I was recently on a conference call with parties in several parts of the country. It was difficult to clearly hear many of the participants and the call was far less productive than it should have been. Most business speaker phones are poorly suited to be used as conference phones because the microphones are directional and do not pick up sound behind the phone. A phone designed for conferencing has echo cancellation and background noise suppression to enhance the clarity of the call. There are many options for conference phones and picking the correct business phone system conference phone is important.
Business telephone system conference phones can be broken down into three catagories: desktop, modular, and installed systems. Each is designed for a specific application.
Desktop - Desktop Conference phones are stand alone multi directional conference phones with high quality speakers and microphones. They are effective in offices and small conference rooms and will work well for a small group of people where the distance from the phone is within 10 feet. Typically the cost for a desktop conference phone is less than $500. Some models are wireless allowing them to be located where they are needed. This is an example of a desktop conference phone:
Modular Conference Phones: For larger conference rooms, or when you need to have more than a few people on the call, a modular system is recommended. By connecting several units together, called pods, and adding remote microphones, the coverage can be expanded to accomodate rooms up to about 20 ft. square and groups of up to 20. Modular systems start at about $500 and top out at about $1500 for units with 4 pods and remote microphones. Here is a modular conference phone with two pods:
Installed Conference Systems - When the audio quality is paramount or the space is large, installed systems can't be beat. These are installed in Board Rooms, Video Conferencing Centers, Auditoriums, large conference rooms and other large areas. They need to be custom designed and installed to fit the room and the application. Using a control panel users balance the sound, select microphones, manage the audio and microphone coverage. These systems use hi-end components such as Bose speakers to create full spectrum, room filling sound. Installed systems start around $3000 and go up from there. This is an installed system:
Granite has extensive experience with conference systems and can help you decide which is best for your application. We take into consideration room acoustics, how you plan to use the system, and your budget to suggest the most appropriate system.