Much more comfortable ear hook for Sennheiser SD Office, DW Office and D10!!!

By Danny Hayasaka

April 25, 2016

No one can complain about Sennheiser’s audio quality. However, many customers did complain about the over the ear wearing style for their convertible wireless headset models.

Sennheiser has remedied this by developing and producing a new more comfortable ear hook for the SD Office, DW Office, and D10 variants.

It’s the NEW HAS 20 Ear Hook, Adapter and earbuds set. Product Code: 506524

What’s in the package? Ear Hook, Adapter and 3 sets of earbuds: Small, Medium and Large

Attaching the adapter to Sennehiser Office series headset “a snap”. You can easily switch from right ear to left ear wearing style simply by changing the Ear Hook itself.

The earbuds are easy to change out as well.

I really dig the thin super soft leatherette sleeve wrapped around ear hook. Makes for more comfortable wearing.

Maybe you’ve been on the fence about trying a Sennheiser SD Office or D10 because of the over-the-ear wearing style. Here’s an opportunity for you to revisit.

And I’m not even an over the ear fan. I personally prefer in the ear, behind the neck or headband. This was so lightweight I barely noticed I had it on.

Jabra PRO 900 Series Wireless Headsets – Simple, Reliable, Affordable

By Danny Hayasaka

April 21, 2016

Wireless headsets are much more prevalent in the workspace. I remember many, many years ago the first wireless headsets by ACS then GN Netcom. And of course, Plantronics joined in and took the market by storm. Now all major headset manufacturers offer wireless solutions. I remember how hard it was to get businesses other than call centers to even consider trying corded headsets.

When wireless headsets finally became affordable we couldn’t keep enough on our shelves. There is no question wireless headsets increase productivity. What’s been happening over the past decade is a shift in how businesses/people communicate and collaborate. Most businesses don’t have just one method. They have desk phones, softphones, web-based collaboration platforms and of course mobile devices.

Wireless headset manufacturers began developing multi-connectivity wireless headset options to fit the varying connectivity requirements. While extremely beneficial for multiple businesses…there is still a need for a more simple solution.

Jabra offers the PRO 900 Series. What I like about this series is the simplicity. They are easy to set up and use. They have great talk time, very good audio quality and well… they just work.

I think customers/vendors sometimes forget this series exists. I also think there is some confusion with the multiple PRO 900 Series variants. I’ll try and simplify.

The PRO 900 Series has four main connectivity options:

  1. Desk Phone
    1. Jabra PRO 920 Mono
    2. Jabra PRO 920 Duo
    3. Jabra PRO 925 Single Connectivity
  2. Softphone
    1. Jabra PRO 930 UC Mono
    2. Jabra PRO 930 UC Duo
    3. Jabra PRO 930 Mono for Microsoft Lync/SfB
    4. Jabra PRO 930 Duo for Microsoft Lync/SfB
    5. Jabra PRO 935 Single Connectivity
    6. Jabra PRO 935 Single Connectivity for Microsoft Lync/SfB
  3. Desk Phone and Mobile
    1. Jabra PRO 925 Dual Connectivity
  4. Softphone and Mobile
    1. Jabra PRO 935 Dual Connectivity
    2. Jabra PRO 935 Dual Connectivity optimized for Microsoft Lync/SfB

Why so many variants? Jabra recognizes the increase in wireless headset use. To help address wireless density issues, they offer DECT and Bluetooth options. If the model ends in “0” it’s DECT. If the model ends in “5” it’s Bluetooth. The Jabra PRO 920 Mono is DECT. The PRO 935 Single Connectivity would be Bluetooth.

Now that you know which models are which…here’s what makes the PRO 900 Series winners:

  • TALK TIME!!!
    • Up to 8hrs – PRO 920 and PRO 930 variants
    • Up to 12hrs – PRO 925 and PRO 935 variants
  • Conference up to 4 Headsets on one base
    • Great for Training purposes and multi-shift scenarios
  • Supports EHS Cables (sold separately)
    • Cisco, Avaya, Polycom, Toshiba to name a few
  • Firmware Upgradeable
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Mono Variants Convertible
    • Headband and Over the ear (This is probably my only con. Ear hook, not the most comfortable if worn for long periods of time – at least for me)
  • Dual Connectivity Variants
    • Desk Phone and Mobile
    • Softphone and Mobile – It just works. Once mobile is paired it connects as soon as you are in proximity automatically
  • Really Good Audio Quality
    • I’ve had no complaints in reference to receive volume
    • Audio is clearly heard
    • Transmit quality also good – no negative feedback
  • And of course… THE LOW PRICE!

