Several people around a table for a conference callIn today’s climate, hybrid work is more popular than ever. Some team members are in the office and able to physically share space to collaborate, while others are remote. Creating synergy between those two groups is paramount to making sure everyone’s on the same page and able to equally participate in the process, but that’s a tall order. You need the right equipment to make that happen, and that’s where a Cisco conference phone comes in.

In this post, we’ll go over the reasons why one of these phones could be a great fit for your work environment. From standard models like the Cisco CP 8841 to dedicated conference phones, you should come away with the answer to your hybrid meeting problems.

We’ll start with an overview of the company behind some of the best conference phones on the market.

History of Cisco Conference Phones 

Cisco is a technology company that designs, manufactures, and sells networking equipment. Cisco’s products include routers, switches, IP telephones, wireless access points, security appliances, and video surveillance products. Cisco has been known for years as a manufacturer of network infrastructure equipment such as routers and switches.

When it comes to IP phones specifically, the company began selling them in 1998. The company has come a long way from those first models to the newer types like the Cisco CP 8841, and they’ve now sold well over 30 million of them. We’ll cover all the advanced features you can now expect from this industry leader in the next section.

Common Features and Types of Cisco Conference Phones

Cisco’s conference phone products provide an easy way to host meetings and reduce costs. The features are similar across many models, but there are some differences.

Some of the common features include:

  • HD Voice support. HD Voice is a technology that improves audio quality by increasing the frequency response and reducing background noise. It uses wideband audio codecs, which produce richer sound and clearer conversations than narrowband telephony codecs.
  • The ability to host up to 15 attendees in a single call and up to 50 participants in a conference call. You can also record the calls if desired.
  • An intuitive interface with buttons that let you easily mute, transfer, or record your calls. The phones also include speakerphones so that you can continue your meeting from anywhere in your office.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the overarching features you’ll find on many of Cisco’s conference phones, let’s get into more detail about some of the specific types of Cisco conference phone you might encounter or be interested in purchasing.

VoIP conference phones

For the uninitiated, VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. That means that instead of using traditional phone lines to make and receive calls, you are harnessing the power of the internet. There are tons of benefits to using VoIP for your business phone call needs, and VoIP conference phones might be one of them. Others include the flexibility of the technology and how easy it can be to get started with it. 

VoIP conference phones can come in several different forms. You might utilize a physical phone, or you might skip the extra equipment and go for softphone capabilities instead. That’s where you use software on a mobile phone or computer to take part in conference calls. You can achieve good results whichever way you choose to utilize VoIP technology.

Usually, though, when we talk about VoIP conference phones, we mean a physical phone like the Cisco CP 8841, not software you download onto another device. The next section is a similar concept.

Bluetooth conference phones

These are devices that connect to your computer, smartphone, or tablet through Bluetooth technology. It’s highly convenient when you want to add a device to your existing setup that will make the audio more clear. 

Having endless video conferences where you can barely understand what the other participants are saying is draining and can have a negative impact on the productivity of your meetings. For smaller operations where you just need a bit of a boost, a Bluetooth option could do the trick. 

However, large conference rooms and more professional settings likely need something a bit more robust. Plus, Bluetooth conference phones have to connect to another piece of equipment; you’re not going to be making calls directly from the device. Keep that in mind when you’re designing your ideal conference setup. Do you need a device that will make the audio from your computer’s video call clearer, or do you need a device that can make calls all on its own?

USB conference phones

Very similar in functionality to the Bluetooth conference phones we discussed in the previous section, these differ mainly in the way they connect to your other device. Instead of using wireless Bluetooth technology, these phones utilize a USB cord. They can have all the same features otherwise, making for a significant upgrade if you’re used to relying on your smartphone’s speaker capabilities. 

It’s worth noting that lots of these types of speakerphone options give you the choice between Bluetooth or USB connectivity. So, that flexibility might be something worth looking for if you’re planning on using the speaker for different purposes, with different devices, or in different settings. When you have options for how you connect the conference phone, then you can adapt to the conditions you find yourself in, which could be a big plus if you’re trying to impress potential clients or other business partners.

Wireless conference phones

It can be a drag to be anchored to one point in the room when you’re setting up a conference room. If the place where you need to take conference calls doesn’t have a convenient place to set one up and you’d have to run long, disruptive wires around the room, opting for a phone that doesn’t need them could be a great choice. The lack of ugly wires can give your conference room a more professional feel. 

Charging is something you’ll have to worry about with wireless conference phones. Most of them boast of long talk times on a full charge, and they’re aware you won’t want to have to change the battery in the middle of the meeting. Some wireless conference phones also feature external microphones that you can place in strategic places so everyone can be heard. These are great options for a sleek and modern office. 

