others to pick up where you left off. Below the presets is where we have the “PresetVisuallizer” which open the PresetVisualizer and includes the ability to have live video preview and take a room snapshot to use for setting up visual presets. Below the PresetVisualizer we have “Web Control” which allows you to turn on/off your webhosting which allows other computers and smart phones to take camera control. Finally we have SkyPTZ which is a service that allows you to provide far end camera control outside your network. 

The PresetVisualizer:

UVC Camera PTZ Control Visual App

            The best way to grasp how people are using this technology is to look at a few examples of the PresetVisualizer in action. In essence the PresetVisualizer can be used with any photo (ideally the room you are using your camera in) to overlay your preset positions visually. For use in a conference room or distance learning/classroom setting the ability to add headshots with name tags is also available. Once you have your room photo in place and your presets lined up you only have to align your camera presets with the actual corresponding locations and your done.

            Let’s look at the above classroom example. Actual student photos can be used and placed as preset or we can simply mark out the important areas for a distance learning video call. Since we are using a USB camera with UVC control we can assume that we are using a cloud based video conferencing software like Adobe Connect. The PresetVisualizer is our visual layout of the cameras views we will want to use during our video call. One preset is on a SmartBoard, another is on the teachers podium and another is on the classroom full of students. If we have multiple cameras in use we can use select between them in the main panel and use the visualizer to easily select between presets.

            Let’s take the conference room example where we have 8 people sitting around a table on both sides of a video call. The PresetVisualizer can be used to allow users from both sides of the video call to easily select who they want to see on the main screen. This set up works well for telepresence and video conferencing applications.

Advanced Features: 

PresetVisualizer from PTZOptics using UVC Control

            The PTZOptics UVC Control software offers many advanced features that are hidden from view to simplify the interface.  One of the advanced features is WebPTZ Remote Control. This feature allows for Far-end IP control of the PTZOptics cameras from the web browser of any mobile device or computer over any LAN, Wi-Fi, and WAN IP Network. If you would like to provide access to a far-end outside your network we have two options. The first option is free and it allows you to open up your firewall to a outside IP address which will serve up the WebRemote to a far side. The second option is called SkyPTZ which is a service that sets up everything for you without any configuration. Simply give the far end computer (outside your network) the camera name and SkyPTZ will take care of everything else.

Top features:

  • ·      Video Preview
  • ·      Call Camera Presets (This is the world’s first UVC camera that can call presets)
  • ·      Provide Remote PTZ Web Server (Host a IP Address on your network and server a optimized “Web Remote” to users)
  • ·      Provide Far End Camera Control outside your network (Additional Service called SkyPTZ)
  • ·      Name Presets (Handy for complex scenarios and ease of use)
  • ·      Preset-Visualizer (Patented technology for laying out visual previews of camera presets)
  • ·      Pan Tilt Zoom (I know it’s been done before, but worth noting)
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USB 2.0 vs 3.0 vs USB C

USB 2.0 vs 3.0 vs USB C

USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and USB-C

The Universal Serial Bus, or USB for short has been used over the past two decades in devices of all sorts, whether it's used to connect printers, portable storage devices or even modern smartphones, one can find the USB symbol on the connectors of countless household devices even today.

The original USB technology soon got overrun with devices which were interested in using it on a whole new level. A transfer rate of 1.5 Mbps - 12 Mbps for low bandwidth and high bandwidth devices respectively was nowhere enough to satisfy many manufacturers. This lead to a series of upgrades which took place over the last two decades and have brought us better, more efficient and more reliable versions of the USB connector.

Let's take a look and compare some of the more well known versions, the USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and the USB-C.

The USB 2.0

Being an upgrade to the standard USB cable and connector (now called the USB 1.0), USB 2.0 added more bandwidth to satisfy manufacturers who were interested in making large portable storage devices.

The default USB 1.0 was still capable of running input devices such as a keyboard, mouse and various controllers but when it came to storage devices, the time it took to copy data to your USB drive also increased as people started asking for more storage capacity.

To solve all these issues, the USB 2.0 increased the full-bandwidth limit to 480 Mbps theoretically while most modern USB 2.0 devices perform at 280 Mbps (35 MB/s) due to limitations and energy losses. This solved the issue of having to reduce data transfer times as it put the USB connector on-par with most hard drives of the time.

The USB 3.0

Then came another upgrade in 2008, the USB 3.0, further increasing the maximum theoretical bandwidth from 480 Mbps to 4.8 Gbps (400 MB/s is a reasonable realistic speed to achieve provided that the device itself is capable of functioning at that speed).

As USB devices started getting more complex since the introduction of USB 2.0, power requirements also increased for certain devices. Mobile phones, even modern smartphones and other handheld devices currently use the USB ports to charge themselves.

This caused the manufacturers to increase the maximum power output which the USB cable can provide from 500 mA (USB 2.0) to 900 mA (USB 3.0). This additional power makes the USB 3.0 port the preferred option for setting up USB hubs as they'll be able to support and provide power to multiple devices without failing.

Another significant advancement between these two models was the introduction of full-duplex communication, making it possible to both send and receive data at the same time whereas the USB 2.0 worked on a half duplex mechanism.

The USB-C

The USB-C connector looks towards the future and aims to replace all the different USB connectors we see around us in our daily lives. Ranging from the USB-B, a square-shaped large connector for printers, the standard USB-A connectors we use for our computers as well as the various mini connectors used for handheld and smaller devices across the world.

