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October 02, 2008

Conference Phones Update

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor

If the company you work for is considering buying new conference phones soon, doing some research into market trends would be a smart idea. After all, although the basic function of a conference phone hasn’t changed — it’s a device that enables three or more people to carry on a group conversation — new features and technologies have entered the scene. Determining which conference phone is best for a particular situation or application means knowing what’s out there.
To get some perspective on this topic, TMCnet caught up with Greg Lamont, manager at, a company that sells conference phones from leading manufacturers including Polycom (News - Alert) and Lifesize. Lamont said that increased competition among conference phone companies in the past few years had lead to better technologies for end-users.
For example, IP conference phones and cell interfaces are two of the more recent entrants to the market.
“Another new feature is the ability to suppress the ‘mobile buzz’ from conference  participants who call in using cell phones,” Lamont told TMCnet.
New technologies and features have encouraged companies to get creative in the ways they use conference phones.
“Companies are continuing to learn that virtual meetings via conference calls are extremely effective saving time and money,” Lamont said. “Companies today are even more ‘global’ than they were five years ago. Conference calling brings these partnerships together in a sensible way.”
Of course, not all companies are the same size, and larger businesses will have different needs than smaller ones. Lamont said that enterprises and small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) both benefit from new conference phones technology, but enterprises may be more likely to stick with basic conferencing calling and then add more advanced features — like video or Webinar capabilities — on the fly. SMBs are perhaps more likely to consider these types of features up-front when switching to new conference phones, if they can afford to do so.
Speaking of cost, when asked to highlight three of the most popular phones sold by, price was a primary consideration for two of his picks: Polycom’s Soundstation 2 and Konftel’s 60W.
The Soundstation 2, in its most basic format (there are optional, expandable features), is very affordable, he said. Pricing is also very competitive for the Konftel 60W, which works with both computers and phone systems, and is portable with handy features like Bluetooth connectivity.
Lamont’s third pick? Polycom’s Wireless expandable model. He said this is a great phone for companies that move meeting locations frequently, because of its portability features.
Conference phones, he said, are about more than just convenience; they’re also a good investment. He predicted that awareness of the benefits associated with these products will continue to grow, since it’s unlikely that people will stop interacting in groups anytime soon.
“With the rising cost of travel and time for face to face meetings, conference phones make sense,” Lamont concluded. “ is the premier provider of the most popular phones on the market. We lead in price and offer live representatives instantly on the phone without having to navigate auto attendants or voice mail. Try us!”
To take Lamont up on his invitation, please visit the Conference Phones channel on, brought to you by

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.

Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Mae Kowalke

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