What Is It?
According to their website it is “the first portable wireless conference system for online meetings.” I can’t claim to know if it was indeed the first ever made (I’m assuming their marketing folks did that research so I’ll believe them) but it certainly is a very cool wireless conference system. So what is it really. The demo unit I have came in a case and has four “hockey pucks” in the case. There is one master unit (as pictured to the right) and then three satellite units. The difference between the master and satellite is connectivity.
At the top of the master device you can see icons for USB, Bluetooth and even old school 3.5mm headphone jack. On the lower band of the hocked puck (and it’s about three hockey pucks high if you are curious – I’m from Minnesota so we measure everything in hockey references) is where the USB and 3.5mm jack is. On the front of the device, you can see a small button for battery. This will make show you how much batter life is remaining on the top white semi-circle which turns green.
Once your have the master unit connected via any of the options, you can pull out any of the satellite units and they automagically connect to the master via DECT technology. This is great as it’s gives you secure communication and a great distance than standard Bluetooth would.
So I have used this device for three primary purposes.
Skype for Business Client. Using the USB Connection to my workstation the TeamConnect Wireless shows up just like any other device would for SfB. In the picture to the right, you can see it appears as a TC-W66810A02 for the device name. There are two things I should note:
#1 – Although the connectivity is just Micro USB cable when I tried to use another cable it never actually registered. It wasn’t until I grabbed the USB cable that came with the device. I’m not sure if it just didn’t fit all the way in, bad cable on my part, etc.
#2 – The device is not Skype for Business Certified today. I believe this is something they are working on resolving but that process can take some time.
[Update – I’ve been told that Sennheiser is shooting for Q2/2017 to finish qualification for SfB.]
After the TeamConnect Wireless was plugged in it just started working like any normal device. Overall, the sound quality if very good. It’s hard to describe how nice it sounds. Like any speakerphone, you can tell that it’s a speakerphone vs a headset. (I’ve never ran into any speakerphone device where you couldn’t notice but that due to where the mic is positioned compared to your mouth.) But that said, it’s an excellent sounding speaker phone. Where I think it shines really bright is when you add a satellite puck (or third or fourth). The devices clearly do some fancy cancellation to ensure that as the speaker it knows which one to pick up the sound from.
As a test, I was on a conference with multiple devices in my office and would randomly switch the direction of my speech from one satellite to another. And it did an amazing job of handing off the sound between the two. The only time I was able to “confuse it” was if I put the two devices far apart from each other (I’m talking 20+ feet) and then spoke directly between the two devices. Obviously this isn’t a real life scenario – they do give you four of them out of the box – but I mention it so you keep in mind that placement does matter.
I should note that all of the “pucks” have a Mic / Speaker and mute button. And in the Skype for Business call, the mute button works on all devices. A single click of mute, mutes all of the mics on all connected “pucks”. If a new “puck” comes online, it goes immediately to mute if that is what everyone else is.
Rigel Device. So I have a Logitech SmartDock for testing purposes. So I thought it would be fun to plug the TeamConnect Wireless into the Rigel. After a quick reboot, the TeamConnect became the default sound device for the Rigel.
Just as you would expect everything worked exactly as expected. To me this was by far the biggest win. One of my complaints with the existing Rigel solution is that it works really great in a small huddle room but if you need more mics, etc. there isn’t a great solution right now. However, this might be the perfect solution. Imagine, you purchase a Rigel + TeamConnect Wireless + Camera of your choice and suddenly Rigel fits any size room. I know other Rigel partners are coming with solutions for much larger rooms but why not have that flexibility right now.
Bluetooth Device. The last use case has absolutely nothing to do with Skype for Business. My kids and I used TeamConnect Wireless all the time for music playback from iPads, phones, laptops, etc. With a battery life at 8 hours it lasts a long time. So it would be completely normal for someone to grab the master “puck” plus a secondary and it became the music devices on whatever floor we happened to be on at the time.
Just a few other random notes along the way:
- The USB Cable doesn’t charge the master device. It’s not expected but it’s worth noting that it does need to get home occasionally to charge.
- The system comes in a two different configurations. Either in a case (what I had) or a tray. The tray is designed to stay in a conference room. This makes the most sense for a SfB Conference Room. And the tray is super sexy looking. C-Level execs would love the look.
- By the book, Sennheiser says a four device system can support conference rooms up to 24 people. Essentially, a really big room!
- Although we talk about Skype for Business on this blog there is no reason this won’t work for other conferencing solution. We have used it with Microsoft Teams, Zoom and WebEx without any problem at all.
This is a great device, with or without Skype for Business certification. There is no reason you shouldn’t be looking at this device for your conference room solutions right now. I see it being immediately beneficial in Rigel Conference Rooms or any BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) conference room.
NOTE: I wasn’t paid, asked to give a positive review nor was the review filtered by the fine folks at Sennheiser.