Poly Studio Photography

What’s the difference between certified and compliant hardware?

Uni­fied Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (UC) describes the inter­con­nec­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­forms like video con­fer­enc­ing, chat, phone and file shar­ing.  The UC indus­try is evolv­ing rapid­ly. And while this cre­ates excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ties to improve vir­tu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion across your busi­ness, it also presents an over­whelm­ing num­ber of options and choic­es. What is the best UC Plat­form for your busi­ness? Which brands pro­vide the most flex­i­bil­i­ty or great­est val­ue? What is the end user experience?

In this blog series, we will demys­ti­fy some of the UC Plat­form choic­es, so you can make the right pur­chase deci­sion for your busi­ness. So far, we’ve explored hard­ware run­ning Native UC Plat­forms, as well as Cloud Video Interop (CVI) with Sip-based end­points. In this blog, we’ll explain the impor­tant dif­fer­ence between “Cer­ti­fied” and “Com­pli­ant” hard­ware, such as cam­eras and micro­phones. Under­stand­ing whether your sys­tem fea­tures “Cer­ti­fied” or  “Com­pli­ant” hard­ware is impor­tant because it will affect your user experience.

Certified vs. Compliant

The hard­ware select­ed for your UC sys­tem — such as cam­eras, micro­phones, and speak­ers — has a huge impact on the user expe­ri­ence.  As you’re explor­ing hard­ware options for your UC Plat­form, you may notice that some are “Cer­ti­fied” while oth­ers are “Com­pli­ant.” What’s the difference?

Poly control

“Cer­ti­fied” hard­ware has gone through an offi­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process with the UC Provider. For exam­ple, there is hard­ware that is cer­ti­fied for usage with Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTRs). As stat­ed on Microsoft’s web­site, “Microsoft Teams Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams ensure a high­er-qual­i­ty bar with high­er per­for­mance tar­gets and audio qual­i­ty met­rics.” If your design fea­tures Cer­ti­fied hard­ware, you can have con­fi­dence that it will have full func­tion­al­i­ty with the list­ed UC provider. Cer­ti­fied hard­ware tends to have a slight­ly high­er price tag than “com­pli­ant” hard­ware, but it typ­i­cal­ly requires less labor to make those sys­tems work.

Oth­er hard­ware may be “com­pli­ant with” or will “work with” var­i­ous UC providers. This usu­al­ly means that it will func­tion with the list­ed provider but is not ful­ly inte­grat­ed. While the hard­ware will still work with the plat­form, it lacks the cohe­sive user expe­ri­ence that the UC providers have designed. You may miss out on a key user expe­ri­ence fea­ture, such as cam­era con­trol, mute sync, or AEC offboarding.

Com­pli­ant hard­ware is typ­i­cal­ly cheap­er than Cer­ti­fied hard­ware. The down­side is it often requires addi­tion­al inte­gra­tion to sim­u­late the user expe­ri­ence that you’d get with “cer­ti­fied” devices. The true “final” cost of Com­pli­ant hard­ware is often the same as Cer­ti­fied hard­ware once you take into account the addi­tion­al inte­gra­tion time required.

Certified for Rooms vs Certified for Software Clients

If you decide to go with Cer­ti­fied hard­ware, it’s also impor­tant to pay atten­tion to whether it’s cer­ti­fied for Rooms or for soft­ware clients. There are key dif­fer­ences in the fea­ture sets and inte­gra­tion abil­i­ties, and they are not typ­i­cal­ly interchangeable.

Hard­ware cer­ti­fied for a Room sys­tem (e.g. Microsoft Teams Rooms and Zoom Rooms)  is meant to sup­port a larg­er room sys­tem where more than one per­son is engag­ing with it, such as a con­fer­ence room or audi­to­ri­um. The Room sys­tem is able to inte­grate with and con­trol the hard­ware. Cer­ti­fied UVC pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cam­eras allow the Room sys­tem to con­trol mul­ti­ple cam­eras and con­fig­ure Pre­sets. Cer­ti­fied audio solu­tions allow for mute sync between the Room sys­tems, and the hard­ware allows for AEC off­board­ing and pre-defined pro­cess­ing. Cer­ti­fied Room solu­tions offer a con­sis­tent user expe­ri­ence at scale, when the sys­tem is built prop­er­ly by a pro­fes­sion­al integrator.

Poly Stu­dio Photography

Hard­ware cer­ti­fied for a soft client is dif­fer­ent, as these are desk-based solu­tions intend­ed for indi­vid­ual users. Cam­eras have a dif­fer­ent field of view (FOV) that works bet­ter for up-close users. Exam­ples are the USB cam­eras that you plug into your lap­top. Audio hard­ware includes head­sets and small desk­top speak­er phones. Cer­ti­fied solu­tions allow for mute sync between headsets/speakerphones and the UC soft­ware. Using a Cer­ti­fied cam­era in a con­fer­ence room will not pro­vide the same qual­i­ty of user expe­ri­ence that a Room Cer­ti­fied cam­era will, since it’s designed to cap­ture video of an indi­vid­ual a foot or two away, not a group of peo­ple in a meet­ing room.

We focus on select­ing the cor­rect hard­ware for the client’s needs, bud­get and best over­all user expe­ri­ence. As a bonus, when we build these sys­tems in a cer­ti­fied way, there’s often more com­pre­hen­sive sup­port from the UC provider in the event of a user sup­port scenario.


We rec­om­mend that you con­sid­er hard­ware that is Room Cer­ti­fied for your desired UC plat­form, even if it’s a lit­tle more expen­sive. Cut­ting cor­ners to try to save costs will often cost the same or more in the long run, because it takes a lot more time to inte­grate a work­able sys­tem with a like user expe­ri­ence. Treat your UC plat­form like an ecosys­tem, where every piece is key to the over­all func­tion­ing and expe­ri­ence. If your UC plat­form is easy to use, then your employ­ees will be able to focus on col­lab­o­rat­ing and thriv­ing, rather than trou­bleshoot­ing tech­ni­cal issues.

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At Neurilink, our video conference solutions will help your team stay productive while bolstering your company’s professional presence.

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