Simplest Video: RealPresence Desktop
The “simplest video” is what people seek when they just want to get the job done. That means different things in different contexts, but in this article, I will extoll the simple virtues of Polycom's RealPresence Desktop application for video conferencing.
RP Desktop is an application for laptops that can run on a windows laptop or on the Mac OS. There is a similar app for iOS or Android phones or tablets called RP Mobile, but this article will focus on RP Desktop. The RP Desktop application runs in conjunction with most any standards-based SIP or H.323 call control environment, but it can also be optioned to run just by itself. The simplest option, purchasing a copy for about $89 so it can run by itself, allows RP Desktop to form part of a very effective but very simple video environment. The software is also a useful client as part of a larger video environment, but one of the main benefits of its standalone capability is that it can be used as a tool to verify the functions of everything else.
More about RP Desktop as a tool later, but first, a general overview of the product. Here are some of the things it can do:
- Empower your entire workforce with a simple video app for collaboration on the device of choice
- IT enabled and serviced through management platform (Dedicated HW or Virtualized)
- Enjoy the highest degree of interoperability, scalability, reliability and management
- Pay-as-you-grow – easy to expand, spin up resources and scale without delays
- Meet the needs of collaboration in new work environments such as cube, open-workspace, home or on the go
- Automatically compensate for poor lighting and background noise that degrades the quality of experience
- Share TV-quality virtual business card that identifies user, location and title
- Add some fun to your video collaboration by sending a custom video mute image
- Easily connect to room-based systems, or individuals with a simple directory search and click
- Wirelessly share virtually anything from your computer to room systems through Polycom SmartPairing™ – no more clunky wires
- Record video sessions right from your computer to the Polycom platform for later viewing
Some comparative points to similar sounding options:
- Proven history of supporting open, standards-based technologies with superior user experience
- Deployment and use flexibility for “on-the-go” users – wherever work may take them
- Seamless integration with room-based systems through Polycom SmartPairing™
One entry-level video environment example would be using one video room system for a board room, but then doing everything else with RP Desktop and RP Mobile. A small video edge device would probably be required when video endpoints are both inside and outside the corporate network—and an internal multipoint license would be required for the endpoint—but that’s all that would be needed to go from people uncomfortably gathering around a laptop at the main office to meeting in a professional-level video environment. Five or six decision-makers could meet as often as they like after some one-time purchases, and no further fees or subscriptions to one product line are needed. There will always be equipment maintenance costs and Internet connect costs in any scenario, but one or more room systems, with RP Desktop everywhere else, makes for a very powerful, but simple system. Moreover, almost all of the big video cloud products have instructions on how a standards-based video endpoint can join, so organizations with RP Desktop can meet with any other group, too, without installing new software or learning a new cloud-service user interface. To be fair, there are many situations where larger-scale video environments can more easily be done with a cloud-based video service, and other times where deploying video bridging on your own network makes more sense, but just having a few standards-based endpoints should not be overlooked.
In fact, no matter which option you choose, a standalone video endpoint that is a software client can be invaluable for the technical staff working on various parts of a video environment. For example, what if everyone can join a video meeting, except for one standards-based room system? How can you remotely check the function of that system? You can call it with RP Desktop from various places and find out a lot of information relatively quickly!
In a situation where you can call the room system from inside your corporate network, but you cannot call it from outside the corporate network, you can look at things like your firewalls. If you can call it from across the hall with crystal clear video, but you get blocky video with packet loss from two buildings over, you can check specific portions of your network. Other tools may have pages and pages of reports on topics that may or may not affect a particular video call, but a video test call can quickly narrow down which reports you should read. RP Desktop has easy-to-read video statistics that are recorded in log files so documented tests can be performed easily. Plus, with RP Desktop you don’t just have other tools talking about what might affect video—you have actual video.
The RP Desktop client can be purchased simply with a onetime fee, and has at least the three roles discussed above. RP Desktop is a powerful component of entry-level video environments, a video client in more complex environments or a standalone tool to quickly double-check various parts-complex environments. The RP Desktop app is simple, but it is not a toy, either. RP Desktop can send or receive HD 720p video and content, and it has advanced features like back light compensation and facial recognition to brighten the video of a person’s face in low-level lighting. It can send a XMPP based IM and presence between RP Desktops. On the audio side, RP Desktop has noise block, and/or an acoustic bubble feature to block external sounds from entering a conference. It uses SIP or H.323 with industry leading audio and video packet loss compensation algorithms to keep audio and video running for road warriors with lower-quality network connections. It uses SIP or H.323 with AVC (Advanced Video Coding) or SIP with SVC Scalable Video Coding and H.264 high profile for higher quality video at lower CPU processing requirements. RP Desktop can join older or newer video environments with up-to-date features.
David Padgett, SPS Systems Engineer, Infrastructure