Feature Story

Enterprise Headsets Become Integral Part of UC Solutions

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  August 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 2011 issue of Unified Communications Magazine

Unified communications means a lot of things to a lot of people, but everyone who is selling, using or considering UC seems to understand the need for solutions that are simple to implement, easy to use, and address the new trend toward wireless communications. Enterprise headsets are increasingly part of these solutions.

Jabra (News - Alert) (the brand under which GN Netcom markets its headsets) has done a good job of partnering with unified communications companies such as Microsoft to ensure its products are compatible with their solutions, says Sara Diaz, account development manager for distributor Fontel (News - Alert) Inc. Jabra headsets are plug-and-play products, so no drivers are needed, she adds.

Other key benefits of Jabra enterprise headsets are the full call control that they provide, Diaz continues. She says that users can mute the call, increase and decrease volume, and otherwise manage their audio both using controls on the Jabra headsets and via their computers running the Jabra PC Suite. As Jabra partners like Microsoft (News - Alert) upgrade their UC solutions, Jabra customers also can download related upgrades to their headsets, adds Lisa Rasmussen, Fontel marketing manager.

Enterprise headset providers like Fontel and Jabra are also addressing with their solutions the fact that so many workers now rely heavily on mobile technology to get the job done. Diaz says that some users want to be able to have one headset while they’re in the office at a desk or on the go. So Jabra has a couple products that allow the base station to connect to a PC, a desktop phone, and the user’s mobile to enable the headset to work with all of the above. She says to look for Jabra to introduce additional UC-related products later this year.

Eric Kintz, general manager and vice president of Logitech (News - Alert) for Business, says that a key trend this year is the introduction and adoption of UC solutions that bring together meeting rooms, desktop environments, and mobile platforms. And that, he says, is creating an endpoint-attached opportunity for companies like his own.

Logitech for Business was created in April 2011 to serve B2B markets. Logitech has played for a long time in the B2B space, but this new business unit now has dedicated sales, R&D and marketing to focus on this arena. The company developed this organization because it saw an opportunity to deliver solutions that complement the products from its LifeSize (News - Alert) subsidiary, which sells telepresence/videoconferencing tools, and expand its solutions to the desktop.

As part of this effort, Logitech also can leverage solutions from its other subsidiaries, including WiLife, which sells cameras and related gear; Slim Devices, which specializes in speakers; and 3D Connexion, a purveyor of the 3D mouse. Kintz says Logitech for Business also is leveraging its OEM and North American channel partners (including and IT and PC value-added resellers and more UC-oriented solution providers) as part of this effort. Jabra, with which Kintz says Logitech has an OEM co-branded relationship, is also part of the mix. As a result, Kintz says, meeting room systems, web cams and headsets will all come from one company, simplifying deployment. There will be one point of sale, and one point of support.

Logitech has offered its own enterprise headsets, explains Kintz, but those products were more at the low end of the market. The Jabra products such as Bluetooth headsets for smartphones and PCs; the DECT wireless headset; and the UC headset and softphone will enable Logitech to move up market on this front and better compete with companies like Plantronics, says Kintz.

“We want to be the leading full solution provider for UC,” Kintz says.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi