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The Villains of Videoconferencing

10/28/2015 - 0 Comments
 
Videoconferencing continues to gain popularity; Ovum predicts that the global market for videoconferencing will hit nearly $3.6 billion in 2016. This is not merely a fad; last year, the world made 1.8 billion hours’ worth of Skype calls (according to Microsoft). The benefits of face-to-face interaction, compared with a phone-only conference call, cannot be understated. It has been proven that videoconferencing is a more productive medium and attendees feel more of a connection to each other; collaboration is thereby ramped up and time spent in a meeting more productive. Travel costs are also lowered, which is a big budget boost.

With all of the positives to videoconferencing, there are still glitches: quite possibly the biggest villain in the battle of effective collaboration is the human component. Being able to easily use the equipment can be one of the leading deterrents to ruling the world of videoconferencing.

The animated movie “Penguins of Madagascar” (2014, Dreamworks Animation) highlighted a very relatable and common videoconferencing scenario: there is picture, but no sound. In this case, Dave, the villainous octopus, hacks into the good guys’ Skype-like system … however, his threats lose their effect when he can’t use the technology correctly:

“Can you hear me? Can you see me?” he asks, after he figures out how to turn on the microphone volume. The rest of the call will make you laugh, as we’ve all experienced meetings that don’t go as planned:

KAPOW! ZOWIE! BAM!

The best way to combat this villain is to provide conferencing equipment that is easy to install, use, update and maintain. A straightforward, simple to use speakerphone from Jabra, the new Speak 810, can be the perfect solution and hero for many organizations using USB connection to their videoconferencing system. The 3.5mm jack cable offers another option: with your smartphone or tablet too! With plug and play connectivity, the Speak 810 is a unit with crystal clear sound and ZoomTalk microphones for picking up the human voice.

Designed for conference rooms of up to 15 people, echoes, background noise, and any distortions are filtered out with Digital Signal Processing. With Jabra Direct, firmware updates are automatically pushed out to your device as they are available, ensuring your Speak 810 is ready when you are. Easy-to-use touch buttons that light up, along the top of the Speak 810, take the guesswork out of collaboration. It’s all of the conference call capabilities you need, without the complexity. MSRP for the Speak 810 is well-priced at $599. For more information about the Speak 810, read our review here.

Other common videoconferencing villains:
  1. Poor sound (echoes, distracting noises, unable to hear participants due to the wrong equipment being used)
  2. High set-up costs
  3. Video clarity (video conferencing uses more bandwidth; picture quality can be poor and buffering may occur.)
No one wants to deal with a “Dave the Octopus” when it comes to technology. In the 2015 Knowledge Worker study, Jabra & Lindberg found that, on average, 15 percent of the time during an hour-long meeting is wasted. Since we spend 18 days each year (on average) in meetings, those 15 minutes add up in a hurry! If you’re ready to gain back wasted time, and learn more about the Speak 810, give us a call. We’re happy to help!

Source: 13 Reasons Videoconferencing is a Popular Vision for the Future

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Jabra Direct Replaces Jabra PC Suite

10/12/2015 - 0 Comments
 
Jabra PC Suite has been the gold standard of device management software for the manufacturer. In April, Jabra made the best even better and upgraded to the new Jabra Direct. This FREE software enables you to personalize your Jabra device; firmware-update your device for the best possible performance; and to have Remote Call Control over your softphone(s). Jabra Direct supports all Jabra USB devices and offers softphone compatibility for most platforms including Avaya, Cisco, ShoreTel and Skype.

Jabra Direct features a new user interface with simple design, improved for touchscreen usage (for tablets and smart phones). Status and readiness information are available via the new Direct dashboard, displaying the headset and softphone are ready for your next call.

Jabra Direct will “remember” devices that you no longer have connected to PC. The devices are “grayed out,” yet available, should you once again connect the device.

Jabra Suite for Mac
Also available is Jabra Suite for Mac, free software that enables Jabra USB audio devices to have Remote Call Control over the latest generation of softphones for Mac*. Jabra Suite for Mac supports the following Mac OS versions: 10.9.x (Mavericks), 10.10.x (Yosemite) and 10.11.x (El Capitan).

The software allows the user to hear ring tones; answer and end calls; mute the microphone; place and resume call on hold; redial directly from the Jabra audio device; and manage Bluetooth connections. Jabra Suite for Mac also checks for available Jabra device firmware updates and then offers to easily upgrade the attached devices for optimal performance.

