With the new year quickly approaching, Plantronics has informed us of the latest list of end of life product in 2016. If you see some of your favorite headsets on this list that are being discontinued, act quickly to purchase now before stock runs out! The EncorePro series is the suggested replacement for the headsets on the list; the DA70 and DA80 are the recommended replacements for the adapters on the list.
The 10 variants of the Sennheiser Circle series have been upgraded with new features, and with its proven functionality, the Circle series is a superior option in the contact center and office workspace. A Red Dot design award winner in 2012, the Circle series is even better with these premium features. Often relied upon as the standard contact center headset, the series is offered in both USB and QD versions for maximum compatibility with phone systems and softphones.
The Circle Flex dual hinge ear cups now come with soft leatherette ear pads covering acoustic foam. These ear cups ensure a closer ear fit, all-day wearing comfort and optimized sound quality. Sennheiser ActiveGard technology protects users against acoustic injury.
Another upgrade to the USB headsets in the series is the inline call controllers. The new sleek design makes them more ergonomic and easier to use. The controllers allow you to answer/end calls; adjust volume up and down; mute the mic; redial the last outgoing call and reject an incoming call. Check out the USB CTRL II headsets here: SC 230 USB MS II and SC 260 USB MS II.
Kudos to Sennheiser for including a nylon carrying pouch with each headset! This saves a few dollars, as well as wear and tear on your headset when it’s not in use. Transport the headset to another work location, or when you’re traveling, and you don’t have to worry about the headset cords, ear cushions, or microphone boom being destroyed in your laptop bag!
The lightweight, metal-reinforced headbands allow you to adjust the headband for a personalized fit. Noise-cancelling microphones cancel the background noise so your caller hears you, and not the background surrounding you.
Customer input was relied upon in these latest upgrades, according to Lars Riis Rasmussen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, EMEA, at Sennheiser Communications.
“Over the past few years, our Circle series headsets have become a popular and valued all-day working tool in many contact centers, office, and Unified Communications environments,” says Rasmussen. “We have used customer feedback to further improve the product range.”
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:
Poor sound (echoes, distracting noises, unable to hear participants due to the wrong equipment being used)
High set-up costs
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!
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!
*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 18.104.22.1685 or above
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!