Initially, I never saw the need for RealPresence Content Sharing Suite. I saw as a great tool for people who are using Polycom & Microsoft Lync video. These users would use CSS to convert content from Lync to standards-based. I always had other solutions, so I never saw CSS as something right for me. Then I tried it. And used it again. And again. And again. I've become a complete RP CSS convert! The interesting question is why I've become a convert (and why you should explore it too!)
First, some history. Previously, sharing content had almost always been done one of three ways:
- Direct connection from my endpoint into my PC.
- Using the application, People + Content, IP and connecting to a video endpoint over IP
- Using the Polycom RealPresence Desktop client and sharing my screen
So what does RP CSS do? It lets me use my browser to send and receive content. Seems pretty innocuous, but it also is very powerful. To understand why, you need to understand how content flows in a video call. In method 1, the content is via VGA, DVI, or HDMI from my laptop to my video conference system. The video system encodes the video and sends it to the video call along with the people channel. This single device goes up to a Polycom RMX Conference Bridge. Methods 2 or 3 work in basically the same manner.
There are two differences between the model above and sharing content with CSS:
- Content is pushed to the conference bridge -- no video endpoint necessary.
- Content can also be viewed on the device without any other endpoint or client.
CSS basically runs a content-only video client in the browser. It's lightweight, doesn't require a camera or microphone, or anything but the conference number (and conference passcode, if any)
While it sounds like a seemingly minor set of difference between sharing with CSS and through an endpoint, CSS lets you do some interesting things like:
- share or see content when you're only connecting using your mobile phone & PC on the web. (great for low-bandwidth places like a Starbucks, hotel room, or other place where internet access is poor or inconsitent)
- setup a confidence monitor to ensure the quality of the content from the far end. (This is great when presenting to remote participants--you never have to ask "can you see my content" becuase you know they can! )
- in a large room where you're far away from the displays you see that tiny content on your own laptop
- easily take screen shots of the content
Want to learn more about CSS? See page 127 of the admin guide at http://bit.ly/1akmQ8s. or in general, the Polycom® RealPresence Content Sharing Suite page at http://bit.ly/1fuBf51.
Have you found a new or novel use for CSS? Please describe it in the comments!