Security

New 360-Degree Cameras at CES 2015 vs. IC Real Tech’s 720-Degree Allie

Consumers, retailers and the press adored all the new 360-degree cameras at CES 2015 from Amaryllo, Branto, Giroptic, Voxx and others … and then they saw the 720-degree cameras from IC Real Tech.


New 360-Degree Cameras at CES 2015 vs. IC Real Tech’s 720-Degree Allie
360-degree and 720-degree cameras at CES 2015

Photos & Slideshow

Julie Jacobson · February 4, 2015

One big theme at CES 2015 was 360-degree cameras for both security and entertainment purposes. There were several of them each offering a little something special—I liked Branto’s and Giroptic’s—. But few of them really measured up to the 720-degree Allie cameras from IC Real Tech (a new brand under IC Realtime).

ICR’s dual-lens cameras capture an entire space – up, down, left, right – at once, and the super-smart software produces detailed, blended images with no discernible distortion. The others don’t seem quite able to match the coverage.

Here’s a sampling of our CES findings.

Amaryllo iCamPro

Amaryllo’s iCamPro won a CES Best of Innovations award because it rotates 360 degrees and uses “the latest tracking algorithms” to follow objects—like a bad guy breaking into the house. But what if there are two bad guys?

It’s a nice little unit with some powerful processing but at the end of the day, it can’t cover an entire area at once and, well, motors break.

iCamPro raised more than $365,000 on Kickstarter and is expected to ship in May at a retail price of $300.

Branto Camera with Home Automation

More interesting is Branto, which also rotates 360 degrees and also tracks motion, but offers more intelligence than the iCamPro.

The sphere is a music streamer, IR blaster and home automation hub with Wi-Fi (802.11ac), ZigBee and Bluetooth.  It has two mics and two speakers for omnidirectional sound. Battery back-up and cellular options can ensure uptime during a power or Internet outage. Video can be recorded to Branto’s 16 GB of internal storage.

Branto’s “complex algorithms” decipher sounds and images.

Oh, and there’s a nice demo of Branto pant/tilt control via Google Glass.

Is it a little much for a camera? The IR blaster is pretty nifty for controlling A/V gear or an air conditioner. The odd thing is that the company demonstrates the product sitting on a coffee table, so how is it plugged in? It’s also shown on an entertainment center in front of the TV, where a dog is poking at it. This thing really should be ceiling-mounted.

And again, why complicate things with a motor? Just add a second lens.

Branto has raised about $110,000 on Kickstarter, with 36 days to go. The product is expected to ship Sept. 2015 at a retail price of $500.

Giroptic 360Cam

Getting much closer to the ICR ideal is Giroptic’s 360Cam (actually, 720 degrees), featuring three lenses and “image fusion” technology that stitches together the images into one seamless file.

The camera also boasts three microphones, so as you’re viewing footage, you can tell where the sounds are coming from.

What’s especially brilliant about this camera is its flexibility. The camera can be mounted with a battery pack on a tripod; an Ethernet hub with PoE; or a standard Edison light socket.

Yes, the 360cam can get its power from a light socket with the screw-in mounting option. Very cool.

There are plenty of other goodies in this camera, including underwater options, but it’s hard to tell if the stitched-together images measure up to ICR’s.

At CES, Giroptic demonstrated the camera with Oculus Rift goggles.

This project raised a stunning $1.4 million on Kickstarter last year.

The $499 device is now shipping.

More 360-Degree Cameras at CES

There are more: the clever V.360 from VSN Mobil ($399), which uses mirrors to capture 360 degrees of warped images.

Voxx demonstrated at CES 2015 a more polished version of the 360Fly camera that it first introduced last year’s show. The durable, lightweight camera delivers far smoother images than the V.360 but nothing like ICR’s.

The product is expected to ship this spring and is available for preorder at $499.

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CES 2015 Images & Videos

View the 360/720-Degree Camera Gallery

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On the pro side, Panasonic introduced at CES a line of i-PRO Ultra 360 Panoramic cameras ($1,900 and up), the first built on Panasonic’s 4K Ultra HD engine.

Thanks to all that resolution and Panasonic’s long history of manipulating digital images, the cameras almost measure up to ICR’s but they only have a single lens so you won’t get quite the smoothness of a dual-lens ICR.

What you do get is lots of time-tested video analytics for people counting, heat mapping and more.

And Then There’s IC Real Tech

So my money is on Giroptic and ICR. IC Realtime (the group that spawned IC Real Tech) has been showing a pro version of the product for about a year, and expects to ship it in March for $3,000. It’s got Verizon cellular, Bluetooth, video analytics, possibly gesture recognition, a backup battery, local storage and more.

The problem is that the form factor for Allie Pro tends to cuteness rather than utility. At $3,000 it probably won’t be used to film a Bar Mitzvah party. Rather it will be used for security applications, where it would be mounted on the ceiling and the unit doesn’t lend itself well to such an installation.

At CES, ICR demonstrated for the first time its consumer-grade products (IC Realtime is known for its high-performance pro-grade security cameras and recorders), which won’t have the resolution, nor the bells and whistles and resolution of the Pro model.

The DIY products will be “available for sale later in the year,” for $399, according to the company.

After CES, ICR chief Matt Sailor said, “The really interesting thing here is that nearly everyone we spoke with at the show—whether press, consumer, buyer or analyst—had a different application in mind about how they envision the cameras could be used. Beyond the obvious home surveillance, discussions included use in drones, planes, autos, boats, TV broadcasting, Hollywood studio audience testing, musical events and more,” said Sailor.

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CES 2015 Images & Videos

View the 360/720-Degree Camera Gallery

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JULIE JACOBSON
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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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  Article Topics


Security · Cameras · News · Media · Slideshow · Amaryllo · CES · Giroptic · IC Real Tech · IC Realtime · iCamPro · All Topics
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