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Sneak Peak at the New Phoenix Spider IP Speakerphone to be Debuted at Enterprise Connect

March 9, 2014 | David S. Maldow, Esq.


Today, Phoenix Audio announced the release of their latest audio solution, the Spider. Our TPO News audience is probably well aware of Phoenix Audio and their powerful business class audio peripherals. This newest model appears to be a complete revamp from the ground up, in terms of appearance, design and usability. It also includes all of the functionality and power under the hood that we have come to expect from Phoenix.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a hands on demo in time for this announcement, but we will be checking it out in person next week at the Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando (Booth #531) and will be sure to follow up with our thoughts. We have reviewed previous Phoenix products and were very pleased by the audio quality, and expect the Spider to be even better, based on a briefing by Jonathan Boaz from Phoenix where he shared some of the inner specs.


One thing that may not be obvious is that this is really two devices in one. It is a standard IP speakerphone, with full functionality for today's IP-PBX environments (PTSN option available), and it is a USB peripheral, allowing it provide the audio for a DIY videoconferencing setup. It's a bit strange how we take it for granted that every conference room should have two high quality audio systems, one for the phone and one for video. Why not use one audio system for both and make things easier on your users? As an additional bonus it can be used as a bridge between the two, allowing remote people to "phone in" to a videoconference.


What is very obvious, from the short video, is that Phoenix put a lot of development into the design and UI of the Spider. Jonathan and I discussed how we need to move past the days of requiring an IT guy to make simple calls, but we can't expect users to learn new complicated UIs. It has to be super intuitive and easy.


In addition to being functional and powerful, the Spider is sexy. It looks cool from the touchpad-like display to the colored indicator lights on the disc. I particularly like the mix of form and function in how the blue lights indicate which microphone is in use, as the device automatically tracks different speakers and their locations around the room.


Why do I care so much about appearance? Because it matters. When potential clients and partners visit your office and see modern, well designed, cool equipment, it reflects well on your company. A good conference room should be the best equipped and best looking room in the office (other than perhaps the CEO's office). It should have the best furniture, the best art, and any communication or presentation tools should be attractive as well as high powered. The Spider is Phoenix's answer to those who don't want to choose between good looks and performance.

Tech Brief For more info on the importance of audio quality please this free Technology Brief from TPO News. Quality Audio is Crucial for Visual Collaboration: A Quick Note for Users, Vendors, and Integrators of Collaboration Technology. Video-based collaboration is an exciting and empowering business tool. But with all the focus on video, some of us may be taking audio for granted. Audio quality can have a much greater impact on your meetings and working sessions than you may realize. Learn what you need to know, to ensure you aren't hurting your team's productivity.

About the Author
David_Maldow, Esq.David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and the Managing Partner at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter.

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