Jabra Suite for Mac can interface with a range of softphone standards via the embedded drivers. The program runs in the background and monitors your USB ports for the connected Jabra device(s) and installed softphone(s) – and enables the Jabra device(s) to have remote call control over the softphone(s).

If new software to improve your Jabra device (called “firmware”) is available, Jabra Suite for Mac’s Firmware Updater will offer you to easily update your connected Jabra device.

Jabra discontinued support for PC Suite this month, and recommends updating your Jabra software to the new Jabra Direct immediately. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about this update, and let us know if you need any assistance!

Click here for the Jabra Direct download.

Click here for the Jabra Suite for Mac download.



*Avaya one-X Communicator, version 2.0 or above; CounterPath Bria, version 4.2.0 or above; IBM Sametime, version 8.5.2; 9.0 or above and Embedded IBM Sametime installed in Lotus Notes 9.0; Skype, version 5.8.0.945 or above

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Meet the Jabra SPEAK 810 – Conferencing Made Simple; Collaboration Made Easy

10/1/2015 - 0 Comments
 
Today’s Jabra announcement of the newest addition to its SPEAK series, the 810, brings a premium grade professional full-size conference room speakerphone to the family. The Speak 810 is a larger version of the 410s and 510s, and connects via USB, Bluetooth (NFC) and a 3.5mm jack cable. It works with PCs and any Bluetooth enabled device.

Ideal for a hassle free simple conference call set up in seconds, you can collaborate with up to 15 attendees in the same meeting room for really great sound.

The ZoomTalk™ microphones are intelligent directional microphones that focus on human voice – and not on ambient noise (such as people eating or keyboard tapping). Wideband audio and HD voice provide high quality audio for the best possible sound. Bluetooth A2DP ensures multimedia streaming is seamless.

Similar to the Speak 410 and Speak 510 units, the LED indicator lights around the outside of the device alert users to Bluetooth, battery, volume level, mute and call answer/end.

The Speak 810 works with all types of smart devices and integrates seamlessly with all communication platforms, eliminating the need for dial pad/phone line solutions. There is a Microsoft Skype for Business certified version of the Speak 810, too.

This new addition to the Speak family also allows Class 1 Bluetooth connection (up to 330 feet wireless range) to a computer, but requires the purchase of a Link 360 USB Dongle accessory, as this is not included in the box.

Unlike the Speak 410/510’s, the Speak 810 does require an additional AC adapter for power. A USB charge-out port allows you to charges your tablet or smartphone while on a call. For security, a Kensington lock is available as an additional accessory purchase.

Interested in a Speak 810 for your conference room? Let us know how a Speak 810 would fit into your conferencing plans!

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Plantronics DA80 USB Audio Processor is an Intelligent Communication Solution

9/25/2015 - 0 Comments
 
With the introduction of the premium DA80 USB audio processor this year, Plantronics has created a product that delivers high-quality audio and contextual intelligence to provide the best possible customer experience out there. It replaces the DA45.

The solid, high-quality DA80 (MSRP $99.00) has intuitive rocker-style buttons with controls for most-used call functions: Answer/End; Volume Up and Down; and Mute – along with indicator lights that alert incoming calls (flashing green); active calls (steady green); and mute (red).

Plantronics Spokes software solutions take the DA80 one step further by revealing insights on CSR and customer communication to contact center managers through the detection and delivery of multiple pieces of intelligence, such as headset disconnections and frequent use of mute control. Several major ACD and CRM systems vendors will be integrating these events into their systems to help manage call center performance.

For example, Plantronics Hub software can automatically lock a CSR’s screen when the headset is disconnected, eliminating a process step and helping with security compliance. Simple incremental improvements like this add up to large overall gains in operational effectiveness, and improved CSR and customer satisfaction.

Now more than ever, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance; concerns must be worked through quickly and effectively. According to research by Lee Resources, 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again. With the prohibitive cost of bringing in new customers – 6 to 7 times more expensive to gain a new customer than to keep a current one (source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs) – it benefits a company to pay attention to its first line defense: the contact center.

Bill Loewenthal, vice president of enterprise solutions at Plantronics told TMCnet.com that “the DA80 is far more than a simple step forward in performance and usability for a USB connection device. It helps our customers provide smarter customer service and impact business outcomes.”

