One of the most innovative products I’ve seen this year in the UC space is the Sennheiser TeamConnect, a high quality, wireless conferencing solution. Here is the situation: you want to set up a conference call in a room which isn’t wired for conferences. You open a briefcase, take out a few pucks and place them around the table and voila, everyone is immersed in high quality audio.
I had an interview with Brian Brorsbøl (above right) and Frederick Girard (below)from the company and they showed the devices off to me. They are gorgeous. Brian used to work for Bang and Olufsen, the company’s designs influenced Steve Jobs, so you wouldn’t expect anything less I suppose.
The pucks can cover up to six people can be extended to 24 and they use 1.9 GHz technology to communicate. Each has two microphones with a volume and mute button as well. The master can be plugged into USB for charging as well as connecting to an external source such as a phone. There is also a speaker jack, bluetooth and NFC.
The batteries can support a conference of eight or more hours. Since the master is likely to run low on power first, the USB adapter should help. Induction charging is coming in the future – well, at least I got them to tell me they are working on it. We’ll see.
The central conferencing unit in conference rooms really hasn’t changed that much in decades and this innovation should support equal or better quality calls and make any conference room look better. I just wish I got to hear them in action. I picked a few of the pucks up – they are quite substantial, leading me to believe they will sound great but there was no time for a demo.
Cool, right? they look like oversized hockey pucks
The upside is conferencing absolutely anywhere and from various sources. Also, there is no need for power so a conference can be had at a picnic table. The downside is the laziness inherent in humans – meaning people forgetting to charge the pucks.
In a way, the units truly democratize conferences – unless you have external microphones in your conference room, the people farther away from the center of the table will have more trouble hearing and interacting with people on the phone. Now, everyone can theoretically have equal sound quality and a similar ability to be heard.
The more I think about the idea, the more impressed I am. Assuming they sound anywhere as good as they look, I wholeheartedly recommend giving Sennheiser TeamConnect a try. Once wireless charging becomes available, these pucks may just replace the conferencing unit in the middle of most tables. Between this news and Mitel buying Polycom (check out my thoughts with input from Mitel CMO Wes Durow), this could be the biggest season in conferencing history.