Ever curious, I thought it worth looking into what kind of HD Voice-capable devices they would be offering. The list of twenty handsets seems quite comprehensive. That bodes well for customers someday actually getting to experience HDVoice.
Just as significantly, the HD Voice capable handsets was easy to identify. The company lists “HD Voice” as a key feature that can be used to search through the entirety of their handset offering. Thus new customers can easily reference this feature while in the process of selecting their new handset.
The prior two installments in this series dealt with interconnecting an audio conference bridge and a Google+ Hangout-On-Air. The Hangout-On-Air allows a limited number of interactive participants with no connectivity to the PSTN. The audio conference allows audio-only participants, including both access via the PSTN and direct SIP connections. The combination allows more people to participate, which is ideal. The fact that it supports HDVoice is also great.
Nice as that solution is, it hasn’t addressed another facet of how we’ve been doing VUC calls. I’ve been struggling with an arrangement for adding production audio to the call along with my own participation. By “production audio” I mean things like a pre-recorded opening or closing, or anything else that might enhance the presentation.
Not long a reader posed this question about USB speakerphone devices;
“Hi Michael – I read your blog article about chromebox for meetings. I’m in the UK and I think there will be good takeup when its launched here but I’m concerned about sound quality mic and speakers in untreated rooms. Have you found any USB table top devices matrix mics with high quality speaker that could be integrated at proportionate cost? – Thanks, John”
It’s an interesting question. As I was answering him via IM it occurred to me that the answer might be worth sharing.
There are a lot of USB attached speakerphones available. I’ve tried quite a number over the years. Some are good. Some are cheap. As you can imagine, rarely are the good ones cheap. The major difference to be considered is whether the device undre consideration is intended for use by an individual or a small group.
The problem with using a less than common Wifi AP is that a manufacturer can say, “we’ve never heard of that make/model” and hope that they are thus absolved of any possible requirement to help troubleshoot the situation. Not that the crew at DoorBot took that stance, but I’ve heard it plenty in prior situations.
It recently occurred to me that there was a way that I could confirm the state of our Wifi at the gate location where we had the DoorBot installed. I could stage a video call over Wifi using tools that I already had on-hand. If I could record a decent quality video call from a Wifi connected mobile device that location then it would prove that our Wi is way-Fi!
Staging this proved to be pretty simple. I pointed my Nexus 7 tablet at the school yard across the street, then established a video call using Talky.io. Talky.io is a free WebRTC-based service from &yet. It runs just fine in Chrome for Android.
One of the realities of my life as a home office worker is that deliveries can be important. Moreover missing deliveries can be extremely inconvenient. On January 1st I installed a DoorBot at our front gate, intent upon giving it a try as the way that we are notified about visitors and more significantly, deliveries.
Our is a fenced yard with a gate at the front. The fenced yard is important for our two Labradors. They have the run of the place when I’m working. A dog door gives them access into my office in the garage apartment. Located in the back of the property it’s not always possible to know when someone is at the gate.
Until January 1st we had been without a doorbell at the gate for over a year. On the mail box there a label advising people to call my cell phone number to reach me.
With respect to deliveries, our usual Fedex and UPS drivers know that if they dogs come to “greet” them that I’m definitely home. The delivery drivers often call me to tell me that they’re waiting, especially if they need a signature. All of this sets up the logic of why something like DoorBot had such appeal. There’s a very real need.
In mid-February I came to realize that I had developed the ability to differentiate the sound of the various delivery vehicles from the school and city buses that can be heard hereabouts. Further, I had camped out on our front port more than once awaiting a late delivery that I could not afford to miss. These facts pointed to the unavoidable reality that DoorBot had failed in its mission at our house. Shortly thereafter I removed it from it’s perch at the front gate.
A good quality cordless phone can be an important tool in the home or home office communications arsenal. In the past I’ve written about my experience with the Gigaset SIP/DECT cordless phones, which began when I discovered their S675 IP model, even before it was offered in North America. I actually order one from LiGo, a leading UK-based online reseller.
That generation of the Gigaset products were especially interesting as they included some IP-connected, SIP-capable models. These SIP/DECT products offer considerable advantages over the combination of an analog connected cordless phone and an ATA. I made the case for such systems way back in 2008. The argument offered then still holds up well in 2014.