What are Conference Phone Systems?
Conference phones are the tabletop hardware appliances that facilitate VoIP calls between groups of people in office meeting rooms.
Multiple stakeholders may be speaking and/or listening on each end, and more than two parties may join the call. Most vendors offer multiple models designed for different room sizes, with different aesthetics/displays.
Key Considerations for Buyers
The following are some of the key considerations for buyers who are evaluating conference phone systems:
Room size - Some conference phones are designed specifically for large boardrooms and meeting rooms; others are designed for small meeting rooms or individual offices. Most products out the estimated microphone range and a maximum number of participants the phone can handle.
Audio quality - Echo cancellation, noise reduction, and other acoustic features may be more or less important based on the shape, size, and composition of the room.
Scalability - Some conference phones offer the ability to extend capabilities with additional microphones, web cameras, Bluetooth devices, etc.
Phone display/ease of use - Some conference phones have touchscreen displays, while others have LED screens with simple dial pads. Users should be able to make, answer, and end calls easily, as well as switch between speakerphone and headset or handset (if applicable).
Power source - Some conference phones are Power over Ethernet (PoE), while others are USB powered or wireless, but need to be recharged. When evaluating a conference phone system's power source, buyers should think about: phone placement, microphone and speaker range, location of cords or other equipment.
Conference phone system should be compatible with your organization's VoIP provider and other communication technologies.
Some conference phones also include call handling and call recording features.
Conference phones range in price from around $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on features.