If you are in search of a simple, good quality wireless headset that just works at a low price….then you need to check out the Jabra PRO 900 Series…

 

 

 

Blackwire C215/ C225 Review

By Danny Hayasaka

April 6, 2016

The reality is just about every employee uses a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). While there are scores of Bluetooth headsets, sometimes customers are in search of a corded, lower cost option that offers durability and great audio quality.

The Plantronics Blackwire 200 Series offers just that with these two variants:

What’s in the Box: First off, there is no box. Headsets come packaged in plastic bag. You get the single or dual ear headset and a Quick Start Guide.

At first glance: They look just like the Plantronics Blackwire 310 and 320. Of course upon closer inspection you’ll find they are not USB. They terminate in a 3.5mm plug.

Set Up & Use: Really not much to it. Plug into 3.5mm jack of mobile phone or tablet and you are connected. Please note if connected to PC via Soundcard its listen only. No transmit. It’s nice for listening to webinars or streaming media. The headset is lightweight and speakers feel comfortable. The mic is flexible so you can bend so it’s closer to your mouth for optimal noise canceling. The headband is adjustable to fit most folks.

What I really dig is the inline control. It has an answer/hang up button, mute switch (you can visibly see “red” when muted) and even volume control.

Other nice feature for easy storage and portability is the speakers fold flat.

The audio quality is really good especially with dual ear model if listening to music. Reminder about the inline volume control. I had inline volume on low initially and wasn’t digging audio quality. Then I turned up the volume and that made huge difference.

I made several test calls to include stationary while sitting on my desk and also walking around the office. The noise canceling mic is ok. Good enough especially for sub $40 headset with inline controls.

Overall this is a nice addition to the Plantronics portfolio in terms of having multiple options/solutions for the ever changing communications and collaboration landscape. More and more workers are using their mobile devices to communicate and collaborate. Some like the stability a headband headset offers vs smaller in the ear or over the ear Bluetooth solutions. Some companies don’t allow Bluetooth at all so the Plantronics Blackwire C215/ C225 are good options.

Are you busy? How to visually show co-workers your status

March 29, 2016

By Danny Hayasaka

Before we added our Kuando Omega Busylights it was somewhat chaotic. As most know who follow this blog, we are 100% Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business. First thing to go were our desk phones as folks opted for headsets or USB speakerphones.

However we had some issues. Because we actively sell multiple devices from various manufacturers, we have a mix of Plantronics, Jabra, Sennheiser, Logitech, VXi, and Microsoft headsets. Not all brands offer “online indicator lights” and the ones that do, all look different.

The Jabra busy light only works with certain Jabra Wireless Headset models. The same is true for the Plantronics brand. What if employee had corded headset or a brand other than Plantronics and Jabra?

I had tested the Kuando Busylight and it was pretty sweet. It was USB so it was headset/device brand agnostic. Not only did it indicate if you were online or not, it also showed your Microsoft Lync Presence status. Available (Green) – Do Not Disturb (Purple) – Busy (Red) and Away (Yellow)

One issue…light was too small. You had to be right up a person to see their status. Then I learned about the Kuando Omega busylight which was exactly what we were looking for. Bigger light that can be seen from a distance.

They are so much more than online indicator lights that show Presence status.

Microsoft Lync & SfB

1st class designed software

Never miss a call

  • Rings and/or flashes on incoming calls
  • Adjustable volume

Message waiting indication

  • Notification alert on missed calls/IMs
  • Flashes every 4 sec. to indicate a missed call

Presence indication

  • Avoids interruptions while on a call or busy
  • Lights up your Lync/SfB presence to inform nearby colleagues if you are available or not

Lync Call Handling tools – valuable hot keys

  • Fast dial out – copy phone number and press hot key.
  • Answer call – press hot key to answer/end call
  • Busy on busy –redirect a 2nd call to destination for unanswered calls (call group/voice mail/?) (If you are on the phone, and someone else is calling you – what happens?)

Now I can look out across the sales floor and “see” everyone’s presence status. We even got creative and affixed lights above private office doors so people coming to our office can “see” if we are available or not.

If you are in a UC environment that is supported by Kuando this may be an option for you to consider.

Click here for more info on Kuando Busylight UC – Implementation

My USB headset isn’t working… “Have you updated the firmware?”

By Danny Hayasaka

January 21, 2016

We get lots of calls from customers who claim their USB headset isn’t working. One of the first questions we ask is, “Have you updated the firmware?” Most issues are corrected once customers download the software and update the firmware.

Yes, you need to download the appropriate software when you purchase a corded or wireless USB headset from Plantronics, Jabra, VXi and Sennheiser. Jabra and Plantronics also offer an Enterprise solution that allows IT to manage remotely versus going from station to station making changes.

