There are many ways we use our speakerphones today. We use them at home, when we travel, and in small meeting rooms and huddle spaces in the workplace. Many apps now support voice and video calling from our mobile devices and we often need to join these calls as a team. This is where most personal speakerphones fall short and where a high-quality speakerphone capable of group calling can really make a difference.

Here is a countdown of 7 important features to look for in a speakerphone :

Feature #7 – Full Duplex/Echo Cancellation

Anyone who has purchased a portable Bluetooth speaker for playing music and left it paired to their smartphone when an incoming call came in has likely said “Let me call you back” and quickly unpaired or powered off their portable music speaker before returning the call. There is an art and science to full duplex speakerphone design—especially when it comes to supporting echo cancellation. It’s important to choose a speakerphone from a vendor like Polycom with a “gold standard” reputation for conference phone and speakerphone design.

Feature #6 – Durability

Is your speakerphone portable? What happens if you drop it? Will it crack? Will it still work? Cast aluminum is more durable than plastic. What happens if you spill your drink on it? Look for a speakerphone with an IP64 water and dust resistance rating to protect your device from accidental spills. The Polycom VoxBox speakerphone has a cast aluminum enclosure and is IP64 rated.

Feature #5 – Bluetooth and USB support

Not all USB speakerphones support Bluetooth, but most Bluetooth speakerphones will have a USB port. Make sure your speakerphone supports both. While plugging into a laptop with USB is easy to do, smartphones and tablets will need Bluetooth to connect.

Feature #4 – Integration with your apps

Your speakerphone should work seamlessly with HID-supporting soft clients like Skype and Skype for Business. This means you can do specific things like mute and unmute, answer or hang up a call, raise or lower the volume from either the speakerphone or the soft client and the indicators on both the speakerphone and the soft client match. It’s a seamless and integrated experience.

Feature #3 – Bring Your Own Conference (BYOC)

For group calls, ideally you want a speakerphone with a minimum of 3 or 4 directional microphones and the ability to intelligently mix and balance the microphone inputs so you can hear everyone in the room clearly. Personal speakerphones with only one omnidirectional microphone will pick up more room noise and will typically only have an effective microphone pickup range of 3 to 4 feet. Polycom VoxBox has 4 microphones and a microphone range of 10 feet (3 meters). Feel free to get up from the table and write on the whiteboard. You’ll still be heard.

Feature #2 – Noise blocking

Background noises may simply be an irritation or they can in entirely derail your call. We’ve all been on calls when someone stops the conversation and says “Can everyone please go on mute!”. Noise blocking keeps you from having to continuously hover over the mute button to mute and unmute your end of the call. Make sure that noise blocking is on your speakerphone’s features list. A noise free conversation is a more focused and productive conversation. Polycom VoxBox has the same NoiseBlockTM feature that you find on our state-of-the-art Trio conference phones.

Feature # 1 – Great sound quality—on both ends of your call

Our time is valuable. Conversations need to flow without interruption. There is no substitute for being understood on our calls—even small differences in speakerphone performance add up to big differences in fatigue and attention—and our ability to work as a team, to make decisions, and to get things done. Choosing a quality speakerphone can pay for itself many times over if you consider the cost of lost opportunities or lost time from using an inferior speakerphone.

If you are looking for a high-quality speakerphone with these features, Polycom VoxBox has them all. Visit www.polycom.com/voxbox to learn more.