Sennheiser fills gap in unified collaboration headsets with high-end SDW 5000 Series

Sennheiser is looking to their first unified communication and collaboration headset to further stimulate their Canadian business, which has already been showing strong momentum.

The Sennheiser SDW 5000 Series

Audio solutions vendor Sennheiser has announced the launch of an entirely new product line — the SDW 5000 Series. Designed for mobile, collaborative workplaces, it provides a single headset system that connects seamlessly to multiple devices and interfaces, and becomes Sennheiser’s premium top-of-the line model.

“This is a brand new product, which has been designed from the ground up,” said Michael Wyman, National Sales Manager, Enterprise Solutions at Sennheiser. Wyman, a 16-year veteran of the headset business who is Sennheiser’s primary sales manager in Canada, said that the SDW 5000 effectively fills what has been a void in the company’s lineup. While Sennheiser has had the MB 660 unified communications headset on the market for the past year, the SDW 5000 greatly exceeds its capabilities.

“There has been a hole in our portfolio for a number of years in unified collaboration, which we have been waiting for something like this to fill,” Wyman said. “This not only fills the hole, but fills it with a product that provides unique differentiation in the industry.”

Wyman described the SDW 5000 as a unified communication and collaboration hub.

“It’s a device that enables you to attach a whole bunch of headsets to it – DECT, Bluetooth, USB,” he said. “All you need is one hub to connect multiple different types of headsets.”

The use case for this is customers who want a greater degree of flexibility, including both individuals who want to be able to use multiple devices for different use cases, and millennials used to working on multiple devices.

“It’s for someone who wants to use a wireless DECT set at a distance, and who also wants to connect a Bluetooth device to the same headset,” he said. “If someone using a USB device wants to join the call, with this they can. This can be a gateway in a host of use applications. It’s also ideal for training, or observing in a contact centre.”

One differentiating factor in the SDW 5000 Series is Super Wideband Audio, which provides frequency response between 100 and 11500 Hz, and which Sennheiser is touting as a new sound standard for headset communication.

“That’s a unique feature to Sennheiser,” Wyman said. “It provides crystal-clear life-like speech, which sounds like the person is talking right into your ear. It’s really remarkable, and not marketing hype. It also provides good audio quality when listening to music.” The wideband mode also assures sound quality in noisy environments with multiple headsets in use at the same time.

“Microphones are Sennheiser’s core business, and the SDW 5000 has a unique two microphone noise-cancelling system which eliminates many background noises,’ Wyman added. “It also has built in motion detectors, so picking up a headset from the desk will automatically answer the call.”

The SDW 5000 consists of a base station and a headset offering with a choice of three wearing styles – ear hook, headband and neckband. The base station can also be connected to other wired and Bluetooth Sennheiser headsets or a speakerphone, through the USB port. The headsets are UC optimized and certified for Skype for Business.

Security features include features like 128bit authentication keys, Protected Pairing, DECT Security certification, and the ability to disable the USB port, call merging and multiple headset conferencing as needed in high security environments.

“The 128 bit authentication is twice the level of security encryption previously on the market for any wireless headset,” Wyman said.

Wyman indicated that he expects the SDW 5000 to add to Sennheiser’s momentum in Canada, where the company has historically trailed its principal competitors, Jabra and Plantronics.

“Our business in Canada has increased dramatically year-over-year and we are the fastest growing headset manufacturer in Canada,” he said. “We have grown market share with an amazing program to put product in peoples’ hands. If I send out 100 units, 80 people will buy them, and 20 people who don’t like change won’t. We have competitors who also have excellent products, but when people put on a Sennheiser headset, it creates a WOW factor that exceeds expectations.”

Sennheiser has also upped their Canadian staffing.

“I used to cover all of Canada, but I wasn’t bilingual enough for Quebec and parts of the Maritimes,” Wyman said. “So we hired an area sales manager who focuses on Quebec and the Maritimes and we have seen a drastic increase in our business there.”

Sennheiser unveiled their first deal registration program for North America last fall, and Wyman said that this, together with their demo program and NFR program had been producing good results.

“We are only the one vendor who provide our headset support direct, rather than using a third party, which is a plus for us,” Wyman added. “Our technical support is multilingual and is Montreal-based.”