Peripherals maker Plantronics has launched a range of wireless headsets aimed specifically at the unified communications (UC) market, allowing the integration of multiple devices.
The new Savi Series features two wireless headset systems, the Savi Office and Savi Go. As the names suggest, the first is designed for office workers, and provides a single wireless headset for mixing desk phone calls with PC audio and softphone calls, while the latter is aimed at mobile professionals providing connectivity to the PC and mobile phone.
Both products have variants that support UC systems from providers such as Avaya, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft, as well as other services like Google Talk and Skype.
"As UC becomes more prevalent in the enterprise, professionals are increasingly using a mix of communication tools, including desk phones, softphones and mobile phones, on an everyday basis," said Melanie Turek, industry principal for UC at analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.
"Intelligent headsets that can unify devices and applications to help eliminate costs and improve workforce collaboration are truly essential for successful UC deployments."
Research by Frost & Sullivan suggests that revenue for worldwide UC application and service markets grew by 294 per cent in 2008, and will see a compound annual growth rate of 72 per cent until 2014.
"Plantronics is participating in numerous UC pilot projects, helping IT departments to increase adoption by understanding end-user needs and preferences," said Chuck Yort, vice president and general manager of business-to-business solutions at Plantronics.
"Experience is teaching us that the last leg of UC - how well end users interface with devices - is just as critical as the infrastructure."
The Savi Office headset system promises a range of 160 metres, and allows users to listen to PC audio, including web conferencing, multimedia streaming and music, and switch to and from desk phone and softphone calls.
The Bluetooth-based Savi Go includes a USB adaptor, and supports Advanced Audio Distribution Profile for wireless stereo streaming, and multipoint technology that allows users to switch between mobile and PC calls at the touch of a button.
Plantronics is offering the device in two versions, one optimised for Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and one for other UC platforms.
The headsets come bundled with the PerSono Suite, a new application helping users to manage calls and audio, including functions such as mixing desk and softphone calls, muting and holding calls, and personalising features such as saving ring-tones, volume levels and default settings.
Pricing has yet to be finalised, but the Plantronics Savi Office and Savi Go Optimised for Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 will be available through retailers in the next few months, and Savi Go enhanced for other UC platforms will be available this summer.
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