Which mode is for me?

In a recent software update, Poly has released a number of new video provider modes for the StudioX and G7500 video conferencing systems, but which one is right for you?

The latest release now includes the following modes:

  • Poly mode (plus Device mode)
  • 8x8 Meeting Rooms mode
  • GoToRoom mode
  • MS Teams mode
  • RingCentral Rooms mode
  • StarLeaf mode (plus Device mode)
  • Zoom mode

With 7 providers / modes (plus Device mode), which one should you use? Lets take a look at some of them.

Device mode

What is "Device mode"?

Device mode on the Poly StudioX (Studio x30, Studio x50) and G7500 systems is a bit of a unique mode in video conferencing systems. What it allows you to do is use the video conferencing system as a USB and HDMI device to connect your laptop / PC to and access the resources that the video conferencing system provides, providing a easy to use BYOD solution for video conferencing.

This means that users can enter a space with their laptop for either a local presentaiton or a remote video conference meeting, connect their laptop to the Poly device via a USB and HDMI cable and the latop will then be able to access the camera, speakers, microphone and display that are connected to the Poly device. 

Why would a user want to use Device mode? The main reason is if the Poly system does not provide native support for the system / provider they are trying to participate in a call on. 

With device mode, users can run any software based unified communications or video conferencing application on their computer, enter a room, connect to the Poly system and join a call whilst using the camera, speakers, mic and display in room, rather than having 3 people huddle around thier built-in webcam. Want to join a Lifesize call? Not a problem. Have to jump into a consumer Skype call? Easy. Using Zoho, Facetime, Webex, Teams, or just about any other software that provides conferencing and you can join a call with room capabilities without needing a dedicated system. 


Poly mode is the default mode when these units are shipped. When you power the system up the first time, this is the mode the system will be running in. 

Poly mode provides a number of "standard" video conferencing capabilities:

  • SIP - allowing you to make and receive calls via SIP and register to a SIP reigstrar
  • H.323 - allowing you to make and receive calls via H.323 and register to a H.323 Gatekeeper. 
  • LDAP based directory
  • Exchange / Office 365 based calendaring. 
  • Poly based provisioning and managment.

In Poly mode, the systems operate very similar to most other standards based vide conferencing systems out there. The most common protocol would be H.323 meaning administrators would need to have access to a H.323 gatekeeper as well as a LDAP directory service and exchange based calendaring with each component being configured seperately. 

This mode is best suited to environments with existing standards based video conferencing systems that need to integrate into existing infrastructure.  

Zoom Mode

Zoom mode enables the native Zoom app on the system, turning the Poly device into a native Zoom Room system.

In this mode, the systems function as a Zoom Room system, with all the common capabilities and control from the TC8 controller. 

If you are using Zoom within your environment and do not have a need to participate in calls with any other platforms, then this mode provides a very powerful solution which is easy to configure (follows the standard Zoom Room pairing process) and provides full the Zoom Room features for users. 

Device mode is not supported. 

StarLeaf Mode

With StarLeaf mode, users can pair a Poly StudioX or G7500 with the StarLeaf platform allowing.

Similar to Poly mode, StarLeaf mode allows users to makeand receive calls to and from standards based SIP and H.323 systems. 

In addiiton, it includes automatic registration for SIP / H.323 so organzations do not need to setup or subscribe to a SIP registrar or H.323 gatekeeper service. The StarLeaf also includes other features such as:

  • Easy provisioning - administrators provision the system in the StarLeaf portal which generates a quick connect code. Users / installers simply enter the quick connect code into the Poly TC8 and the system downloads its provisioning profile and sets itself up. Systems are up and running in minutes. 
  • Secure firewall / NAT traversal with no need for independant gateway
  • Global addressing - systems are allocated a secure address that can be dialed globally without exposing systems to the internet
  • Managed Directory - Administrators can manage a global address book which is automatically populated on both room systems and user apps.
  • System monitoring and alerting - Administrators are alerted when there are problems with systems or they are offline. 
  • MultiJoin - easily invite room systems to calls from a multitude of conferencing platforms inluding Zoom, MS Teams, Webex, Lifesize and more. Users simply enter the room at the schedule time and press the Green button to join a call. 

In addition to offering SIP and H.323 capabilities, StarLeaf also provides a Cloud Video Interop (CVI) service which allows systems to join MS Teams calls. Combined with teh MultiJoin capability, this allows Poly Studio x30, Studio x50 and G7500 to not only join SIP and H.323 calls by simply "pressing the green button" but also the ability to join MS Teams calls without any fuss. 

In addition to supporting SIP, H.323 and Teams calls, StarLeaf mode on Poly also supports Device mode allowing users to leverage the in room device for use with their laptop / PC and software based conferencing applications. 

The StarLeaf mode is best suited for organizations looking for maximum flexibility and minimal administration. When coupled with a Zoom CRC licenese, MultiJoin also allowes for one button joining of Zoom meetings, offering users a simple way to join the majority of leading conferencing platforms in use today.

MS Teams Mode

In MS Teams mode, the devices run a native MS Teams client, allowing the systems to register directly to a MS Teams account. 

At present (Sept 2020), the Teams client is not a full featured Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) clinet but instead a cut down client similar to the the Android mobile client. Whilst providing most capabilities including directory and camera control, the user interface is limiting and requires either a keyboard / mouse of a Interactive Flat Panel / Touch display to maximize ease of use. 

Features like Proximity join allow users to join meetings with the Poly device simply from their mobile devices and content sharing is currently limited to content from the Teams app on your mobile / laptop device. 

MS Teams mode does not support Device mode. 

MS Teams mode is best suited to organizations who have committed to MS Teams and have no need to communicate with other conferncing platforms. 

Modes review

Whilst we have not covered all the modes that are available on the Poly Studio X30, X50 and G7500, you can see here that there are a number of options to choose from depending on your use case. 

Each mode has its benefits and downsides depending on your usage requirments. For businesses that are fully committed to either Zoom of Teams with little need to call other platforms, the respective modes offer a powerfull solution that is easy for users to use. 

For those that require some more flexibility and the need to participate in calls with standards based systems, both the native Poly mode and StarLeaf modes offer very powerfull solutions and when coupled with either Poly RealConnect or StarLeaf Cloud along with Zoom CRC offer a solution that allows users to join calls on a wide variety of platforms including SIP, H.323, MS Teams, Zoom and more. 

In short, the Studio X series and G7500 offer users a great choice options to suit their requirements and increase their return on invesment with the ability to choose which conferencing and collaboration platform they will use. 

For a comparison of available features in each mode, see below. 

To discuss the Poly Studio X series and G7500 and what mode will best suit your needs, get in touch.

Talk to a specialist