A key theme with these releases is the adapation of superior noise cancelling technology, which was originally deployed in the consumer space, for enterprise products.
Santa Cruz CA-based audio communications vendor Plantronics has beefed up its office products portfolio with four new devices.
“We launched our unified communications portfolio in 2010, and we continue to add categories to it,” said Jennifer Adams, Senior Enterprise Product Marketing Manager at Plantronics. “These are all incremental, which aren’t replacing anything, which shows the maturity of the portfolio.”
A key theme with these releases, as it was with new contact centre headsets unveiled last fall, is the adapation of superior noise cancelling technology, which was originally deployed in the consumer space, for enterprise products.
“There are Increasing problems with noise in mobile environments, and we are doing everything possible to manage noise,” Adams said. “This is obvious in mobile environments like airports and restaurants, but even in the office, noise has become more of an issue because there are fewer tall walls now, in order to encourage collaboration. That’s great for collaboration, but it means it is also noisier and more distracting.”
Adams indicated that the enterprise market offers much stronger possibilities for growth than the contact centre.
“The contact centre has 100 per cent headset penetration now, but when it comes to the general enterprise, we see headset penetration much lower, more like 10 per cent so there is a huge opportunity there, which is assisted by unified communications,” Adams said.
“The enterprise also has more of a focus on the user,” she added. “Contact centres are more matrix organizations. The general enterprise is more concerned about productivity and how that might relate to things on the head.”
Each of the four new products has a definite target market. The Blackwire 725 headset is targeted at the desk knowledge worker, of whom 35 per cent presently use headphones, according to Plantronics’ own research.
“This is our first UC product with Active Noise Canceling technology in the enterprise, which originally came from the consumer space,” Adams said. It is a corded device, with wideband audio, Digital Signal Processing and a noise canceling microphone, to make both the user’s voice and incoming calls clear.
The Voyager Edge UC is a wireless device targeted at the road warrior. It includes a small Bluetooth USB dongle that provides seamless wideband audio to the laptop, for mobile UC users who want to use their Bluetooth-enabled communications devices together. It is designed to fit comfortably in the ear, also has technology to eliminate backround noise, and comes with its own portable charging case.
“There is also a consumer version of the Edge, but the enterprise one has an adapter for connectivity,” Adams said.
The Calisto 610 is a corded USB speakerphone aimed at flexible workers, who often engage in conference calls in the office or on the road. It allows users to create on-the-go conference calls for small groups of people with ease. It comes in an easy-to-carry form factor that integrates easily with a softphone of their choice, at the price of a basic speakerphone.
“This is designed as an entry level speakerphone product, for personal use or for small conference rooms,” Adams said.
Finally the Clarity 340 is designed for older knowledge workers who may have hearing, vision, or dexterity issues. It is a UC handset-style phone with amplified sound, an enlarged screen for vision, the ability to change font size, and large buttons for dialing,
“All our enterprise products feature a mute control that is easy to get at,” Adams said.