Within the past year, we have noticed the increased frequency of questions about headsets with active noise cancelling. Many customers are familiar with the consumer brands out there that offer Active Noise Cancelling in headphones used for music and other media and are now asking us, “But what about for office headsets?” The pervasive noisy open office environment, as well as the continuing needs of mobile workers handling important calls on the go, provokes the question. Active noise cancelling technology (ANC) will reduce unwanted noise and eliminate distractions.
From the headset brands that we carry, there are several choices that, depending upon the connection type, may provide the ANC you need.
1. The Jabra Evolve 75 UC is our top pick for a wireless Bluetooth ANC headset. The large leatherette ear cushions are comfortable and perfect for all-day wear. The speakers rotate to lay flat in the hard-sided case (click here to see the case) that the headset comes in. The noise-cancelling microphone boom arm can be clipped to the headband when you’re not on calls – a magnet secures the boom arm until you’re ready to use it again. Integrated Busylights in the ear cups alert co-workers to your availability – at a glance. ANC is easy to turn on and off with the touch of a button on the left ear cup. The Listen-In feature allows you to keep ANC turned on – yet tuning into the conversation surrounding you – with a simple tap on the left ear cup. There are two certified versions of the Evolve 75: UC and Certified for Skype for Business. The included Link 370 dongle allows you to walk up to 100 feet away from the PC it’s connected to. Talk time is approximately 15 hours. There is an Evolve 75 UC version with the charging stand, which we recommend for those who primarily work at a desk. The stand is a great place to store and charge the headset when not in use. MSRP is $279.00 ($329.00 for the headset and stand).
2. The Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC is the newest ANC wireless headset, and has a contemporary boomless mic design: dual-paired omnidirectional mics with enhanced Digital Signal Processing. These technologies ensure your voice is picked up and background noise is not the focus of the conversation. Dual mode ANC lets you choose preferred noise-reduction level. Smart sensors allow you to answer calls by simply putting on the headset and automatically mute your calls or pause music by taking the headset off. It offers an almost-unbelievable 20 hours of talk time. A carrying pouch is included. The Voyager 8200 UC is available in two colors: Black and White and MSRP is $379.95.
3. Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is the first wireless headset offering ANC. The Focus UC is compatible with smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and PCs via Bluetooth. It offers up to 12 hours of talk time (10 with ANC on). This is another intelligent headset: Smart sensors answer calls by simply putting on the headset, mute by taking the headset off and pause/resume music. First-to-market Dynamic Mute Alert feature senses and alerts users when they are trying to talk when muted. The sleek noise-cancelling mic can be worn on either side of the head by rotating the boom arm. A carrying pouch is also included with this headset; MSRP is $279.95 or 299.95 for the version with the charging stand.
4. Sennheiser’s MB 660 UC MS has innovative NoiseGard hybrid adaptive ANC that constantly monitors your background environment for noise, thus adjusting the level of noise reduction in the headset seamlessly. Advanced own-voice detector provides optimal speech intelligibility while reducing background noise. SpeakFocus technology, along with the 3 digital microphones, enhances voice clarity in all sound environments. The listening experience can be personalized with the various sound effect modes: Club, Movie, Speech, or Director. The MB 660 UC MS comes in a hard-sided case for travel convenience. This headset is certified for Microsoft Skype for Business and optimized for UC platforms. MSRP is $399.00.
5. The Sennheiser MB 360 UC is a double-sided, Bluetooth headset with Active Noise Cancellation that reduces background noise to increase work focus. Similar to the MB 660, this headset has a boomless mic design. Take calls and listen to multimedia without compromising on business performance or audio quality. Large ear cups reduce distracting background noise with excellent damping; and the soft ear cushions are comfortable for extended wear. The new robust foldable design allows the headset to be stored in the included carry pouch. This headset is optimized for UC and is Skype for Business certified. MSRP is $249.00.
