I am not sure I can do justice to the Canon AMLOS system. AMLOS stands for Activate My Line of Sight, which is intended to change the relationship between technology and the people on video conferences. When AMLOS ships it will support Microsoft Teams and Azure. The idea is to offer more casual, interactive, and space-inclusive experiences driven by cameras like Canon’s CR-N300 4K.
The goal is also to make content seen through the screen more reachable by those in the conference, for instance with a zoom-in on a background whiteboard. The goal is to use one camera from multiple points of view. The software will remove glare from surfaces, and help straighten out images captured at an angle. Gesture sensing will help make controlling the features more intuitive.
Unfortunately, the Canon cameras around which AMLOS was designed are not inexpensive. The Canon PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) models cost between $2,700 and $5,399. Other types of cameras will likely be incorporated in the system as it matures.
Canon has shared (see comments) that Apple users can participate through Teams with AMLOS It also isn’t clear how mobile devices play into the AMLOS ecosystem.
I joined the “writer’s room” a fictional space where actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt was working with a team of creatives to develop an animated short. You can see people picking on image placeholders that then move that camera perspective into the hero position on the screen. They seemed to move fluidly through the options. AMLOS appears as an overlay on the basic Teams tech.
Here is a portion of the video from my “Writer’s Workshop” session. I did not capture the audio.
And here is a conceptual video from Canon that might make the idea more accessible for some.
As commented on before, the plethora of new collaboration technologies is great, but this is not likely to be a drop-in and adopt addition to Teams, even if it was designed to be. People will need to integrate the new way of working into their personal styles and figure out how they work in the virtual space, and may well be different from virtual spaces that attempt the same type of interactions in other tools.
And tools like Canon AMLOS won’t be universal. With the switch to shared Microsoft and Google documents and tools like Miro and Mural., whiteboarding has shifted from analog to digital. There are plenty of chaotic meetings that can and should take place, but having a setup like this ready when those meetings occur may prove a challenge for most organizations. Portability will be key, as the central question will be where to set up–and will the tech be at the right place when it’s needed?
What the brief interaction I captured did show was that video-based conferencing can become much more than people talking at each other from the shoulder up. As much as Canon AMLOS shows off the power of Canon’s cameras, it also points to the cost of those devices.
Canon needs to concentrate on next-level cameras that make AMLOS a more affordable solution. Sure, they compete with the likes of Cisco and their various camera configurations, but again, distributed work going forward will need to align tech with the people who use it wherever they may be. Buying a useful quantity of cameras without a definitive plan for where those more expensive cameras will live might result in budget pushback from an iffy case for financial return.
Opening up the ecosystem will also be important, but as a technologist, I understand concerns about a loss of control, and therefore a potential loss of quality when other variables are introduced to a configuration. Dealing with that is part of the innovation journey, a part that often determines if a concept can become a marketable and revenue-positive product.
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Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.
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