By building the Plantronics DA80 into their softphone strategy, our customers will be on a platform that will provide unprecedented insight into CSR and customer interactions, leading to real business results.”

More great features of the DA80:
    •Superior digital audio helps meet OSHA and Noise at Work regulations
    •Plantronics technology that detects and reports on call events, revealing insights to make operations run more efficiently
    •Downloadable firmware updates and the ability to carry unique serial numbers creating consistent, managed service levels across your center
    •Open APIs add intelligence and inform work flows
    •Unique serial numbers for asset management
    •To train agents, or to include supervisors on calls, a Y-cord can be used with the DA80.

Check out this video that features the compatibility of the DA80 with Customer Interaction Center from Interactive Intelligence:

The DA80 is covered by a two year warranty.

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Jabra LINK 860 Audio Processor Brings New Features to the UC Landscape

9/14/2015 - 0 Comments
 
Jabra’s best just got better with the new Link 860 audio processor, available to purchase now. Similar in appearance and features to its sister amp, the Link 850, the updated Link 860 brings even more functionality.

At first glance, you will notice that Jabra has redesigned and relocated the Desk Phone/Computer switch that was previously found on the bottom of the Link 850 version. They moved the switch to the top of the Link 860, which makes it much more user friendly.

Audio Streaming and Jabra Direct
New to the Link 860, the Audio Streaming feature provides added functionality to your headset, desk phone and PC set-up. Choose features such as Agent Greeting; Call Recording; Transcribing; Call Recording and Agent Greeting; and Call Recording and Transcribing. To enable these features, the switch on the far left that looks like a cassette tape must be turned to “On” and, inside Jabra Direct (a free download here), Device Settings Audio Streaming lists the 5 choices.

For agents who are required to repeat the same greeting or compliance information, the Agent Greeting functionality (playing a sound file from the PC to the desk phone) may be just the ticket to save fatigue and the boredom of repeating the same information on each call, as well as ensuring compliance with company regulations. Both agent and customer can hear the Agent Greeting.

Using 3rd party recording software, such as Windows Sound Recorder or Audacity, the phone forwards audio to the PC for recording. Use the Link 860 and the Transcribing function to play audio files and transcribe them to text. When Transcribing is selected, the PC audio will come over the headset for the agent to hear, but the person on the phone cannot hear this.

To disable these functions, turn the Audio Streaming button OFF.

Other standard features that have been carried over from the previous version include mute, volume control and a dedicated port for supervisory training.

Touch the mute button at the bottom of the Link 860 to mute your microphone; the light in the center immediately turns red, so you have visual notification that your mic is muted. Tap the button again to unmute.

Using the gray dial at the top of the Link 860, adjust speaker volume to the headset. When you turn the ear speaker volume to its lowest level by turning the large gray dial, the Jabra Link 860 beeps; when you turn it up to the highest point, it beeps again; a friendly reminder that minimum/maximum sound levels have been reached. The audial reminder is a nice convenience.

A supervisor port for call assistance is built into the side of the Link 860, similar to the Link 850.

Power is supplied by the micro USB to USB cord that comes in the box with the Link 860; an AC power cord (connecting via the micro USB port) is available as an optional purchase.

The technology and sound protections built into the Link 860 are first class: PeakStop removes line hissing, buzzing and other noises from the network; and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) blocks excessively loud sounds from passing to the ear. Compliance to EU, Australian, and U.S. hearing protection guidelines have been exceeded, so that your ears are safe from sound spikes, acoustic shock and more.

In our tests at Avcomm, using a BIZ 2325 headset and the LINK 860, calls made from the desk phone were crisp and clear; Background noise cancellation was incredible. We’d like to point out that we found the Link 860 to provide much better call quality than when using just a quick disconnect cable. The Link 860 eliminates the majority of background noise, no matter if the caller is speaking or not. Usually when a caller stops talking, customers are able to pick up some of the agent's ambient noise, but this was not the case with the Link 860.

YouTube videos, music streaming at Pandora, and video calls in Vidyo were crystal clear and it was super easy to answer phone calls with the easy switch of the top button on the device.

The Link 860 is ideal for all businesses – using desk phones or softphones – when paired with Jabra quick disconnect (QD) headsets, the Link 860 audio processor is the best solution on the market. Avcomm is offering you a chance to Try it, Love it, and Buy it with a 30-day trial offer at no cost! If you’re interested in learning more, give us a call at 1-866-998-9991.

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