6. Wireless around-the-neck earbud wearing styles are the newest addition to the professional office headset market. The Jabra Evolve 75e has an integrated Busylight and magnetic earbuds that connect to pause your music, or end your call. The neckband is silicon rubber and is sweat and water resistant, however, make no mistake: this business headset is made for work. The three-microphone technology provides crystal-clear calls and creates a unique "talk-zone," making sure you’re heard, while nearby voices are filtered out. ANC is activated by pressing a button on the neckband; to "listen in" to your environment, simply press and hold the same button. The headset comes with a USB dongle, zippered hard-sided travel case, three eartip and three pairs of both EarGels and EarWings, and includes a desktop charging stand. MSRP is $259.00.
7. The Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC headset features Plantronics clear talk technology, four omnidirectional mics and enhanced
noise cancelling, optimizing your voice and minimizing background noise. ANC can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch. Connect to PC with the included BT600 dongle. Also included: a hard-sided, zippered travel case, desktop charging stand, and 3 sizes of eartips for maximum comfort and customization. The Voyager 6200 UC is offered in two colors: Black and Sand. MSRP is $299.95.
For both of these neckband earbud headsets, the neckband will vibrate when there is an incoming call, so you won't need to keep the earbuds in your ears at all times.
8. Plantronics Blackwire 725 All-day users of PC softphones will like this headset. This is a corded, all-in-one USB headset with large leatherette ear cushions that rest on the ear. It also features a leatherette padded headband for added comfort. The microphone is noise-cancelling and has a flexible boom arm that can be bent to personalize the fit. The in-line call controller has a built-in clothing clip, soft touch answer/end and mute buttons, a rocker-style button for volume, and on the side of the controller, the ANC on/off switch. Slide the switch toward ANC to activate. Smart sensor technology allows you to answer a call by putting the headset on your head. A zippered neoprene travel pouch protects the headset from damage – either while traveling, or even in the office environment. MSRP for the Blackwire 725 is $179.99.
9. Blackwire 7225 features Active Noise Canceling and a boomless mic design, in a corded headset. A new twist: the headset controls are all located on the ear speakers, similar to a wireless headset. Video calls are common in work places today, and a resounding demand was for a headset without a mic boom. The technology found in the microphone design is impressive: its 4 mic design detects noise from all directions and separates noise from the speaker's voice. Digital Signal Processing (DSP) delivers a natural voice sound. USB-A and USB-C models are available in both color choices: Black and White. MSRP is $199.95 for all variants.
Download Plantronics Hub software to gain call control across multiple softphones. A headset control panel allows for customizing settings, including call notification.
10. Sennheiser offers the Century SC 660 ANC USB, which adds Active Noise Canceling into the Century 660 series of premium USB headsets. ANC is easily activated with the sliding switch located on the side of the in-line call controller. An ultra noise-canceling microphone ensures that your caller will hear only you &emdash; and not your background environment. Proximity Sensor Technology allows for answering, pausing, and resuming calls by simply taking the headset on and off.
The SC 660 series has a solid feel, and a luxury fit, for comfortable all-day wear, and is both Microsoft-certified and optimized for UC applications. If you need to travel with your headset (or work in another location) the ear cushions rotate to lay flat for travel in the included carry pouch. The magnetic holder is a great feature, too: attach the magnet to your desk, where the call control unit will rest; the magnet on the unit will hold the call controller in place. Sennheiser offers its standard three-year warranty for this headset. MSRP is $249.00.
USB and 3.5mm Connection
11. Jabra Evolve 80 This corded headset is compatible with devices that have a 3.5mm port and PCs via USB. Oversized ear cup style cushions completely surround the ear and hug the user’s head. It is the heaviest of the 3 choices, weighing in at 11.43 ounces – almost ¾ of a pound. The bulkiness of the headset could prove to be a deal breaker for some users; however, customers who own this headset don’t mind the heft and comment on its incredible ability to block ambient noise. There is a comfort feature to the headset: the headband has a soft rubber cushion that allows it to lightly rest on the head.
Activate ANC at the bottom of the right ear cup. A nice feature of the Evolve 80 is the “Listen In” button: when you have ANC activated, but need to “listen in” to your environment, press the button in the middle of the right ear speaker, to temporarily disable the ANC. Press the button again to resume ANC. The rechargeable battery is charged when the Evolve 80 is connected via USB port.
