Speakerphones for Conference Calls

With this new speakerphone, you don't have to sound distant at all.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the November 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

I get involved in a lot of conference calls, and I've found that all speakerphones have one thing in common: They simply don't work. Unless all conferers are huddled within three feet of a squawk box, they sound like they're gargling at the bottom of a well. I can't hear spokesfolk who turn away, walk around the room or, as often happens, hold their hands over their mouths simulating laughter while pointing at the speakerphone.

Then there's the duplicity of the term "full-duplex." It's supposed to mean both parties can give and take as freely as on a telephone. No way. With the usual less-than-full-duplex hardware, my fellow gabbers can't hear me interrupting unless they shut up--greatly reducing my opportunities to badger and pontificate. On their end of the line, it's tough to place a tethered speakerphone where everyone can gather around comfortably.

Note to future interviewees: Please buy ClearOne's MAXAttach Wireless; it solves all these problems. The action end of the $800 (street) conferencing system is a pair of executive black speaker discs about the size of Olympic discuses. Each is a fully functional telephone with dialing pad, phone book, digital LCD and omnidirectional speaker dome. They take their wireless voice signals from a base station that plugs into any phone jack.

The battery-powered pods work in concert--up to four can be strategically placed for optimum coverage. A trio of microphones on each default to the mic closest to a talker, eliminating that common cave effect. They automatically cancel echo and background noise and adjust to talkers loud and soft.

The pods are advertised to work up to 150 feet from the base station, so naturally, I had to push that limit. I installed the base unit in an upstairs bedroom, then chatted while carrying a pod around until I was conferencing out in the backyard on the other side of the house.

Suffice to say, no matter where they sit in the conference room or on which end of the phone line, everyone comes across MAXAttach Wireless loud and clear.


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