5 Add-ons to Improve your Skype Conference Call
Skype calls are a world away from the video calls of the past. Today, a smartphone does what it used to take expensive, high-tech equipment stuffed inside conference rooms to do. What a dramatic change! But many SMBs are now settling for less than they need to, using very basic technology and suffering lesser conference calls as a result.
In case you did not know, you can improve your Skype calls with some simple add-ons. In this article, we will share our tips and tricks for getting more from Skype with some neat tools.
Here is why you should care about upgrading your equipment:
- Get improved sound
- Crisper visuals
- Understand information better
We collected together some great add-ons you can buy now to improve your calls:
- Conference Cameras
- Speaker Phones
1. Top Microphones for Great Skype Sound Quality
A built-in microphone in most computers does not always provide the quality you need for a great Skype call, so here are several options you can add to your system to improve sound quality. Why settle for the built-in microphone? Sometimes, standard microphones that come with your computer just do not have the ability to pick up as much sound as a state-of-the-art model. Give one of these Skype microphones a try, and you may improve the sound in your calls and discover your best microphone for Skype conference calls.
Antlion Audio ModMic
This is a great entry-level Skype mic option if you are looking for a microphone that can help you improve sound without breaking the bank. It attaches to your headphones to provide you with a simple add-on mic that pairs with any set of headphones you want to use. You will have two sets of wires instead of one, which can be a disadvantage, but it is otherwise a solid option.
MXL AC404 USB Conference Microphone
This is a small, inexpensive stand-alone conference call microphone you could set on your desktop or on the conference table during a conference call. This is designed to pick up sound throughout an entire room, so it is not designed to be used at a computer during a one-on-one call, unless you do not mind picking up any sound inside the room. It is the best desktop microphone for the price.
Audio-Technica Pro 44
This mid-range microphone helps you outfit a conference room to sound great on Skype. It is better than an entry-level model, so you can expect to get more and sound better online with this microphone, particularly if you need to pick up sound volume from an entire room or conference table and plan to have multiple speakers.
A very capable entry-level mic you can use for conferences. Decent sound quality and a relatively affordable price make this a great option.
A popular entry-level model with good sound quality. It is great for picking up quiet sound within the room and including everyone in the conversation.
2. Conference camera upgrades
Conference cameras are great for businesses that regularly use video conferencing and want video that looks as high-quality and professional as possible. These are a more significant investment than simply buying a webcam, so you may not want to upgrade to this unless video conferences are a strong priority and you use this technology frequently.
Logitech ConferenceCam BCC950
A cheap conference camera solution with basic functionality to help you get the job done. It has some distinct limitations, so you will want to keep that in mind. It does allow you to get a small group into camera-view and give a whiteboard presentation or hold a small team meeting over video. It is flexible and adaptable enough to help you get better results than you would with a webcam.
Logitech ConferenceCam Connect
This is a mid-level camera similar to the BCC950 but it has autofocus, is capable of connecting to mobile devices to help with presentations and has other more sophisticated features than the BCC950.
A higher-end camera that is still reasonably-priced, this HuddleCamHD has a 3X optical zoom and is capable of covering bigger conference rooms and providing higher-quality picture.
AVer Information CAM520
A pro-level camera with 12X optical zoom, this conference camera would work great in a large conference room. It picks up great detail and has great video quality. This is a top-of-the-line camera that offers more than any other conference camera on our list, but it also comes at a premium price and is not necessarily for the bargain-hunter.
3. Webcams upgrade your Skype experience!
If you are looking for a low-cost, good ROI method for improving simple one-on-one Skype calls or smaller conferences, then buying a webcam could be the perfect investment for you. You may find that a webcam greatly improves the quality of your Skype experience. It is a great way for SMBs to improve their video conferences and gain more from their use of Skype.
If you depend heavily on Skype but do not hold very many conferences with large groups of attendees or use large rooms for your Skype calls, you could probably get away with just using a simple webcam. In this section, we will consider several webcams that could be just the right buy for your organization and may help you get more done with Skype.
A popular, affordable and business-friendly option you can readily use for your Skype sessions and get decent-quality video, the Logitech C930e has a lot to offer. It has 4X digital zoom if you need to zoom-in on something or get a closer picture. It also has auto-focus and light correction. This is ideal for one-on-one calls, but it probably will not fit your needs if you are doing a larger group conference, so keep that in mind.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
This is a great budget-friendly option for those who just need an entry-level camera for occasional Skype meetings. It is Skype Certified and fully compatible with the platform, so you should have few issues using this camera with Skype. Not to be used, necessarily, for really detailed presentations or conferences with large numbers of people. This is mainly for small meetings and one-on-one calls, but it is an upgrade from your built-in computer camera and has decent capabilities.
Microsoft LifeCam Cinema
This camera is an improvement over the HD-3000 and adds additional features to make your conferencing experience better. Great for Skype calls.
Samsung SmartCam HD Pro
A more expensive Wi-Fi-capable camera that helps you create a wireless conferencing experience. Wide-angle view and portable also.
Get a headset and improve the audio quality in your conferences by cutting out background noise and focusing the microphone on picking up your own speech, not sounds from the background of your room.
Plantronics Audio 478
An affordable option with Skype features that allow you to answer and end calls, this headset includes a static-reduction feature and other unexpected high-quality functionality.
Sennheiser CC550 IP
A mid-level headset with solid sound quality and a noise-canceling microphone, great for Skype calls.
Vxi Blueparrot B350-XT
A mid-level headset with wireless, Bluetooth capabilities and a noise-canceling microphone.
Jabra Biz 2400 II
High-quality, high-end noise-canceling microphone headset with sound and call controls. Great for top-of-the-line Skype calls.
5. Speaker phones
You may already have some great speaker phones you use with regular conference calls that can be used with Skype calls. Even some VoIP phones can be used. These speaker phones can help you upgrade your Skype experience.
Jabra Speak 410 OC
An entry-level, plug and play speakerphone. A great add-on for a high-quality video conferencing camera.
Plantronics Calisto 610-M Portable USB Speakerphone
A portable, entry-level speakerphone with call controls that is great for small Skype meetings.
Vtech VCS702 ErisStation Conference Phone
A mid-range speakerphone with some great features that allow for better small and medium-sized meetings around the conference table. Comes with two extra microphones to pick up sound in a bigger space.
Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e
A mid-range speakerphone you can place your smartphone or mobile device directly into, connecting via Bluetooth instead of a plug to create great sound and pick up sound within the room.
Ready to Upgrade Your Skype Experience?
Making the investment in your business by upgrading your Skype experience may be worthwhile. If you own an SMB, having better video conferences can impress your customers, help you become more productive and make it easier to work remotely. It may be a worthwhile investment.