Other features: a neoprene zippered pouch for travel (the ear cushions rotate to lay flat) and a noise-cancelling microphone that mutes automatically when the mic boom is docked in the headband. MSRP: $329.00.
Hi-fi stereo sound and wideband audio for listening to music and multimedia applications contribute to the luxury feel of all of these headsets.
ANC Headsets for Desk Phones
12. The very first (and so far, only) DECT wireless headset with Active Noise Canceling is the Plantronics Savi 8220. This headset connects to desk phones, PCs and mobile phones. Conference two of your three devices to collaborate with colleagues or connect up to four Savi 8200 Series headsets for training or call resolution. There are 2 versions available: Microsoft Skype for Business certified, and UC. MSRP is $459.95.
At this time, ANC technology is not available in QD (quick disconnect) headset versions. We have tested a solution here at Avcomm that has proven to be successful for our customers, and lets you use an ANC headset (Bluetooth or USB) with a desk phone!
We recommend the Plantronics MDA220 USB, an audio switcher for PCs and desk phones, along with a USB headset of your choice, to connect your ANC headset to a desk phone. Yes, that’s right: an ANC headset CAN be used with your desk phone! And it's important to note that any brand of headset can be used with the MDA220 USB.
Jabra Engage wireless headsets let you work away from your desk and still maintain a wireless connection that won’t let you, or your customers, down. You will appreciate superior sounding calls, even in busy offices with many wireless devices: the Jabra Engage Series enables three times as many people to work wirelessly in the same office space. Advanced noise-canceling microphone and enhanced speakers deliver crystal-clear calls, even in noisy offices.
Up to 13 hours' talk time — and when you do need to charge, the fast charge feature powers the headset to 40% in just 30 mins. Connect to desk phone and soft phone for both Engage 65 and 75; additionally, the Engage 75 includes Bluetooth, for mobile connection. Choose your wearing style: Mono, Duo,and Convertible options available. The Engage series is a strong replacement for the Jabra Pro 9400 headset series, which has been discontinued. Learn more about the transition, here: Jabra Pro 9400 Series Headsets Have Been Discontinued.
To get all of the details about the Jabra Engage series, watch our YouTube video, below.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel and help us get to 250 subscribers! Once we reach our goal, 10 lucky subscribers will win new Jabra headsets!
Avcomm Solutions staffers have been celebrating college and high school graduations with their family members this month, and we have heard some great commencement speeches. Typical advice shared by graduation speakers is that the end of formal education doesn't have to be the end of learning. This is especially true today, as there are many opportunities to learn — from home — at our fingertips. And, many are available at no cost!
Learn a foreign language with the Duolingo app; iTunes U offers everything from Introduction to Psychology to Woodworking; Coursera is used by Fortune 500 companies for professional development; and YouTube videos are another way to learn everything from how to tie a bowtie to playing guitar and checking tire air pressure.
One of our employees likes Master Class, which offers online classes from experts. She especially likes the cooking and wine classes taught by Gordon Ramsey. Other employees take dance classes with their spouse; host foreign exchange students to learn about other cultures; and take golf lessons at a nearby municipal golf course.
The benefits of learning new languages, skills, sports and ideas have the potential for new relationships, world travels, career advancement, and more. Your brain also benefits from learning, because the neurons are stimulated and form more neural pathways, which slows aging.
With all of these advantages, and opportunities to learn, our advice is that today is the day to learn a new skill and invest in yourself. Now, go out there and make us proud!
The introduction of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology into business professional headsets has been a successful pairing. With noisy open office environments and working on the go, active noise canceling technology is important for success (and a sure way to find focus in the midst of chaos).
We are fortunate to test the headsets that we sell, which makes it easy for us to recommend targeted solutions for each customer's unique work style and environment. In this video, Carey McCoy provides an overview of the three Active Noise-Canceling headsets that Jabra offers. From corded to wireless, large ear cushions to small ear buds, Jabra has a headset for you!
Take a few minutes to watch this informative and entertaining overview, and then be sure to "Subscribe" to our YouTube channel! Give our headset experts a call at 1-866-998-9991 for personalized headset recommendations.
