Polycom RPRM Phone Provisioning Demo with Skype for Business

I have been testing Polycom’s Real Presence Resource Manager, RPRM for short phone provisioning solution for the last few days. I thought I would share with you a demo of the experience.

Historically, if you wanted to provision VVX phones for your Skype for Business voice deployment you had 2 choices; use Polycom’s ftp provisioning solution, or use Event Zero UC Commander. Although the ftp solution was free, because it used built-in windows tools and XML files, people often preferred EZ’s solution because of the nice friendly UI experience meant they could provision phones without having to trawl through the 635 page VVX admin guide each time they wanted to make a change!

Now it seems Polycom are getting into the provisioning game with RPRM 10.1.0 now including Phone Management. This does not replace the free ftp solution, but allows you to leverage a single management solution for your Polycom Video Conferencing and Phone estate.

Watch the demo here to find out more

In summary, i found the tool incredibly easy to provision on Hyper-V and within an hour has mastered the basics of provisioning a phone. The intelli-sense configuration profiles combined with the ability to partition your configuration between global, endpoint groups, sites, devices and specifically down to an individual endpoint makes this a truly scalable and elastic enterprise tool.

Features I really like:

  • Being able to remote call control to prove an endpoint is working in advance of a meeting for instance
  • Being able to see the running config and log files easily
  • Being able to paste in your old XML config into your config profiles
  • Complete Zero Touch Provisioning out of the box
  • Simple to understand and logically built

Things that could be improved:

  • UI menu could do with being tweaked, having re-expand menus and scroll back up the page is a bit tedious after a while
  • Ability to schedule device updates at a granular level
  • Improved location awareness for asset tracking
  • Ability to distribute firmware to remote distribution points (without needing another full RPRM server) to ease WAN constraints (UDM has this)

Of course EZ’s UDM Pro is a competing product and will do all what RPRM can do with VVX phones and has the added value of number management on top of this so I can see people still venturing that way. However, the biggest USP here for using RPRM is that you now have an end to end support chain with one vendor rather than two. Plus, buy enough VVX’s and Trio’s in one go and I am sure that RPRM will come at a very competitive price!

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4 comments

  1. It’s good to see that Polycom is finally giving their customers a way to easily provision their phones, but I’m still a bit disappointed that it doesn’t appear to be a free solution. There’s a few enterprising folks out there that have written, out of necessity, tools to assist in provisioning VVX phones, but it’s disappointing that we don’t have a free solution from Polycom themselves.

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    1. Why should it be free? They have a free solution already, using your ftp and xml templates. If you want a free UI then you can always use Michael LaMontagne and Richard Brynteson’s SkypeValidator.com solution 🙂 But in all seriousness other vendors charge for the provisoning solution even if the cost is hidden within the back end phone system licencing.

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      1. I guess I’ve always thought that when you pay that much for something, you should be given the tools you need in order to use it. Yes, they have a free solution, that is so wonky that it’s enough to drive one to drinking. Yes, there’s always SkypeValidator.com. I guess I just feel that if you’re paying for the phone, you should get reasonable management tools to go with it. If I’m doing a deployment in a large enterprise, or even in a medium sized business, or one that breaks out their user provisioning from the daily admin chores, there’s no way i’m going to be able to teach those in charge of the provisioning to do the ftp / xml template modification needed, and as you said before, every time I have to do it, I have to reference that God-awful manual to do it. Let’s say that client actually has someone that lives and breathes XML and takes on that provisioning role. If they leave the company, then you’re back to going through that manual. AudioCodes has the IP Phone Manager Express, 100% free to download and use. Do they get you on the cost when you buy the phone? I dunno. Probably. It’s easier for me to explain to a client a cost per phone than it is for me to say “yeah, i know you just spent a ton on these phones, but in order to actually provision them easily, you need to drop more money on this utility”.

        It’s like if Microsoft had come out with Lync / SFB and only given you powershell to do the admin side. Can you do it? Sure, but that Admin control Panel makes training a provisioning team SO much easier.

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      2. I get it. The audiocodes solution is less than 500 phones, after that you need Pro which carries a tariff. However, your points are valid and understandable. I guess from Polycom’s perspective in an enterprise buying 1000’s of phones and other VTC devices then the cost of RPRM is so small its almost pocket change. That said perhaps they should look at a 0-250 device solution FoC.

        Sfb without CSCP, well you might get that if they decide to pull Silverlight and not do HTML 5 😉 lol

        Let’s hope Polycom look at the comments and it might trigger something!

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