The USB-C itself provides us with a relatively small connector but being small isn't its most important characteristic. The USB-C ends the need to flip your USB connector at least three times before it fits in the slot by being completely reversible, capable of connecting no matter how you align it.

Another advantage is that the small size lets manufacturers use it on devices of all sizes and when it comes to speed itself, the USB Type-C connectors are capable of running at whatever speed it's designed for. Many current connectors run on the USB 2.0 spec but as time goes on, we can be sure to see Type-C connectors which use the USB 3.0 or even USB 3.1 technology, giving us access to transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

And in terms of power, when used these cables are more than capable of carrying 1.5 A to 3 A, making it possible to charge modern notebooks with a USB wire while also supporting the 900 mA power which smartphones and many other devices prefer to have.

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An overview of Wireless USB

An overview of Wireless USB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wireless USB

Wireless USB is the extension of the legendary USB port for wireless applications. Any device which you have and you would like to use wirelessly, say, at some distance or simply to avoid the hassles involved in using a cable; you get a Wireless USB adapter. The technology behind it involves the work of WiMedia Alliance, which developed the radio technology used for transferring data in Wireless USB.

Wireless USB example

Officially known as "Certified Wireless USB", this technology was first introduced back in May 2005. The Wireless Promoter Group consisting of key companies such as Intel, Samsung, HP and so on laid down the primary specifications with contributions by a further 100 more different companies. This project was undertaken in the context of the successes seen by the USB port and widespread application it is enjoying. The transfer protocol used is Ultra-wideband, a technology allowing for transfer rates of up to 400mbps.

To ensure seamless functionality and performance, critical attention has been paid to numerous details including security, architecture, design and transfer rates. The benefits here are innumerable. Space restrictions for portable and smart devices such as smart phones, cameras and tablets will virtually cease to exist. Rather than depending on internal flash memory; these devices can make use of larger, dedicated devices stored in a bag, pocket or in a car for example.

Coming over to usage, rather than having to acquire a wireless version of the devices under your use; Wireless USB functions as a hub as well allowing you to simply plug in your devices to it and enjoy wireless connectivity. According to manufacturer claims; wireless USB can handle and connect up to 127 devices at a single time. You can well imagine what would happen if you had 127 devices or even USB ports for that matter on your desktop PC let alone a laptop. However there are devices directly incorporating the wireless USB standard. The HuddleCam Air is an excellent example of this.

Inspired by the onslaught of issues pertaining to cable management, pre-installation structural changes, tripping hazards and highly dependent solutions; the HuddleCam Air was created using the best in line technology to create for a zero-latency video conferencing experience. A quality camera nowadays is nothing new, but quality combined with wireless is definitely a head turner. The Air model comes in two variants of 72⁰ and 55⁰ angle view lens. Technical specifications include HD resolution, capable of up to 30 FPS, USB 3.0 connectivity, IP streaming, a redesigned network interface and 64 presets. Coming over to compatibility, the camera supports a wide range of conferring platforms such as Cisco, Adobe, Google Hangout, Skype, Lifesize and so on.

All in all; Wireless USB is currently in its infant stage despite the time passed since it was first released. The reason lies in implementation and adaptation by manufacturers. Microsoft, for example, has explicitly stated about how drivers are still in the primary and not even beta stage. Apart from that, wired solutions are not going away any time soon given the noticeable cost and hassle free usage.   

 

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Skype for Business Remote PTZ Control with the Logitech CC3000e

Skype for Business Remote PTZ Control with the Logitech CC3000e

Skype for Business Far End Camera Control Software

Hello USB Pros!

So everyone knows about the new Logitech cc3000e by now right? This has been a great easy to use USB 2.0 video conferencing camera (beside the sub-par speakerphone) for under $1,000! So one thing a lot of people don't know is that the Logitech CC3000e also comes with a free Skype for Business / Microsoft Lync video conferencing plugin that provides the far end with video camera pan tilt zoom controls. Logitech has stated that that both ends do require a "conference cam" meaning either a cc3000e or a bcc950 ptz camera at both ends. Therefore not too many people have actually had a chance to try out this free video conferencing plug-in for skype for business that logitech has made. 

In the video below, Paul Richards, from Conference Room Systems show us the Logitech cc3000e Skype for Business plugin in action using two computers to show remote control over (Microsoft Lync when the video was recorded and posted to YouTube) now Skype for Business. So without further explanation check out this great video of the Logitech cc3000e plug-in in action online using a Windows computer connected to a gigabit network with a 50M up/down network. 

If you have used the logitech cc3000e remote pan tilt zoom plug-in for Skype for Business or Microsoft Lync let us know what you thought! This is a great example of UVC camera control. See our UVC camera control article here: UVC Camera Control and why it is the future? The Logitech cc3000e uses only 1 USB 2.0 cable that comes out of a proprietary USB hub. The webcam and speakerphone include 16' proprietary cables that connect to this USB hub which provides both the camera and speakerphone power. From here the USB hubs can pass UVC control for the camera's Pan Tilt & Zoom operations. No the 16' cables cannot be extended at this time but you can extend the USB 2.0 with a USB 2.0 extension. For more about USB extensions see here: Part 2 - Why USB 3.0 for AV & USB cabling limitations/extensions

Kudos, to Logitech for creating a dynamic plugin for Skype for Business and thanks for reading another post by the USB Pros!

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