Sennheiser used to be the best-kept secret in the headset space. Now the secret is out.
The company’s headset business, Sennheiser Communications (News - Alert), has had three especially strong years in which it experienced rapid growth, and made new investments in marketing, people, and product development. All of the above have helped increased its profile, says William J. Whearty.
Adoption of unified communications solutions across the enterprise and the rise of new technologies like WebRTC are helping to drive demand for Sennheiser’s headsets, explains Whearty, vice president of sales and marketing for CC&O Americas at Sennheiser Electronic Corp. Some companies are in the process of buying tens of thousands of headsets as part of their UC rollouts to office workers, road warriors, and telecommuters, he says. If a company is spending a lot of money to adopt Skype (News - Alert) for Business, for example, it wants the confidence to know it will work, says Whearty.
Sennheiser got its start in a farmhouse in post-World War II Germany. When Dr. Fritz Sennheiser founded the company, it initially built test equipment. Then Sennheiser expanded into microphones and headphones. Today the company, which is still owned and operated by the Sennheiser family (Fritz’s grandsons serve as co-CEOs), sells an array of products – including conference and information technology solutions, headphones, headsets, and microphones – and is the world’s largest audio company. Its motto is The Pursuit of Perfect Sound.
The company has a broad headset product portfolio, which Whearty says delivers great durability and performance at reasonable prices. The company, whose headsets are appropriate for use both in the contact center and elsewhere in the enterprise, relies on channel partners to bring its products to market. But Sennheiser’s own sales force visits with Fortune 500 companies to emphasize the value of its brand and provide education about its solutions. The company also delivers ongoing support for its products.
The Century Series is the top of the Sennheiser headset line. These corded headsets are designed for use in contact centers and other environments such as law offices in which employees spend a lot of time on the phone.
“We think it’s the best headset that’s ever been made,” says Whearty. “It’s for that customer who just says ‘I want the best.’”
Unlike some competing products that have plastic on plastic designs, the ring that holds the microphone boom on the Century Series headsets is made of Teflon so it doesn’t wear out. That prevents users from having to hold the mic boom with their hands so that customers can hear them, eliminating the primary benefit of the headset, which is being hands free, which sometimes happens with lesser quality headsets.
A couple years ago Sennheiser broadened its headset portfolio with the addition of the Circle Series. This mid-price range headset is so durable that in the last 18 months fewer than 2 percent of the Circle Series products shipped in the U.S. came back for repair.
The Culture Series is ideal for companies implementing unified communications. The Culture Series, says Whearty, fits the bill for UC because customers can get a lot of the devices for a little money. That is important, he adds, considering some companies that roll out UC forget they need headsets until after their budgets have been set and approved.
The company’s D10 Series is a family of lightweight noise cancelling wireless headsets that comes with either a phone or USB connection. The SD Series, which offer both, deliver great range and long battery life. It can fully charge in about an hour and offers eight hours of talk time in wideband and up to 12 hours in narrowband.
Sennheiser’s Mobile Business Pro Series (MB PRO) is a Bluetooth solution with the more substantial feel, functionality, and sound quality of a standard telephone headset. The company also offers a line of small Bluetooth products with ultra noise cancelling technology. The Presence Series, which recently won accolades from the Los Angeles Times, is ideal for use in noisy environments such as airports and in the car.
Just last year Sennheiser came out with the Speakerphone Series. These portable, full duplex speakerphones can be used with smartphones and laptops, and are ideal for use in conference rooms with six to eight people or even hotel rooms when people are working from the road. An added benefit for road warriors, streaming movies and music sound much better with the SP units compared to laptop speakers.
The solutions mentioned above are just a sampling of Sennheiser’s broad product line, which includes an array of both single-ear and binaural solutions. The company pays a lot of attention to the details, such as ensuring the cables employed in its products are strong and won’t fray. And Sennheiser is continuously updating its products and web-based management tools and innovating to ensure excellent sound quality and strong durability.
“We don’t just introduce a product, we always stay ahead of the curve,” says Whearty. “Professor Sennheiser once told me ‘It has to be perfect, it has my name on it.’”
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere