Phoenix Audio Beams Up A New SIP Conference Phone

Phoenix Audio at InfoComm2015InfoComm 2015 is next week, which has swayed the nature of press releases filling my in-box. While most are less than interesting, there was one from Phoenix Audio Technologies that piqued my interest. They have introduced an intriguing new device they call the Condor. Condor is not a typical SIP end-point.

Condor is an audio pickup appliance, essentially a microphone array with some sophisticated on-board DSP capability. With an on-board SIP client it’s one component of a huddle room conferencing solution. Add a large HDTV with built-in speakers and you have a complete solution for audio conferencing. You’re also well on your way to video conferencing.

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The UC Architects Podcast: Walking The HDVoice Walk

UC Architects in Lenovo X-1-CarbonBack in 1984 Ric Ocasek of The Cars quite famously sang, “You might think I’m crazy.” That sentiment underscores how I feel about HDVoice as a tool for podcasters. It’s a constant source of amazement to me that so many podcasters, even some in the Enterprise UC business, still publish podcasts with audio quality in the finest narrowband tradition of the PSTN circa 1937.

In the past I have occasionally called attention to these offerings. I see them as  a telecom version of The Emperors New Clothes. This has given rise to a reputation for being something of an audio snob, a not entirely unfounded assertion. However, a fellow Canuck one opinioned, “that the medium is the message.” While McLuhan was addressing television, I hold his assertion to be equally valid with respect to UC podcasts.

I am truly trying to shed my curmudgeonly audiophile image. It gives me great pleasure to note that The UC Architects current podcast, while episode 48 in their series, the first that I have encountered, is produced in lovely HDVoice. Kudos to the team for making the effort!

Their podcast is focused upon things Microsoft, from Exchange to Lync (aka Skype-For-Business.) That’s certainly a big topic area.

As a SOHO user, I may not be in their target audience, but I commend them for making the effort to deliver a podcast the goes beyond traditional telephony as it’s means of production.

Deal Alert Revisited: Logitech H820e Cordless Headset

I don’t normally like to repeat myself, but you may recall that about ten days ago I tipped you to a deal on the Logitech H820e cordless DECT headset? That deal, which was $79, eventually expired. Today I see that the same reseller is making the offer again. This time it’s priced at just $69, with no shipping!

Again, these are “recertified” devices with a 90 day warranty. They are USB plug-and-play, HDVoice-capable, Microsoft® Lync™ and Cisco® compatible. They should work with any soft client. Logitech also claims up to 10 hours of talk time and 300 feet of walkabout range.

This time I could not resist. I ordered a couple. One for me to try and one to be gifted onward.

Revisiting The Polycom SoundStation IP5000

One of the stickier lessons from my youth was understanding the value of using the right tool for the task at hand. This is the belief underlying my oft-stated assertion that you should never use a speakerphone when a headset or conference phone is more appropriate. A headset is ideal for one person, a speakerphone might service two-or-three people in an ad hoc gathering around a desk. A larger group demands a proper conference phone.

Back in 2010 I was fortunate to be able to review the Polycom SoundStation IP 5000 SIP conference phone. It’s an ideal device for someone who has a large office or small meeting room. It microphone array easily accommodates a group of 4-6 people around a small conference table. It’s physical size ensures that it won’t be in the way.

Like many things bearing the Polycom name, it’s a high-quality device featuring bone fide Polycom HDVoice. Such quality is not without a price. However, I recently found the SoundStation IP 5000 offered on Amazon for a very attractive $285.

That price is not much more than a decent quality desk phone, making it ever more practical to put a proper SIP conference phone at the far end of that executive office or in the small meeting room. At that price even very-SMBs can afford the right tools to communicate well in a small meeting situation.

Deal Alert: Plantronics Voyager Legend BT Headset For $39

Tis the season to be frugal. Does you holiday gift list include someone who could use a premium Bluetooth headset? Here’s a good candidate; Daily Steals is today offering the Plantronics Voyager Legend for just $39.

This the very headset that I have been using for the past year. It’s the follow-on to the Voyager Pro HD that I reviewed in-depth. It’s improved in almost every way.

Amazon has the device listed at around $70, while MRSP is $99. That make the $39 offer very attractive indeed. That is, if you need such a trinket. It’s too good an offer not to share.

Update 12/8/2013: Not a day or two after I saw this offer I saw another online discount store offering the same device for $109, marked down from a reported $129 list price. That’s just silly since Amazon has the device (Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset – Retail Packaging – Black) for just $69.

Deal Alert: Plantronics Savor M1100 BT Headset

savor_m1100_cThis morning’s email reveals that Daily Steals is offering the Plantronics Savor M1100 BT headset for a rather modest $20. While not a device that I’ve tried myself the M1100 was well reviewed by TMC back in 2012 when it first shipped.

The review includes a good deal of technical detail about its capabilities. The fact that it supports wideband audio and A2DP are key features in my realm.

Plantronics own page for the product indicates that it’s been discontinued. After 18 months that completely to be expected. If you need a BT headset, it’s hard to see how you could go wrong with this M1100 for a paltry $20.