SCN Hybrid World: 11 speakers for today’s workspace

As workplaces slowly begin to fill up again, conferences in the new normal look different. Whether it’s a conference room, workspace, or home office, speakers need to be flexible for the hybrid era and accommodate both remote employees and in person.

The meeting space itself has also changed. “I think our mindset has changed so much to automatically select greater distances with people and that’s part of COVID that will stay with us,” said Holger Stoltze, senior director of technical sales and marketing for Yamaha Unified Communication. “And that means open meeting space is growing. The whole problem of audio and noise becomes completely new in this environment. »

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Having the right speakerphone with high-quality sound for those present and connected to the call is imperative, but that doesn’t mean manufacturers have had to reinvent the wheel. “It’s not so much about new technology as it is about leveraging a familiar tool in new ways,” said Lauren Simmen, director of product marketing at Crestron. “Having a phone that allows conversation separate from the laptop you use to take notes or adjust that critical PowerPoint can be a very effective means of communication.”

When looking for the best speaker, it’s important to keep use cases in mind. Space and location are obviously a priority, but there are a wide range of other factors.

“IT professionals should consider devices that allow users to participate in conference calls without all the logistical hassle,” said Tonya Brilon, senior product marketing manager at Logitech. “This can be done by prioritizing audio, ease of use and connectivity.” Some of these considerations include sound control, one-touch meeting controls, professional-grade audio with noise-canceling microphones, connection points, and ease of use and management.

In today’s world of video conferencing, there’s another key thing to look for: certification. From Microsoft Teams to Zoom, having a certified device saves a lot of hassle in the long run. “People seek certification for many reasons,” Stoltze said. “Going with and through certification assures end users that the product will work.”

“Having this ‘stamp of approval’ from major cloud providers gives IT teams extra confidence that they are providing the right tools to keep their employees productive,” Bilon added.

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Of course, different speakers offer different features, technologies, and certifications. Here are some current speaker offerings from several manufacturers.

Atlona AT-CAP-SP100

Atlona AT-CAP-SP100

(Image credit: Atlona)

Atlona’s new speakerphone is part of its Captivate family, designed as a high-performance video conferencing solution. With Bluetooth, USB and analog connectivity, it’s easy to connect to any device. All voices are heard clearly with 360-degree coverage and six-element microphones that pick up voices up to 16 feet away. Innovative acoustic echo cancellation and noise reduction help deliver a crystal-clear experience in the boardroom or home office. Add eight hours of battery life for a busy day on the go.

Talking Biamp TTM-X

Talking Biamp TTM-X

(Image credit: Biamp)

The TTM-X low-profile 16-element digital array microphone joined the Parlé family in 2019 for use in Tesira systems. The AVB-compatible microphone measures just 4.3 inches in diameter, making it portable and able to mount on any desk or table without causing clutter. Biamp’s Beamtracking technology brings crystal-clear sound to the meeting room by intelligently tracking and mixing voices, and four 90-degree zones provide full 360-degree coverage, so the entire meeting space can be heard. For clarity and more efficient processing, each microphone uses an acoustic echo cancellation channel.

ClearOne CHAT 170/CHATAttach 170

ClearOne CAT 170

(Image credit: ClearOne)

The CHAT 170 and CHATAttach 170 are ideal for meeting spaces ranging in size from a small space to a conference room. Powered by ClearOne’s HDConference and Distributed Echo Cancellation technology, the CHAT 170 delivers clear, natural sound through advanced audio processing and noise cancellation features. Three built-in microphones paired with a 360-degree sound pickup ensure anyone within 10 feet can be heard, but its intelligent first-mic priority activates the microphone closest to the speaking participant, helping to eliminate noise. amplification of surrounding noise. Perfect for in-person or remote conferencing, the USB Group Speakerphone is fully compatible with Skype for Business as well as WebEx, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, and more.

Crestron Flex Mini Tabletop

Crestron Flex Mini Tabletop

(Image credit: Crestron)

With many considerations available, such as one-touch connectivity, enterprise-grade security, and exceptional audio clarity, the Flex Mini Tabletop is perfect for the home, office, or many hybrid environments such as rotating desks and halls. of meeting. Its four-mic system provides a range of 10 feet in all directions. Available in audio-only or with an integrated camera (150-degree viewing angle) for video conferencing, the Flex Mini Tabletop features a 7-inch touchscreen that allows users to start, join, or manage a meeting with a simple touch. pressure.

