The Conference Phone
A lot of phones today have a speakerphone button, and people often wonder, if I had that button why do I need a speaker phone too.I just push that button right on the air.
The problem is that when it’s buried inside a phone, a laptop and mobile device, the speakerphone is just one of many functions and it’s usually built like it, the minimum they can get away with.
But a good conference phone is built for just one job, no compromise.
Why Conference Phone is a Vital Device for Business Owner
What matters to a business is not the cost of something but its total cost of ownership (TCO). When it’s something like a speaker phone that can cost or save the time of a lot of employees, the TCO also reflects the payroll of them all.
Well let’s run through, it starts with a typical case. Let’s say the average meeting has 2 people at each location, three locations lasts one hour, three meetings a day.
Let’s say an employee costs sixty thousand dollars US a year. Total that out the payroll affected by one speakerphone is one hundred thirty five thousand dollars year.
HD conference calls are much clearer sounding and reduce fatigue, leading to greater worker productivity, there’s less confusion.
People understand more the first time, they stay involved and focused, they can tell who’s talking.
But let’s be optimistic and say the confusion and repetition costs only 10 percent; and boredom another 10 because they’ve stopped contributing.
Those two 10 percent’s are invisible but real.
This comes to over 25,000 dollars that expense annually wasted for every cheap speaker phone bought.
If the company had decided to get a HD conference phone and maybe at a thousand dollar premium, the time to pay back that extra investment to make all those employees more productive is three days.
After that first week, a company that bought quality is pulling ahead by 25,000 dollars per year for every speaker phone.
Check the math!
The Polycom SoundStation Conference Phone
The familiar Polycom SoundStation for example has three or more directional microphones and it intelligently adapts and steers the pickup pattern.
That lets it find in focus on the active talker, and cut out most room noise and reverberation.
That’s why some SoundStations can clearly pick up the talkers as far as 20 feet away, and when you’re not talking but listening, a compact wide range loudspeaker system in the SoundStation distributes sound uniformly.
So it’s heard equally well by everyone.
One more thing, HD Voice, makes for more effective conference calls, and all modern Polycom phones are built with HD Voice for full speech fidelity.
Polycom Soundstation 2W Wireless
Polycom is well-know in producing the world best-selling wireless conference phone, the SoundStation 2W which the W is stands for wireless. This model also available in another version which is the Soundstation 2W EX (expandable).
Polycom SoundStation 2W is an analog wireless speakerphone and it’s a very popular model. Chances are if you’ve been in a conference room recently, You’ve probably seen this exact phone sitting on your conference table, or a very similar one.
All it means is that it’s expandable and you can add the additional microphones which are available separately and are as a one package. This would increase the capacity from 8 to 12 people. So it’s for the larger or medium-size official boardroom.
It may sound simple but I am willing to bet if you have one of these phones, you are missing out on a few key features of the phone.
So I’m going to explain a couple different ways that you can use this phone to make phone calls. So obviously the SoundStation 2W can be used as a standard analog telephone, but in addition to that it can also be used to enhance the audio quality of a Skype call made with a computer and a cell phone call made with a cell phone.
Lets take a look at what comes in the box.
What you get with it are:
- Actual main conference phone itself
- The base station because its’ a wireless product
- Battery – which goes in the back of the Polycom conference phone
- Various charger for the battery
- A main unit for the base station
- Instruction manual CD
- Connectivity for your PC
- The sound card (not USB)
- The mobile phone extensions goes in the side – and follow the instructions on display.
Lets take a closer look at the base.
You’ll see a port for the DC power supply An RJ-11 port for the analog telephone line, auxiliary audio output and a wireless connection button.
If you have multiple phones in your facility there is a method of IDing and pairing console and base stations.
On the console you’ll see a port for the DC power supply, a 2.5mm port for connecting the audio adapter cables, microphone expansion port number 1, microphone expansion port number 2 which are present on all models but only active on the SoundStation 2W EX, a lock and a USB port for updating the firmware on the bottom.
Next, lets take a look at a diagram to better understand how this phone works .
The SoundStation 2W is comprised of a base station and a console. The base requires a power supply, while the console only requires a power supply in order o charge the battery . It takes 8 hours to bring the battery up to a full charge.
The SoundStation 2W is a unique solution because it does not require power or a phone line at the conference table, as long as you have power and a phone line in a nearby credenza or down the hall, the SoundStation 2W console will connect wirelessly to the base using DECT 6.0 wireless technology.
It has a wireless range of 150 ft and a 24 hour battery life. It can also be used to enhance the audio quality of a Skype call made with a computer and a cell phone call made with a cell phone.
You may see IP phones that look very similar to this but don’t be confused, soundstation 2W makes calls the same way a regular analog telephone makes calls.
It is a little bit confusing because in the menu there is an “IP Mode” option and I personally think that is a little bit misleading because IP phones are becoming so popular. You have to have an analog line for this phone as this is not an IP version. However, you can use it for Skype if you use the PC. Obviously if you have a digital phone system, you must have an online account to use this wireless system.
But basically the “IP Mode” allows you to place a call with a computer or cell phone when these external devices are connected to the speakerphone with the included adapters.
So the call is being made with an external device, but you’ll be able to hear the call through the Polycom speakers.
One thing I will mention for other tech professionals or people that have to manage wireless frequencies on your facility that DECT 6.0 operates on the 1.9 GHz frequency range and .. just good to be aware of the range is 150 feet.
And also just wanted to point out, I did spec one of these, it was a good solution in the conference room of our Office and that’s because we needed a speakerphone. Something that sounded better than somebodies iPhone set to speaker.
So we needed some enhanced audio but we didn’t want to pull power or a phone line through the floor to the conference table.
So this worked out really nice. We were able to locate the base station down the hall In another room altogether, about 50 to 70 feet away and the phone stays charged when it’s not in use.
It stays plugged in to that DC power supply and then when people need it for a board meeting, they can unplug it bring it to the table.
It’s a completely wireless solution, it’s got a nice rechargeable battery and it seems to work pretty well
You have to have an analog line for this phone as this is not an IP version. However, you can use it for Skype if you use the PC. Obviously if you have a digital phone system, you must have an online account to use this wireless system.
Basically that’s it on the wireless side of things. You got two versions, you got the 2W which is the not expandable which means you can’t put in the extra microphones in. For the main time you have to be quiet which is adequate for your needs for 6 to 8 people in a boardroom; and that’s working from around 5 to 10 feet away and it will still pick up.
The three microphones are extremely sensitive and they are noise cancelling like you have a headset so they reduce the background noise that are found and air conditioning units. It’s an extremely good quality product truly recommended for any medium-sized business that needs a quality conference phone with the full 360 degree range.
It is an ideal – one of the best selling conference phones in the world