For the Future of Desktop Phones, Look to Invoxia

By Doug Mohney July 23, 2013

When I was vacationing down at Ocean City a few summers ago, my young daughter was entertained because the phone in the room had a cord on it. By the time she enters the workforce, I suspect that business desktop phones will look a lot like Invoxia's Audioffice product. 

Business desktop handsets have been in a design rut for several years, with DECT and CAT-iq wireless support trickling in. Several Android-based touchscreen models have been introduced by different manufacturers, while Digium's IP phone has all of its features accessible through Java and an API, making it intimately programmable.

But that's about it. HD voice is supported over IP, but the majority of phones have stuck with vanilla G.722 with only a few dabbling in other codecs like SILK and Opus. Some vendors offer case color choices between black and white, but that's about it.

Audioffice is a smart dock for mobile devices -- iOS and Android, specifically -- that provides a high-quality spatial speaker phone experience along with a conventional corded handset for more quiet/private conversations. Invoxia boasts its dock provides "excellent" sound quality not only for conference calls but when listening to music.

Devices can be connected via a universal connector for iOS devices, USB cable or paired via Bluetooth. Sound quality is where Audioffice shines, with six speakers and an updated design incorporating a new passive radiator improving bass. Four microphones and the six speakers combine with inVivo Acoustic technology to provide spatial (positional) sound.

At a $299 list price, Audioffice isn't cheap. But it is gaining support in the business world. Siemens Enterprise Communications and Invoxia announced Audioffice supports Siemens OpenScape Mobility solutions. Features supported include the ability to manage incoming and outgoing calls, access to contact information and a "Call Swipe" feature to easily transfer calls between the Invoxia docking station to any other device on any other network.

Taking a step back, Audioffice plays very well into the theme of BYOD. Workers and executives can bring their own phones and tablets into the office, drop them into the dock, and start making phone calls while the device charges up -- without having to futz around with cables and chargers. It provides a speakerphone experience superior to nearly all other products on the market, so Audioffice could also threaten to displace the near-ubiquitous Polycom VoiceStation/SoundStation speakerphones with a bit of polishing.

Future enhancements to Audioffice will likely encompass support for Opus -- all the rage with WebRTC's popularity -- and other HD voice codecs. I'd like to see a deal with Fraunhofer to support the AAC "Full HD voice" codec family because Audioffice might be one of the few off-the-shelf IP devices to do justice to the codec.  

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Contributing Editor

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