The needs for a VoIP changes dramatically for each user, but for businesses it’s highly likely that the ability to use conferencing – where multiple users connect to the same call – will be one of the most integral. Because of the importance of this feature, it’s not surprising that it’s often included in most VoIP services. However, the ability to perform conference calls is worth nothing without proper equipment, especially since every member of the call will want to be perfectly understood by anyone joining the call. To achieve this it’s necessary to buy a VoIP-compatible conference phone or speakerphone, which is designed to handle conference calls with ease regardless of the number of participants. In fact, speakerphones are just like regular desk phones; there is a wide range of options to choose from and setting them up is a breeze.
How to Pick the Right Speakerphone
Although the market is full of various affordable conference phones, there are plenty of things to consider before picking a device. One such deciding factor is the cost of the phone, but remember that price should always be the very last thing to worry about before deciding.
As such, the first thing to do is to determine where the phone will be placed and how many people will use it. The general rule of thumb is that cheaper, less advanced phones are suitable for less than five participants in a small conference room, whereas more advanced phones can be placed in bigger conference rooms or even board rooms to be used by 10-20 people or more.
Another thing to consider is how the phone will be powered, whether by AC adapter, batteries, USB cable or even Ethernet cable. But determining if the phone should communicate with the phone system via wireless signals (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi) or plain internet cables is just as important, especially considering the layout of the office and its power sockets. It also smart to check whether the chosen phone is even compatible with your VoIP provider – a step that can obviously be omitted if the device is purchased directly from the VoIP provider.
There are plenty of quality speakerphones to choose from, but with these three devices satisfaction is guaranteed:
Polycom SoundStation IP 5000
Although the SoundStation IP 5000 can be purchased preconfigured from VoIP companies like RingCentral and Phone.com, its PoE version is available for less than $250 on Amazon.
Jabra Speak 510
There are two ways to purchase this Skype-certified speaker, either by buying it directly from the manufacturer for the original $149 price or by visiting Amazon, where it costs about $110.
Conferencing With VoIP
Regardless of which speakerphone is purchased, there is still need to connect the device to the phone system. Thankfully, setting up a new conference phone isn’t any more complicated than doing the same thing with a desk phone, but when it’s a device intended to be paired with a computer or mobile phone then it’s usually ready to use the moment it’s plugged in.
When it comes to using the phone, there are two things to pay attention to. The first is that the phone should belong to a separate extension in order to prevent it from constantly ringing and to provide a separate channel for important callers. As for calls with tens or even hundreds of participants on the line, it’s better to opt for a conference bridge that doesn’t require linking the device to a separate extension. Instead, conferencing is done this way via a virtual room, which can only be accessed by calling a specific phone number and then providing a one-time access code.
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