I’ve been working from home regularly for a couple of years now. During that time I’ve been searching for the ideal kit to use to make conference calls to the office. I’ve experimented with a few different solutions and think i’ve finally found a cheap, well performing system that gets the job done.
Below are the various options i’ve tried….with the best at the bottom 😉
1. Cordless landline phone on speaker mode
This was the first and worst solution I tried. It was so bad I thought our old cordless landline was at fault so I went out and bought another newer model…which turned out to be equally poor.
The microphones on both (Panasonic) models i tried were terrible and the speaker seem to be even worse. I wasn’t sure why the Amazon reviews were so good! Conversations would tend to cut out regularly (usually at the worst time possible).
2. Routing calls to an iPhone and using the speaker
This was a much better solution. However I still found that on some calls with lots of attendees in a large conference room I couldn’t get the volume loud enough to hear all the participants. I’d find myself craning over the iphone to try and hear what was going on. The little speaker on phones is a bit tinny and not clear enough when turned up high.
3. Buying a dedicated conference call phone
These are the units we use at work and they are great. This was not something i did in the end as the high cost put me off – mainly because work wouldn’t pay for it 🙁
4. Routing calls to an iPhone and using headphones
This worked quite well for a while. A cheap pair of in ear headphones with a built in mic allowed me to walk about when on boring calls and make a cup of tea etc. I was perfectly happy with this solution until i discovered…….
5. Routing calls to iphone and using a bluetooth speaker
Bingo! I bought one of these fantastic little speakers from Amazon and was blown away with it for playing music around the house and garden.
Simple to connect to phones and tablets, remarkably good/loud sound for it’s tiny size and a great battery life….all for about £15. I’ve since bought a few for friends as I’ve been so pleased with ours.
Then I had the brainwave of using this little speaker for conference calls when working from home. This enabled me to turn up the volume and hear everything that was going on, even on crappy quality lines.
For speaking I continue to use the built in microphone in my iphone – it works just fine just as long as i keep the phone not too far away form me.
This solution works really well and still enables me to be mobile during calls. If i need to get up and wander to the next room I can just crank up the volume before I go. If a cup of tea is needed I just need to carry the speaker and phone down to the kitchen.