With all the technology innovation that is happening in VoIP at the moment, it’s hard to keep up with the gadgets and hardware that are constantly landing on the market. But these are often quite innovative in their own right and help enhance the experience of a VoIP call, either through high-quality functionality, or by being simple, good fun.
Here are our picks for some of the coolest gadgets for VoIP technology:
If you can’t afford an expensive telepresence setup in your office (and for most SMBs, that’s going to be the case), then you may find yourself trying to use a webcam in the conference room, and that’s not a great experience either.
Enter Logitech, which has released this USB-powered video conferencing gadget that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Lync, Skype, Vidyo and Cisco (and any other popular video conferencing software you might be using). This is the best way to add video to your voice chats in a professional setting.
This tiny little device is only slightly larger than a credit card, but acts as a portable charger for almost any MicroUSB or Apple device you might be using. Because it’s so small and lightweight it’s effortless to carry around, and if you’re a mobile person, you might just value the extra battery life it provides your technology when you’ve got an important meeting to phone into and the juice is running low.
For the mobile VoIP user this is the perfect replacement to the desk phone. You plug your iPhone into the system, and you can then use it as a conventional telephone handset and hands-free speakerphone when in the office. It works seamlessly with Bluetooth-enabled mobile UC apps, too, including Cisco Mobile for iPhone, Microsoft Lynch for iPhone, Avaya one-X for iPhone, and CounterPath Bria iPhone Edition. It will also keep the phone charged when you’re at your desk. Note, there isn’t currently a model for iPhone 5 and up, but Altigen has one ‘coming soon.’
Plantronics is the master at enterprise-grade sound equipment, and the MX500I is a perfect example of that. This comfortable headset is suitable for VoIP, cordless and mobile calls, is lightweight and sits under the ear rather than over it. The single-ear design allows the user to also tune in to conversations around them while conversing on the phone. The Headset’s microphone reduces wind and motion noise (which is especially useful if you’re walking around outside while using it), and has an easy volume adjustor and one-touch mute button to help cope with noisy environments.
The Grandstream GXV3275 is an inexpensive videophone that is perfect for small businesses, homes, or anywhere else where you might want to add a screen to your phone call. The screen itself is a 7-inch colour touch screen running Android, and can be used for more than just phone calls – the Grandstream also has integrated WiFi, a built-in web browser and HDMI connectivity, making it a handy device to do some research on while you’re talking, or even install in a small board room.
This little VoIP phone isn’t especially functional – it’s a basic USB VoIP phone that works with Skype and a few other consumer VoIP solutions. But that hardly matters because it flips up just as Captain Kirk did with his on the TV show and features classic sound effects. That’s right, this is the ultimate in nerd gifts for the gadget nut, and one of the coolest VoIP toys we’ve seen to date.
There are some great VoIP apps on both iPhone and Android. There’s the obvious candidates, such as Skype (which has some value to business through Skype Manager and Skype Connect, which allows a user to create accounts for employees and then integrate them with the company’s existing IP-PBX phone system). But there are other options too, such as the full-featured Media50fone, which is designed specifically for integration into a wide range of enterprise IP-PBX systems, and Fuze, which is specifically for the Fuzebox enterprise voice and videoconferencing platform.