Are conference call/room phones still required in 2019 & beyond?

If you’re reading this article, like others, it’s probably because you’re trying to make up your mind about buying something like a £300 Polycom conference room phone, or seeking an alternative. There’s a few options, all of which have their positives and negatives, of which, we’ll now take a look at now:

 

Polycom or alternative conference room phone

Positives:

  • Great for general use in a large conference room (centre of table for all to huddle around)
  • Offers good audio quality from that line, but doesn’t necessarily make the audio better from other lines (participants elsewhere)

Negatives:

  • Expensive
  • Audio only
  • Can only use ‘dial in/out’ services

 

Landline for conference calling

Positives:

  • You don’t need anything extra – simply pick up and dial in with regular landline

Negatives:

  • Fixed location
  • Audio only
  • Can only use dial in/out services
  • Not great if several people on same line need to listen/discuss

 

Smartphone

Positives:

  • Utilise current smartphone
  • Audio, visual and screen share possibilities
  • Can utilise smartphones audio quality technology
  • Mobile
  • Can use loud speaker for a few people to listen in/discuss

Negatives:

  • Not great if more than just a few people need to talk/discuss
  • Making use of local network coverage quality – could impact audio

 

Bluetooth speaker phone

Positives:

  • A cheap alternative to a conference room phone
  • Mobile – take with you anywhere as it fits in palm of your hand
  • Good for getting numerous people involved in call

Negatives:

  • Need to connect to a smartphone (utilises your phones connection to conference call)
  • Depending on the Bluetooth speaker, audio quality may not be great

 

Conclusions

If you’re working in a large corporation, we’d always recommend having Polycom or similar as a standalone, always static, conference room phone. Smaller SME/travelling sales team? You may want to provide them with a supplementary Bluetooth speak (and mic) – with substantial cost benefits. Only ever you or a couple of others on the call from your line? Landline or smartphone are more than good enough, especially these days, where conference call service providers offer HD audio within the software on their hosted call services, thus, you don’t necessarily require an expensive phone system, like you would’ve required maybe a decade ago.