The best collaborative results you can get happens when everyone is face to face in the same room. Whether it’s a team of 5 or 50, nothing beats direct physical interaction when it comes to solving problems. But it’s not always possible.
Some teams are geographically dispersed because companies operate in different markets. Sometimes the right person for the job is sitting halfway across the world. Quite often, you need meetings between different project teams or office (think regional sales meetings, etc.)
Getting your employees in the same room can be expensive and time-consuming. Is it realistic to expect your teams in Canada and Germany to meet once a month?
How do you get people to collaborate across long distances? The answer is VoIP conference phones. Conference calling is not new. Businesses have been using the feature for decades. But it has never been easy to use, inexpensive or accessible to everyone. Only large corporations could afford the equipment, software licenses, and service charges for conference calls.
VoIP conference phones have changed the rules of the game entirely. Conference calls are now affordable and accessible to businesses of any size. Even a small startup or solo entrepreneur can use conference calls. The best VoIP conference phones can give you the benefits of face-to-face meetings without the expenses or hassle.
VoIP conference phones offer a number of benefits:
Before you get into conference phones, you need a VoIP phone system. As noted before, conference phones are not new. But modern devices integrate with your existing VoIP phone system. They rely on your Internet connection instead of traditional phone lines.
For most businesses, the best option is to use a business VoIP solution. VoIP conference phones are service agnostic. It means they will work with almost any SIP-based VoIP phone service out there. Once you have selected an appropriate VoIP phone system, it is time to purchase VoIP conference phones.
Perhaps it goes without saying but phone quality is an obvious consideration in a VoIP conference phone. What is the point of having video conferences where no one can hear what the other person is saying? Sound quality depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to the audio hardware. Some speakers have better range than others, making them suitable for larger rooms.
Since these phones use the Internet for calls, your bandwidth and speed are also important to consider. If your conference room doesn’t have high enough speeds, calls may have poor sound.
In conference calls, it is important that all sides are heard. You need high-quality microphones to make sure every word is heard. Depending on the size of your room and the number of participants, you may even need multiple microphones.
For example, a large room may need multiple ceiling microphones to allow everyone to contribute. If your conference room is long and narrow, you’d be better off with individual microphones for each speaker. And if your team is a small one huddled around a single table, a desk-based conference phone is ideal.
Some of the best VoIP conference phones have noise reduction on advice cancellation features. In many cases, they will have a number of such tools to enhance audio quality. Things like echo cancellation and dynamic background noise reduction are useful to run effective meetings.
Of course, the best phone models also cost more. But in this case, you do get what you pay for. It doesn’t mean that every organization needs the top models. You have to evaluate your business requirements and budget. There is sure to be a model that is affordable and offers all the features you need.
Unlike traditional landlines, VoIP phones need a separate source of power. That means an additional outlet and backup power in case of emergencies. But newer models have something called Power over Ethernet (PoE) that allows them to work just like landlines. So even if the power goes out, your phones will still work as long as you have access to a data network.
You might be thinking – we have already covered speakers and microphones. So what’s left to consider in the hardware section? Apart from overall build quality, there are other hardware components you should check. For instance, do you want a model with an LCD screen? What about programmable buttons?
One touch access to the most frequently used features can be a boon when you want to start a meeting quickly. Some VoIP conference phones allow you to convert a normal call into a video call and vice versa. Others offer shortcut buttons to add participants, switch between different modes, and other features.
Of course, you still need to consider other factors like the price of each phone, your total budget, and other resources. How many phones does your company need? Are all your conference rooms the same size which means you can use the same model everywhere? Some businesses have different sized meeting rooms to accommodate multiple teams. So you might want a handful of expensive models for the bigger rooms. And standard models for everywhere else.
Another factor to consider is how often employees make conference calls. Do you have virtual meetings periodically? Or do employees use conference calls only when there is no other option?
After extensive research and comparisons, we have put together the best VoIP conference phones. This is not an exhaustive list and manufacturers are constantly putting out newer models. But this list is a good starting point for your own research. So let’s get down to it!
The Yealink CP960 VoIP conference phone is perfect for small to medium-sized rooms. By default, the device can support speakers up to 20 feet in the room. It has HD audio technology and a 3 microphone array. This model also features echo cancellation for crystal clear audio quality. You can record calls and connect phones/laptops to it as well.
The Yealink CP960 IP is a versatile phone that’s best for small and medium businesses. It’s a mid-range model that far less expensive than others, yet it offers many useful features.
The Polycom RealPresence Trio 8800 is easily the most stylish entry on this list. It will look at home in any modern conference room. The model is also packed with a plethora of useful features. It offers beautiful audio quality along with exceptional performance. You can use it in large meeting rooms and it will still pick up audio perfectly. If you have large meeting spaces and big teams, this model is your best option.
It is a bit more expensive than comparable models from other manufacturers, but the quality and features it offers more than make up the difference. While not suitable for small businesses, larger organizations will want to invest in a few of these phones.
The Snom C520 manages to pack a lot in a small and unobtrusive frame. It offers HD quality audio and exceptional speakers for clear conversations. The C520 is very flexible and offers both Bluetooth and DECT connectivity. It supports many enterprise features like speed dialing, call waiting, call blocking, hold, call transfer and more. When all is said and done, this is a great phone perfect for small businesses. The model also has additional modules to support organizations as they grow.
The Konftel 300IPx is a simple and convenient launchpad for instant conference calls. It offers one-touch call management and high-quality audio. You can connect wireless headsets, loudspeakers, and even microphone expansions to the base unit. So it can work well in small or big rooms with a few modifications. It even has a conference bridge for quick 5-way calling. Combined with a well–designed mobile app, this device is a powerhouse among VoIP conference phones.
As you can see, the cost of a VoIP conference phone can vary wildly depending on the features it offers. Make a list of your requirements and look for a model that ticks all the boxes. VoIPstudio supports the vast majority of conference phones. Quickly create virtual conference rooms with unlimited participants for all your meeting needs. Start using VoIP conference phones for your business today!
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