A guest post by Mike Dershowitz, the CEO of Rethink Staffing, a Fair Trade Outsourcing Company, and its sister facility, RTS Philly Outsourcing Center. He believes that when companies focus on their employees’ social and economic progress, it motivates them to perform better at work and produce outperforming results. Contact him at 888-631-0398 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial consultation. Read more from Mike on his Medium site.
Original publish date: September 3, 2018
As much as the contact center world is deploying AI and bots, like any other business, to optimize its operations with existing humans, or someday replace them, there has been a parallel, growing body of practice known as “Video consumer Service” that is quietly changing our industry as well.
With broadband almost everywhere now, video conferencing has come into the mainstream and is used by many business professionals almost on a daily basis. A 2017 study by IHS Markit stated that 85% of companies surveyed use video conferencing as part of their unified communications environment.
Make no mistake, video consumer service could be coming to your contact center. Video consumer service gives us a fascinating window, not only into the future, but also into a world where “phone etiquette” is insufficient, and a place where bots will not be able to go for decades, if ever.
At Rethink Staffing, one of our earliest consumers was a company with a pure Video Consumer Service need. While we do handle their regular multi-channel support, their video consumer service staff is twelve times the size of their multi-channel staff. For their business, Video is consumer service.
Asked whether or not we could do this, our answer was “absolutely,” and we had a handful of early Agents who were game. But once we got started, there were a host of issues we definitely had to worry about, for which neither we nor our client was prepared for.
For the uninitiated, video consumer service is simply rendering a consumer service session via video, where you can see the consumer, and your consumers can see you, and interact with you through a microphone, speakers and a webcam. While not for everyone, you’d be surprised how many consumers find it a viable option.
In preparation for the day when a video consumer opportunity may be at your doorstep, here’s a small list of things to consider if one of these comes across your desk:
First up? “Eyelines.” When your consumers can see your agents via video, it’s a whole new ball game about what your contact center actually looks like. The consumer will care, and comment, about what they see. Embarrassment ensues, like the time we inadvertently positioned an agent’s desk in front of the door to the men’s room without realizing it. Luckily all the consumer saw was hands being washed before we caught that mistake and corrected it.
Second: “New Etiquette.” We had to re-write the rules here, on both sides. What shocked us most was how some agents became lax in their behavior on camera, in many cases without noticing it. Like the time that a consumer who went to retrieve a piece of information, and our Agent decided now was a good time to brush her hair, and reapply makeup, and continued to do so when the consumer returned.
Third: “Connection.” Connection and computer speeds at your consumer’s point of contact will vary greatly. While the software for video consumer service should validate your consumer’s technology, this will impact the way your Agents render service. They have to be on the lookout for pauses, echoes, and other impediments to smooth communication. Think back to the early days when we started getting calls from consumers on mobile phones.
Fourth: “Thick Skin.” We had to retrain folks on what they could expect to see from those outlier consumers. No longer were we worried about sarcastic comments, profanity, or yelling. Now, we had to worry about the visual side of all of that, as well as a window into consumer’s lives that turned early agents into enthusiastic voyeurs.
And then there was the time when the Agent, confronted with an attractive member of the opposite sex on their video screen, tried to end the call by getting a date.
In the beginning, while it was certainly an entertaining and a profound window into the human psyche, the video feed ended up normalizing Agent behavior, once they were made aware, much faster than the phone does. Simply put, the human psychological need for esteem and not to be embarrassed turned out to be our biggest ally in creating professional behavior while on video.
Also, it’s important to not neglect the IT issues here. Forget about just good webcams and microphones — that’s table stakes. Your IT department has to worry about massively greater bandwidth consumption, redundancy, congestion, as well as packet routing.
Finally, the intimacy of video is so much greater than the phone; 90% of all human communication is nonverbal. The upside to video consumer service is that when it’s good, your agents feel much better about helping their consumers and the thanks they receive make a much larger impact on them.
So, if you see a video consumer service application come across your desk, I say go for it. If nothing else, it will be challenging and fun. Just make sure you’re prepared for what you’re getting yourself into!