Here are links that will direct you to the current software downloads:

Most also have software for Mac.

Here are some of the feature/functions that USB headset software offers (go to each link for specific details on the various software and supported devices and softphones):

    • Change device settings
    • Visible mute and battery status
    • Readiness Status
    • Device-level call control with call answer/end, mute, and volume adjust
    • Compatibility for a broad range of softphones
    • *Remote Call Control (Answer/End Call, mute, redial etc) from the headset
    • Readiness Status
    • And More!

Most of the software offers a graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easy to “see” what you are connected to and status.

The GUI also allows the end-user to quickly make device setting changes.

You can quickly and easily make device setting changes with a few clicks.

The main point is if you are experiencing issues with your Plantronics, Jabra, Sennheiser or VXi USB headset and haven’t downloaded the software and updated firmware… that may be the issue.

 

How I extend the range of my Bluetooth headset in a Microsoft Lync/SfB UC environment

By Danny Hayasaka

January 11, 2016

I’m speaking for Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business only, however, I’m certain many UC platforms support this feature.

Plantronics, Jabra, Sennheiser, and VXi all produce multi-connectivity Bluetooth headsets that allow end-users to pair Bluetooth headset to their mobile device as well as their PC/Laptop via USB Bluetooth dongle.

Despite many of the UC Bluetooth headsets supporting Class 1 range (up to 100ft range), many users would like more range.

The majority if not all professionals have a mobile device (Smartphone/Tablet) at all times.

Here’s a tip I have used to increase the wireless roaming range within an office space. I simply utilize the “Simultaneously Ring” and “Call Forwarding” features of our Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business client. I have all Lync/SfB calls forwarded to my mobile device if I’m going to be away from my desk. This allows all calls to ring on my mobile device, whether I’m on the Sales Floor, Admin, IT, Operations area downstairs or even on my way to lunch! I don’t miss a call as I have my mobile headset paired to my mobile phone.

In Lync/SfB you have the options to forward calls to: Voice Mail, Mobile, Home (phone), New Number or Contact, or My Delegates. You have the same options for the Simultaneously Ring feature.

For more detailed info on these Microsoft Lync/SfB Features go to: Set Call Forwarding options

I am currently using the Plantronics Voyager Edge UC however I have evaluated tons of Microsoft Lync/SfB Optimized/certified/compatible UC Bluetooth headsets to include: Plantronics Voyager Legend UC, Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, Jabra Motion UC, Jabra Stealth UC, Jabra Evolve 65 UC, Sennheiser Presence UC, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 and 2 UC & VXi Voxstar UC.

There are many options available when it comes to multi-connectivity Bluetooth headsets depending on your use case and wearing style preferences. You can choose from single ear, dual ear, over the ear, in the ear, and over the ear. The Plantronics Voyager  Focus UC offers Active Noise Canceling speaker option. The Jabra Stealth UC offers remote access to Siri /Google Now voice assistant. Each model offers a different list of feature functionality as well as varying talk times. Contact a UC headset specialist to help guide you in making the right choice for your business communications needs.

Here is a list of Mobile & Softphone Connectivity Headsets (These Bluetooth headsets pair to your mobile phone/tablet as well PC/Laptop via USB Bluetooth Dongle):

Can I extend the range of my Bluetooth headset in a UC environment?

By Danny Hayasaka

January 11, 2016

I’m speaking for Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business only, however, I’m certain many UC platforms support this feature.

Plantronics, Jabra, Sennheiser, and VXi all produce multi-connectivity Bluetooth headsets that allow end-users to pair Bluetooth headset to their mobile device as well as their PC/Laptop via USB Bluetooth dongle.

Despite many of the UC Bluetooth headsets supporting Class 1 range (up to 100ft range), many users would like more range.

The majority if not all professionals have a mobile device (Smartphone/Tablet) at all times.

Here’s a tip I have used to increase the wireless roaming range within an office space. I simply utilize the “Simultaneously Ring” and “Call Forwarding” features of our Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business client. I have all Lync/SfB calls forwarded to my mobile device if I’m going to be away from my desk. This allows all calls to ring on my mobile device, whether I’m on the Sales Floor, Admin, IT, Operations area downstairs or even on my way to lunch! I don’t miss a call as I have my mobile headset paired to my mobile phone.

In Lync/SfB you have the options to forward calls to: Voice Mail, Mobile, Home (phone), New Number or Contact, or My Delegates. You have the same options for the Simultaneously Ring feature.

