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Free Stuff: Polycom RealPresence Mobile

Polycom Real Presence Mobile in Mocet CommunicatorAs you are no doubt aware, I’ve long been a fan of Polycom hardware. From the entry-level SoundPoint IP335 to the new VVX Series Business Media Phones, Polycom makes great hardware. That said, I’ve also come to expect that great quality often comes at a price.

I was not at all surprised to see that Polycom offers a video conference soft client called RealPresence Mobile as part of their RealPresence solution suite. RealPresence Mobile has been around for over a year but was not something that’s crossed my path until recently. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s distributed without cost.

Polycom offer RealPresence Mobile (aka RPM) for both iOS and certain Android tablets. The Android release targets a handful of tablets, phablets and cell phones. To be more specific;

  • ASUS Transformer Tab (TF300)
  • HTC One X, One S, Jetstream
  • Motorola XOOM™
  • DROID XYBOARD 10.1 by Motorola
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab™ (8.9”, 10.1”)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7”, 10.1”)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note, SII, SIII

While I would have liked to try the Android version, my Nexus 7 is not one of the supported devices. Thus I tried the iOS version on my recently acquired iPad 3.

There are several nice things to note about RPM. It’s able to make both SIP and H.323 type calls. This has proven very handy of late, as there are some H.323 requirements in my new world order. Until recently I’ve used SIP almost exclusively.

It’s capable of wideband audio. In fact, it supports a number of audio codecs commonly deployed in video conference applications.

It makes simply work of dialing by SIP URI. It can also make normal audio calls via SIP.

Being on the iPad, my test calls were conducted over Wifi. I’m told that on a suitably optioned iPad such calls can also be conducted over 3G or 4G.

There’s a menu that displays the technical stats for the current call in-progress. While beyond the scope of many users, this can be useful if you’re trying to diagnose a connectivity or call quality issue.

When I a call to a suitably-capable end-point it has far-end camera controls. This allows the person using the iPad to control the zoom, pan and tilt of the camera at the far. It allows them to be selective about what they see on their screen.

I’ve also seen document sharing working to view far-end PC content on the iPad display.

The overall video quality I experienced was not as good as I would expect from a dedicated conference end-point like VVX or HDX series hardware. However, it was every bit as good as some webcams that I’ve used with desktop SIP clients. I expect that the potential video quality is limited by the built-in camera and the requirement to manage power consumption carefully.

I experienced no interoperability issues with the various SIP and H.323 devices at my disposal.

I cannot say that I find a tablet of any sort to be the idea form factor for a phone, especially where simple voice calls are concerned. I definitely prefer to use it with a good wired headset. Even so, Polycom RealPresence Mobile makes a solid end-point application for both voice and video applications.

And yes, as pictured above, I did make use of the application with the iPad docked in Mocet’s Communicator. The pairing was in fact very convenient.

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