EPOS EXPANSION 40

EPOS EXPANSION 40

(Image credit: EPOS)

EPOS’ latest offering, the EXPAND 40 mobile, enables seamless collaboration on the go or in the conference room. With 18 hours of battery life and multiple connection options, the portable speakerphone is ideal for personal use in remote environments as well as small to medium-sized meeting rooms, with capacities for up to eight people . The wireless Bluetooth speaker, which also offers USB-C cable connectivity, is easy to set up and plug-and-play so participants can join calls from anywhere without sacrificing exceptional audio quality every time. end of the call. The EXPAND 40 features three beamforming microphones designed to isolate and deter reverberation or ambient noise, delivering premium sound.

Jabra Speak 750

(Image credit: Jabra)

Jabra speakers come in many shapes and sizes, like the Speak 810, which can handle meetings of up to 15 people. However, the Jabra Speak 750 is small, portable and easily connects to laptops and smartphones. Its Bluetooth capabilities extend up to 98 feet and can accommodate up to six people with connectivity options for two devices, enabling clear audio through its 360-degree omnidirectional microphone design. The Jabra Speak 750 is certified for Microsoft Teams, Teams Rooms and Skype for Business as well as United Communications platforms such as Cisco. In addition, it includes a carrying case for transport.

Logitech Logi docking station

(Image credit: Logitech)

Logi Dock is an all-in-one docking station that was designed for home offices and personal workspaces, but has also become a popular choice for chat rooms and “telephone booth” rooms. . The device has six beamforming microphones and a built-in speaker that captures voices clearly and cuts out background noise. Logi Dock is small and connects and powers multiple devices to avoid desktop clutter. It’s also multi-functional – although it’s compact, it delivers powerful sound allowing for an immersive and stereophonic experience for enjoying music.

MAXHUB CPU BM21

(Image credit: MAXHUB)

This compact, circular Bluetooth speaker is ideal for a wide range of uses, whether working from home or hosting online trainings. 360-degree omnidirectional voice pick-up enables high-quality calls through high-performance built-in speakers. Its six microphone arrays and intelligent noise reduction and echo cancellation ensure that the presenter or meeting participant speaking is clearly heard up to 16 feet away. Setup is quick and easy for this plug-and-play speaker, and the UC BM21 can connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth, USB, or an audio cable. It has a long-lasting battery, with up to eight hours of playback on a single charge.

Synchronization poly 20

(Image credit: Poly)

The Poly Sync 20 is designed for an active life. With 20 hours of portable use on a full charge, the Poly Sync 20 is a USB/Bluetooth smart speaker that can serve as your music source as easily as your connection to a meeting. Its steerable three-microphone array helps reduce echo and outside noise, and its full-duplex audio design allows multiple people to speak simultaneously and always be heard. Ideal for huddle and meeting rooms as large as 13 x 13 feet, its multiple microphones have a range of 7 feet. Calls are clearer with the Sync 20’s bass-reflex system with two passive radiators for natural sound with deep bass.

Shure Stem Chart

Shure Stem Chart

(Image credit: Shure)

Part of the Stem ecosystem, the table is ideal for video conferencing and is compatible with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and more. PoE simplifies connectivity and eliminates clutter. The Stem Table’s downward-firing speaker separates it from the microphone, ensuring attendees are heard clearly without distractions. Combined with nine beamforming microphones, Stem Table’s innovative technology provides full-duplex capabilities to limit attenuation for maximized microphone-to-speaker negotiation. The Stem Table is optimal for table tops and flat surfaces – and was chosen for classrooms as well as conference rooms, with its microphones capable of picking up voices in appropriate socially distant spaces.

Yamaha YVC-330

(Image credit: Yamaha)

The YVC-330 helps adapt to life outside of conference rooms with its innovative SoundCap technology. What makes SoundCap unique is that while many speakers focus on capturing audio, Yamaha’s technology limits noise outside of conversation, making this speaker ideal for open workspace. With its far-field noise reduction and human voice activity detection, the YVC-330 can identify and focus on human voices, eliminating outside noise from an open workspace. With Bluetooth and USB connectivity, the compact YVC-330 is an ideal option inside or outside the conference room.

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