Technology Showcase: Conference-room Telephone Systems
Apr 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles
Plain old telephone service gets a boost in conferencing functionality.
The Konftel 300 conference telephone can be connected to standard PSTN circuits, be connected to wireless DECT/GSM telephones or computers, be switched between multiparty calls, and record calls on an SD memory card. Expansion microphones (to increase coverage by up to 750 square feet), headsets, or even a PA system may be connected. The unit uses patented OmniSound 2 technology in an ultrasensitive, omnidirectional microphone and three built-in surround loudspeakers with noise suppression and 7kHz wideband transmission. Individual contacts may be saved in the integrated phonebook, and the conference guide saves up to 20 groups with as many as six numbers each for rapid conference setup. The unit allows calls to be switched and combined between analog lines, mobile phones, and PCs for VoIP through a USB port. Downloadable software upgrades are also available. When connected to a PC, the unit can be used with Skype or other Internet conference-calling programs. In standby mode, it can be used to play music or other audio. The Konftel 300 also offers a security lock port and a display on which menus can be navigated for feature menu setup and operation. Setup menus enable selection of parameters such as ring selection, equalizer, mobile level, screen text, time and date, contact and group setup, recording, and language selection. The Konftel 300 lists for around $750.
The LifeSize high-definition audio-conference phone uses 16 microphones in a patent-pending circular array to provide complete room coverage, and it is equipped with electronic shielding to eliminate the buzz frequently associated with cellular telephones and PDAs. The unit uses MPEG-4 AAC audio and a special titanium loudspeaker driver to provide frequency response up to 16kHz along with speaker detection and echo cancellation. With the company's LifeSize Room and LifeSize Team, the phone can be integrated into a complete videoconferencing application. The phone can connect simultaneously in VoIP on standard SIP, H.323 IP PBX, or IP service and PSTN, running either by PoE or through a PSTN adapter. A 240×64-pixel monochromatic LCD display shows mute, volume control, and other programming and control options. System management and maintenance may be handled through an IP connection using LifeSize Control management software.
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