Now if your conference room and phone system is similar to most other businesses, the decision on what to buy does not have to be a complicated one. Unsurprisingly the most popular conference phones deliver the best solution for typical conference room settings. Let's see how similar you are? You are not alone.
A typical conference room
A typical conference room seats 8-12 people, who are seated around a rectangular table, with everyone sitting up to 2.5 metres from the microphone. The room has carpet on the floor, some wall hangings, drapes or blinds, and some other pot plants and furniture, that all help to keep the echo down. The ceiling is not unduly high and there are not large areas of uncovered glass or concrete. There is an analogue or IP phone line connection in the room and a power source close at hand.
If the room is larger with say 12-20 people, but pretty similar in all other respects to the typical conference room, then again, the conference phone solution is likely to be a simple one.
A small office or very small conference room, with 4-5 people, may have more clutter than a regular conference room and may have a lower ceiling, but the solution should be simple also.
Not so typical
Very large boardrooms do not usually fit a simple tabletop solution. If you need a solution for a very large boardroom, you would be better to find a bespoke solution. This type of solution can handle the numerous acoustic challenges present in the room. Leave this to the experts. Give us a call at Cackle, and if we think you need more specialised services, we will suggest who you should speak to.
Smart features that make it work
There are factors that make the conference phone solution slightly more complicated, but fortunately, there are smart technologies to deal with most of these. Here are some of the factors that might mean you need to add some feature to your list of must have's. Browse through the list and see what applies to you.
- Your room is unusually shaped, has large open areas or areas of uncovered glass, has uncarpeted floors, or has very high ceilings. All of these factors can mean the sound echoes a lot, making it distracting and difficult understand what is being said.
Directional microphones pick up the speech only, and remove distracting background noise caused by air-conditioning, traffic noise, background conversations and office equipment.
- The shape of your room may mean some people are a long way from the microphones and speaker.
If you use a conference phone that is "extendible", you can easily add more microphones, or use a conference phone with extra microphones and a subwoofer speaker, so everyone is within range. These microphones need to have the smarts to switch off when they are not needed, called gain management, so that they don't pick up unwanted noise.
- When key people move around the room when they speak, the sound levels need to adjust as they move closer and further to the microphone.
Digitally tuned speakers and sensitive microphones allow any mobile attendees to move and speak comfortably at up to 2 metres. Alternately, the speaker may prefer to use an external or podium microphone.
- You want to connect to someone who is not on an Analogue or IP phone line. Perhaps someone wants to connect by Bluetooth, or by a mobile phone; or you need a DECT connection for satellite speakers.
Enterprise grade systems are flexible enough to handle these scenarios.
- The conference phone needs to be used at different times, in different rooms, around the office.
Wireless conference phones make this a breeze. In some cases you can even walk to different floors of a building with the conference phone, leaving the power source and the receiver plugged in downstairs.
- You want to take your conference phone to off-site meetings.
It shouldn't be a problem providing the venue, and number of people on the call, are similar to the typical conference room where the phone is usually used. You also need to check that there is a compatible analogue or IP phone system at the off site venue. Alternately, you could plug a USB computer conferencing speaker into your laptop and you're good to go.
- People talk at the same time at either ends of the call, cutting each other off, disrupting the flow of the meeting.
Full duplex speakerphones have the smarts to manage so the people talking at both ends can be heard clearly.
- You want to record the call to be saved and played at a later date.
Phones with memory card ports let you save the conversation and share them, even letting you upload them on othe devices.
Super sound quality
Sound quality will make or break you using teleconferencing for meetings. If you have some of these factors, buy the solution that addresses it. You won't regret it. The better the sound quality, the more natural the conversation and meeting environment; so you can focus what people have to say.
Analogue, IP or computer connections
What you need to consider now is, do you need a conference phone that connects over Analogue or an IP conference phone? Analogue lines are older style phone lines that are still used for faxes and some phone systems. If you are using an analogue phone system you can choose to have your conference phone to be either wired or wireless. IP systems run the phone system, and other services, over the internet. You need to buy a IP conference phone if your business is on an IP phone system. Alternately, you may want to teleconference using your computer, well we have a USB computer conferencing speaker to allow you to do that as well.
We've got you covered
At Cackle we've brought together a range of different Polycom conference phones to suit typical, and not so typical conference settings and phone systems. With a range of IP conference phones, Wireless and Wired conference phones, speakers for "soft" Computer conferencing and any accessories you may need to add. And if you need any help with choosing a conference phone, setting it up or dealing with any new problems that may arise, Cackle has the expertise to step you through it. It's just part of our service.
We sell Polycom conference phones as they are easy to use, reliable, have a wide range of products to suit every business, and deliver the excellent voice quality you need for a successful teleconference. All our Polycom conference phones have a minimum of 1 year warranty.
The Telepermit tick
You can feel confident that all our conference phones are tested to meet the rigorous New Zealand PTC and TNA specifications for electrical safety and radio frequency compliance, and have been granted a Telepermit. Look for the green tick sticker on the phone, as a Telepermit is necessary on all phones to be allowed to be used on the Telecom New Zealand network.
Cackle has made choosing the best conference phone for your business easy. With an impressive selection of products, from a world leading brand, combined with Cackle's expertise when you need it, you are set to go.