Tech Blog

Real Life Comms: Advantages of Agent-IC as a Mobile Device App


An Occasional Series on Some of the Ways We Use Intercom and Why

Clear-Com’s Agent-IC® mobile app has been turned to more and more frequently during the last few months as people are relying on remote production workflows and Work-From-Home (WFH) solutions for broadcasters. As part of this, we’ve seen people also ask us why it is that we chose to develop this solution as a mobile app, rather than a desktop solution. A mobile client was initially envisioned as a way to support people working in the field, which it does quite well. The initial concept was to create a virtual panel on a user’s existing mobile device, always at hand and with licenses which can be transferred as needed. It turns out that having your comms on a secondary device works very well in a WFH situation for the following reasons….

Often our main activity from home requires our PC to be dedicated to that task and running a comms solution on the same computer would not be practical. You only have one mouse or trackpad, and it needs to be dedicated to the primary task at hand, not multi-tasking with the comms application. Not to mention that your home internet connection is likely to be devoted to the media-intensive tasks on your PC, which doesn’t allow you to rely on alternate networks such as 3G/4G/LTE which are available on mobile devices.

As an example, news producers use software like iNews or ENPS to type scripts and create rundowns of the newscast in addition to using a video editor. This workflow requires as much screen real estate as possible leaving little to no space for a second or third piece of software to be open. Since communications with the control room and field crews is of utmost importance, placing Agent-IC on a tablet or smart phone allows the user to keep all pertinent software open.

Possibly most compelling of all is that fact that we are programmed to reach for our familiar mobile phone, tablet, or Apple watch when we need to talk to someone, so incorporating intercom on that device makes a lot of sense. There’s just no need to add the complication of a different UI.

So, in summary, Agent-IC on your phone or tablet with the option of using 3G/4G/LTE in addition to your Wi-Fi connection offers multiple advantages, including:

  • Uses a separate user interface, both physically and in terms of controls
  • Uses a separate network providing more reliability – you can still communicate to tell the team that your editing is down or compromised
  • The Agent-IC app provides specific intercom configurations so that you have the most appropriate connections immediately on keys that you will need to do your job
  • Familiar and comfortable ergonomics and accessories you already have (earbuds, etc.)

In these days when smart phones and tablets are plentiful and reliable, Agent-IC on a mobile device offers an elegant and flexible solution for remote production intercom, whether it’s being used out in the field or in a WFH environment.

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