Conference Call Equipment for Productive Meetings

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With the wrong conference call equipment, we can lose millions of dollars from simple misunderstandings. Poor sound levels can lead to short tempers, which may lead one party to raise their voice and create a tense dynamic. It's so crucial to invest in conference room hardware that captures the room clearly, so that your team doesn't miss potential business opportunities. Ideally, the equipment should make a long-distance conversation feel like an in-person meeting, where everyone can be comfortable and speak at a normal volume.

In this guide, we've outlined the best hardware options for a successful conference room. Depending on the room's size and layout, your team may want to invest in a smaller or larger conference system to ensure adequate coverage. Meanwhile, the room may need to be treated to reduce acoustic reflections and bass buildup. By answering a few simple questions about the room layout and the audio/video requirements, you'll find the perfect conference call equipment for your team's needs.   

Conference Room Considerations

Before purchasing any equipment, it's important to consider the conference room's limitations. In many cases, the room may be the leading cause of poor sound quality.  

Technology buyers should select their equipment based on the pickup range (i.e. the maximum distance for microphone pickup) and the speakers' audio output. If you’re working with a boardroom set up, you must consider the distance from attendee to the microphone.

Likewise, you must consider the design of the room. If the room consists of hard surfaces or too much empty space, there is a risk of  hearing reverberations. To combat this, we recommend adding some acoustic panels or items like rugs, artwork or curtains to help combat these echos.

Audio Technology Considerations

When it comes to conference call equipment, audio quality is directly linked to productivity. If background noise is persistent, the conference participants will have to expend more mental energy to concentrate, which can lead to "audio fatigue". To deal with unwanted sound, many of today's conferencing systems rely on Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to isolate the dominant audio signal (i.e. the voices). We recommend doing your research to make sure your equipment is using the latest sound technologies to insure the highest quality sound for your meetings. Systems like the YVC-1000 use adaptive echo cancellation and other DSP technologies to eliminate those pesky noises.  

Video Considerations

Audio is definitely the most important element in a conference call, but high-quality video can elevate the experience in an exciting way. Your brain is unbelievably complex, and your senses inform each other when building your perception. For example, different visuals can affect how you hear the same words. These are known as "cross-modal effects".

On one hand, if you see a low-resolution or choppy video signal in a conference call, it can affect how you hear the audio. Conversely, if the audio and video are perfectly synced, you experience the joy of "superadditivity". This is when multiple senses are working together to put your brain in a heightened state, and you are completely in the moment.  

The best video conferencing systems achieve superadditivity, so callers can use body language and facial cues to heighten a conversation. Without crystal-clear and timely video, employees cannot rely on these vital communication tools. All-in-one units like the CS-700 connect audio and video in a synchronized package, with a beamforming microphone and an ultra-wide angle camera lens. The technology falls away, and it feels like you're in the room together.

Let’s take a look at some different room types to get an idea of our recommended equipment types.

  • Huddle Rooms: This is the smallest meeting space in an office, with enough space for a few people to have an impromptu gathering. A wireless conference phone, portable speakerphone, or all-in-one conferencing system (like the CS-700) is the ideal choice here.
  • Medium to Large Conference Rooms: Once the room is large enough to support 10 participants, you'll need a conference system with a stronger pickup range, and enough microphones to capture the entire space. We recommend a conference phone with the ability to daisy-chain more mics, like the YVC-1000 Speakerphone or FLX UC 1500.
  • Multipurpose Rooms: Finally, these versatile rooms require a conference microphone system with flexibility. For the freedom to move and switch the room to your needs, we recommend going with a wireless microphone system, like the Executive Elite. The ability to place mics where needed allows for attendees to be heard no matter the set up.
Ready to experience a high-quality video conference for yourself? Contact one of our Yamaha UC representatives, and learn how our systems can transform your office.