The opening line of the Kicker Conference Phone product page tells you just about all you need to know about the motivation behind this thing: “Conference phones suck.” Amen, brother! I hate sitting around a conference table, speaking either too loud or too soft for the conference phone, straining my ears to hear what’s being said, and wondering when the hell this madness will end. The folks at Kicker obviously feel similarly, and set out to design a better conference phone.
Although this is just a product concept, the Kicker Conference Phone looks like exactly the sort of innovation we need! The team clearly put a lot of time and effort into reducing the shortcomings of a conference phone, while simultaneously adding useful new features. The “nudge” feature is something that could really be a lifesaver!
For those times when you want to remotely tell someone to wake up and respond or, alternately, stop talking, we designed a Poke feature. Double-tapping on an icon “pokes” that line. Poking is a virtual nudge or kick under the table. It’s a light-weight form of back-channel conversation (although it only works if the other person is on a Kicker Conference Phone). Pokes only show to those who have been poked and they will also vibrate the pods if they are in use.
The use of removable microphone “pods” is also a really novel concept. It allows folks to wander away from the conference table, but still be able to participate in the discussion. This will help reduce people speaking overly loud to be heard above their in-person peers.
I really enjoy reading these kinds of product design wrap-ups. It’s neat to see the ways in which talented professionals tackle problems that so many of us have learned to just live with. Although I wonder, how much longer will the notion of a “conference call” even be around, as video calls get more and more commonplace?