Microsoft Lync Far Side Camera Control: Budget Solution Brainstorming


Currently Microsoft Lync does not have Far side camera control built into the Lync Server 2010. With the advent of low cost Pan-Tilt-Zoom USB devices for Microsoft Lync, like the Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCAM more people will be interested in allowing remote participants in a Lync video call control the camera. (aka far side camera control) You can click here to see this feature request in the Ideascale forum for Lync.

Some vendors (like Polycom/Avtex below) have been creative in coming up with their own solutions as shown in the video below.

This is a far side camera control by Avtex for Lync

The above solution looks interesting, especially if you have control of the far side Lync client. If you don’t, (For example: if the far side is outside your company) what might a very simple solution look like?

So what could be a solution? Here Is a Quick Solution Concept

One possible solution (perhaps a little hacky) could be to have a small tray application on the near side (on pc with the ptz camera installed on it), Using Lync 2010 Client SDK, on new Video call send an introduction IM to the remote party, something like this:

The remote video camera you are in a session with can be controlled with with: 4=Pan Left; 6=Pan Right; 8=Pan Up; 2=Pan down; +/-=Zoom; or press a,b,c,d for preset.

Now when the far side user presses (say) 4, the tray app catches that and passes the command to the PTZ camera to pan left X degrees.

Now the far end users can (for example) press 4 [enter] in IM window to pan left.

Another Possible Solution


A more elegant would be to have a nice UI to control the far side camera. So in this scenario there could once again be a tray app, but this would also have a small web server that has nice GUI PTZ camera controls. Once again a intro IM would be sent, this time an URL like:

To control remote camera, click here: http:/someurl/random-url-for-this-session

When this Lync conversation ends, the randomurl/token would expire. (Port forwarding on near side would be a simple/cheap way to get to the PTZ control webpage. If not possible, I think there are some API/WebServices to make the connection between the two internet devices.)

Welcome Your Feedback

These are just some quick ideas on how this could be accomplished on a budget. Do you have better idea? Let’s hear it.

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