VTech…Really? Yes, VTech!

vtech-vs704-erisstation“Well, surprise…surprise!” – Gomer Pyle, USMC

You might know VTech from the telephone aisle at your nearest big box retailer. The Vancouver-based company has been a powerhouse in the affordable cordless phone space. Also the kiddy-centric game console space. But did you know that VTech makes business phones? And conference phones, too…apparently.

I didn’t until I recently read something on No Jitter where Graham Williams, VP of Business Phones, was interviewed on the topic of Better Audio Conferences. This was followed up today by a First Look post from VoIP Supply that provides some info on their various business products.

The companies VS704 ErisStation Conference Phone, with four detachable DECT microphones, looks especially interesting.

Who says there’s nothing new under the sun?

#VUC477: Alan Smith Presents The Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e

Logitech P710e speakerphone 300pxFriday, February 21st the VUC will be host to Alan Smith, Senior Global Product Manager, Audio Products; Logitech for Business at Logitech. Alan will be introducing use to one of their newest audio tools, the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e.

The P710e is a USB connected desktop speakerphone like many others before it. In addition to USB connectivity it sports a Bluetooth radio, allowing it to be paired to up to 8 different devices. It can act as a stand for a cell phone or tablet, so you can enjoy high-quality hands-free audio for video calls without your arm going numb or giving your partner shaky-cam inspired motion sickness.

I have had one of these devices for the past couple of months and found it very useful. So much so that I’m working on a full-length review, although that’s still likely a week or two down the road.

– Michael “End Point” Graves

P.S. – If you’re the sort who likes to be prepared you can check out my past experiences with portable speakerphones here:

WebRTC: Ripples In Fabric Of Cyberspace

TheVoicePodcastOnThinkPadX1CarbonWith every passing day the news of WebRTC spreads to a larger audience. As the audience grows it becomes more diverse. It has moved beyond the developer community to those who might leverage the technology in some real manner. It’s interesting to track how the technology is being conveyed to an ever broader, less technical audience. Given that these things happen online, it’s a bit like watching ripples in the fabric of cyberspace.

Media Style and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in Ottawa produce a podcast known as The Voice on issues relating to business communications and marketing. The December 9 episode (#63) was entitled ”Let’s Talk WebRTC with Lawrence Byrd and Mark Lindsay.” Lawrence Byrd was previously with Avaya and contributes to the No Jitter and WebRTC World blogs. Mark Lindsay is President of the Ottawa Product Management Association.

The podcast is an interesting illustration of how the news of WebRTC is getting around. I cannot take issue with the information presented. It’s a nice intro to the topic presented by knowledgeable, well-spoken people. In fact I, commend them for the effort.

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Skype Offers Tips For Improved Audio and Video Quality

Skype-Jabra-Jims-book-300pxMatthew de Beer has penned a couple of recent blog posts over at Skype’s The Big Blog. The most recent one is called, “See no evil, hear no evil – Tips for audio and video quality” and offers some sounds advice on the use of the mute button. It also offers guidance on lighting considerations for video calls. These are both simple, but helpful tips.

I’m constantly amazed at how many people have video calls in a completely ad hoc manner, giving no thought at all to how they look, or the situation around them. A little thought about lighting can dramatically improve your experience with video calling.

Mr. de Beer also had an earlier post entitled, “Gearing For Success.” In this case he promotes the use of a headset over the built-in microphone & speakers common to a laptop.  I concur, but I would make the case more fervently.

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Holiday Gift Idea: Jabra SPEAK 410 USB Speakerphone

Jabra SPEAK 410 USB SpeakerphoneOk, you’re here, so that makes you something of a geek. Perhaps you have another telephony geek in your life, or your family are asking for a Christmas list. Whatever the case, a good USB speakerphone is really handy and makes nice present.

I’ve used a number of these things over the years. For the past few months I’ve had a Jabra SPEAK 410 on the corner of my desk.

Little round-and-loud has proven to be a solid performer. I’ve used it to participate in Google Hangouts, with Skype and GotoMeeting as well as various SIP soft phones. You might have seen me show it in a recent VUC call with Logitech. Whatever the client software, in every case it worked well. It sounds great to my ear and conveys my voice clearly to the far end.

The microphone is omni-directional, effective to about one yard. That makes the SPEAK 410 ideal for desk use, even if you have a person on either side of the desk.

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Invoxia’s AudiOffice Now Delivering

Invoxia AudiOffice Facetime 300pxInvoxia’s NVX 610, which I reviewed not long ago, is an ambitious device, tackling various communication and entertainment functions all by way of an iOS host. With the NVX 610 selling for $599, it’s many capabilities come at a price.

Earlier this week Invoxia announced that they have started to deliver their new AudiOffice device. Announced at CES earlier this year, AudiOffice looks nearly identical to the NVX 610. The device is more targeted in its feature set, acting as a hardware dock for the purposes of desktop telephony applications.

Like the NVX, AudiOffice supports cellular calls, one SIP account and one Skype account. HDVoice support remains in the form of G.722 via SIP and SILK with respect to Skype calls. Compared to it’s larger sibling AudiOffice has fewer microphone (2 vs 8) and speaker (4 vs 8) elements.

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