How Speakerphones Add Value to Collaboration
Collaboration has always been important in the workplace, but its effectiveness has long been hindered by the available technologies. The need for better collaboration tools has only grown as organizations become distributed, businesses become more globalized, and employees increasingly work from remote locations.
To address those needs, communications technologies have advanced on many fronts, with the result being easier ways to collaborate, as well as more use cases that could not be supported by legacy technologies. Going into a new decade, IT decision-makers have never had more options for getting a great ROI and collaboration technology, and workers have never had better tools to be productive. This article addresses one of those tools, with an emphasis on how current capabilities make it more valuable for collaboration than one might think.
Making the case for speakerphones
Voice is the most natural mode for real-time communication, and telephony has long been the dominant vehicle when workers cannot meet in-person. While telephony has many natural strengths, desk phones are really only suitable for certain use cases, and in today’s workplace there is a wider range of use cases that give rise for other types of endpoints for supporting voice communication.
Speakerphones have been in the market for a long time, but are easy to overlook as workers rely more now on their mobile devices, and as office spaces become more open, there’s more usage of headsets to have private, focused conversations. That said, there is a wide range of scenarios for both one-to-one communication and team-based collaboration, and there are several where today’s speakerphones really provide the best user experience. To illustrate, here are three prime use cases.
- Ad hoc meetings One of the best developments for collaboration technology has been support for informal meetings. Legacy technology limited the scope of collaboration where meetings had to be scheduled based on the availability of rooms equipped with dedicated hardware. There will always be a need for formal meetings in these settings, but today’s faster pace of business demands more agility for getting thing done. One example would be the need to have an impromptu conference call with one or two team members. There may be a rush to hit a deadline, or make a last-minute change to a production spec, or confirm pricing terms to close a deal. Whether you need to do this somewhere in your office, in a hotel, or onsite at a client, there is no better option than using a high-quality, plug-and-play speakerphone.
- Huddle rooms Building on the need for agility, huddle rooms are becoming a staple in the digital workplace. Boardroom settings are still needed, but agility is about enabling workers to meet and get things done quickly, and this means informal, ad hoc modes of collaboration. This is exactly what huddle rooms are designed for, as they provide small, dedicated and accessible spaces for work that cannot get done sitting at a desk. As with a boardroom, huddle rooms need audio conferencing capability, and in these settings, speakerphones are the ideal endpoint.
- Voice-intensive workflows This use case is a bit more specific, but equally applicable for speakerphones. There are many job functions or sets of tasks that require workers to be on the phone either constantly or for long durations. Think about contact center agents, sales people, technical support specialists, etc. Now think about their workplace settings. While some may be in open spaces with no privacy, many people work from a home office, and some have private offices in their workplace. In these latter cases, workers could certainly use a desk phone, or their mobile device, along with a headset. For prolonged calls, though, all of these have drawbacks that are not present with a speakerphone. Not only can a speakerphone provide superior audio quality, but it’s hands-free, with no physical discomfort, and won’t be dependent on battery life.
Speakerphones may not be a full-on proxy for desk phones, but there are some clear use cases where they bring solid value for both communication and collaboration. Today’s offerings address both one-to-one and small group needs, generally up to six people. Being portable, they are ideal for ad hoc meetings, and the price points make them an affordable alternative to the higher-end conference phones used in large enterprises.
Yealink is one of the leading speakerphone providers, and when considering vendors, here are their key points of distinction:
- HD audio quality, and beamforming technology so multiple speakers can converse clearly
- Advanced audio technology to block external noise, such as noise suppression and acoustic echo cancellation
- Touch-button user interface, with all the key features easily accessible on the device itself
- Intelligent connectivity to support multiple endpoints, both via USB and Bluetooth
- Integration with Microsoft Teams via a one-touch Teams button for a rich collaboration experience
You’ll have to decide for yourself if those capabilities meet your needs, but for evaluating speakerphone vendors overall, these should be core considerations. As with any technology purchase, you need to do research to develop a short list, but before that, the needs and business case must be well-defined. This article presents specific use cases for speakerphones, and if these resonate for your business, then the path forward on your buyer’s journey should now be clear.
This paper is sponsored by Yealink