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Hold a Teleconference Anywhere

In your car, at your hotel, in the airport, at a trade show--this little gadget will let you hold a teleconference just about anywhere.
January 1, 2007
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/171934

State and local prohibitions against holding a cell phone while driving don't have to impede your mobility. Just buy one of those new luxury cars to use as a cell phone dock. Plan B is to spend $150 (street) for Spracht's Aura Mobile BT, an ultrasmall speaker that can wirelessly connect to a cell phone or plug into any hotel room or trade show landline for teleconferencing on the go.

About the size of a pack of index cards, Aura fits easily in a shirt pocket or purse and connects via Bluetooth to a cell phone or laptop for hands-free calling. A clever retractable clip pops right out of the back of the 9-ounce device to hold it securely in place on an automobile visor. The clip disappears automatically when disengaged, letting Aura lay flat on a car console or desktop. It comes with both the traditional AC adapter and one of those cigarette lighter/power connector thingies for recharging in the car. Also included are the cables needed for connecting to traditional desk and cordless phones or to a Wi-Fi router or desktop PC for VoIP calls.

Aura performed well in all those connection scenarios, including speakerphone calls in racket-filled places. Its 3-watt amplifier and dual 1-inch speakers put out good--not exactly great--sound. But transmitting voices over varying distances presents unique challenges not encountered with handsets or headsets.

To address those challenges, Aura uses its own patented SoundClear signal processor, which provides full-duplex sound without that on/off, walkie-talkie effect that makes speakerphones so annoying. Participants on both sides of a conversation can talk and hear simultaneously. SoundClear also dynamically adjusts to room acoustics, filtering out an amazing amount of background noise. The Aura user's voice comes through the other end of the line particularly well, especially if the device is 2 to 3 feet away--about car-visor distance for passengers. If needed, a free clip-on microphone eliminates that cave effect you get when moving away from any speakerphone's mic.

Is Aura as clear as holding a phone up to your ear? No. But it is an incredibly small, ergonomic masterpiece that's very effective under battlefield conditions.