Cisco CP 8841

Let’s take one example of a Cisco conference phone in particular to illustrate the different strengths and weaknesses you’ll find in different models. The brand only makes high-quality products, but they are all best suited to different situations.

The Cisco CP 8841 is a great choice for many businesses. This model falls under the VoIP phone umbrella, and it might not be the first one you think of when it comes to conference phones. The Cisco CP 8841 is more of a traditional desk model. However, that doesn’t mean that it lacks the ability to perform well as a Cisco conference phone. 

While it’s not designed to pick up on different speakers around the room, the Cisco CP 8841 has a lot of other great features. This phone is easy for people used to traditional telephones to use and get used to, and its ergonomic design makes it a natural addition to your workflow. The Cisco CP 8841 also has encryption technology to increase security, making it a reliable choice for conveying sensitive business information. Combine the easy-to-read display with all the other features, and it’s easy to see why so many businesses rely on the Cisco CP 8841 every day.

This model makes for a great desk phone for individual employees. However, if you’re looking for a true Cisco conference phone, you should probably choose a different model. The features you should prioritize in a dedicated conference phone are somewhat different than the ones we’ve praised in the Cisco CP 8841. In the next two sections, we’ll go over some of them.

Benefits of Cisco Conference Phones

As we’ve already touched on, Cisco has a long history as a manufacturer of much more than just conference phones. The company uses all of that knowledge to create great products and provide lots of benefits to their customers. 

Conference phones in general are also a necessity in today’s day and age. Phone calls and video calls have only become more prevalent and important over the past few years, and having the right Cisco conference phone can make hybrid work environments much more cohesive. Meetings where everyone can be heard loud and clear and more productive. Making that happen when some people are in the room and some people are joining virtually requires the right equipment. With a Cisco conference phone, you’ll be sure that your team stays on the same page and everyone feels equally included in meetings. 

If you already have a desk phone like the Cisco CP 8841 and want to add a Cisco conference phone to your workplace, you can find one of the same line. The synergy of features and functionality across Cisco products will make it easier to adapt to a new conference phone. 

Key Strengths of Cisco Conference Phones

When we talk about specific models like the Cisco CP 8841, there are definitely certain features that jump out as impressive strengths. These qualities set them apart from the other options on the market. 

Cisco conference phones mostly fall under the VoIP umbrella, so all of the strengths of that technology apply here: Flexibility, security, reliability, etc. 

The high-quality design of Cisco products is another main strength. These long-time innovators are always looking to create tools that are easy to use and natural supports to your team’s workflow. Ergonomic, intuitive design shouldn’t be discounted. With Cisco conference phones for larger rooms, you can add on additional microphones and base stations to bring the number of supported participants up as high as you need. This flexibility is a big plus for large meetings with remote participants. 

Drawbacks 

For all of those great qualities, there are also a few cons you need to keep in mind when you’re considering Cisco conference phones. The first is the cost of a physical phone. It might be negligible if you’re only buying a Cisco conference phone for one office or conference room, but the expenses can add up if you’re trying to outfit a large number of rooms with these serviceable phones. It might be more cost effective to opt for softphone packages instead. 

When you rely on a physical phone, you’ll also be at the mercy of any issues that arise with the hardware. Of course, that’s often worth the trade off, and finding a good repair partner will serve you well in the long run. 

All the reasons that some people and organizations don’t prefer physical conference phones are also big pluses for others. So, take the time to fully evaluate your team’s needs, and weigh the pros and cons accordingly. 

Next Steps toward Adding Cisco Conference Phones to your Office

There are lots of retailers that carry Cisco products, so if you’ve been convinced to add a Cisco CP 8841 or another one of their offerings to your conference room setup, you should have a pretty easy time finding one. You can always start your search with us. 

The more difficult part of the process is likely deciding which Cisco conference phones will fit your needs the best. We’ve already detailed the Cisco CP 8841, but in order to make a completely informed decision, you’ll have to get that level of depth on your other options. 

Find the right Cisco Conference Phone

Cisco has a wide variety of conference phones to choose from. Their conference phones are useful and important, but they’re also just the beginning.

If you’re looking to add something like the Cisco CP 8841 or any other IP phone to your office, you can start your search with us. Take a look at our extensive inventory, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Our helpful staff would be happy to help.

Stay Connected with VOIPLINK Updates!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive exclusive deals, latest VOIP tech insights, and expert advice on optimizing your communication solutions.

You have Successfully Subscribed!