For more detailed info on these Microsoft Lync/SfB Features go to: Set Call Forwarding options

I am currently using the Plantronics Voyager Edge UC however I have evaluated tons of Microsoft Lync/SfB Optimized/certified/compatible UC Bluetooth headsets to include: Plantronics Voyager Legend UC, Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, Jabra Motion UC, Jabra Stealth UC, Jabra Evolve 65 UC, Sennheiser Presence UC, Sennheiser MB Pro 1 and 2 UC & VXi Voxstar UC.

There are many options available when it comes to multi-connectivity Bluetooth headsets depending on your use case and wearing style preferences. You can choose from single ear, dual ear, over the ear, in the ear, and over the ear. The Plantronics Voyager  Focus UC offers Active Noise Canceling speaker option. The Jabra Stealth UC offers remote access to Siri /Google Now voice assistant. Each model offers a different list of feature functionality as well as varying talk times. Contact a UC headset specialist to help guide you in making the right choice for your business communications needs.

Here is a list of Mobile & Softphone Connectivity Headsets (These Bluetooth headsets pair to your mobile phone/tablet as well PC/Laptop via USB Bluetooth Dongle):

 

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 1,100+ miles later…

By Danny Hayasaka

January 5, 2016

It’s a new year and new challenges and goals to stay fit. Last time I wrote about the Plantronics BackBeat FIT was in June 2015. At that time I had logged 408.4 miles wearing them. It’s January 5th and I have now logged 1,111.1 miles wearing my Plantronics BackBeat FIT. Regardless of whether I ran 1 mile or 13.1 miles… the BackBeat FIT stayed connected/paired to my iPhone 6 Plus and the music streamed wonderfully.

This year I ran mainly in my where I currently reside; Melbourne/Viera, FL. I’ve had the privilege of running everywhere I traveled in 2015: Fairfield, NJ, Southbeach, FL, Jupiter Beach, FL, Cape Canaveral, FL, Cocoa Beach, FL, Indian Harbour Beach, FL,  St Pete Beach, FL and even El Centro, CA. I run mainly early morning or just as it’s getting dark so the scenery is quite nice.

Even when I’m not running the BackBeat FIT have been an awesome set of wireless earphones. After running I do an ab session and stretch. In the evening I do weight lifting or body weight strengthening exercises. Additionally I sprinkle HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) throughout the week. Whether I’m doing jumping jacks, jump squats, mountain climbers, or dreaded burpees, the BackBeat FIT stays on securely. All the others I had would fall out of my ears or fly off my head completely.

I do all the grocery shopping for our household. I absolutely love wearing my BackBeat FIT while grocery shopping. I especially love wearing them when I’m out shopping with the wife. While she’s off looking for the latest fashions, I’m off in my own world jamming out to my favorite songs.

It’s 2016. At some point this year I have set a goal of running a marathon distance. One morning I’ll wake up, put on my BackBeat FIT and go run 26.2 miles just because.

Since March of 2015 these puppies have been going strong. I sweat like crazy and they are still working. I have run in the rain…they are still working.

Reminder of some of the great features:

  • 8hrs of music playback
  • 6hrs of talk time
  • 14 days of standby time (this is perfect if you forget to charge)
  • Flexible
  • Sweat proof (P21 technology)
  • Control Music and Calls
  • Download free BackBeat FIT App to keep up with the latest firmware

They come in two flavors:

If you want something that stays put and just works…I highly recommend these.

VTech enters the audio conferencing phone ring…

By Danny Hayasaka

December 23, 2015

There are multiple audio conferencing/speakerphone manufacturers. So why should anyone consider VTech ErisStation’s? Because VTech offers a much demanded feature: Completely wireless mics!!!

Some will say, wait a second…Revolabs offers wireless mics and speaker and Polycom offered wireless mics for a hot second. You’re right however the VTech ErisStation design and price may peak your interest.

Currently VTech ErisStation Conference Phones with Wireless Mics come in three flavors.

Let’s get right into the main differentiating feature: Portable DECT 6.0 microphones with Orbitlink Wireless Technology

The wireless mics are really the star here. How often do conference call participants have to “lean in” towards the speakerphone so they can be heard? We have weekly conference calls and I like to “walk and talk”. That can sometimes be a problem the further I get away from the mics of traditional speakerphones. Enter in the VTech ErisStation Conference Phone with Wireless Mics. I simply grab one of the mics and I can walk and talk to my heart’s content and still be heard clearly. Additionally, the other participants in the room can easily be heard by strategically placing the wireless mics around the table. And of course, the base station itself has two fixed mics (VCS704 and VCS754) (VCS702 has one fixed mic on base station).

The other cool feature is the wireless mics all have their little slots on the actual unit. You can easily see if mics have been returned for charging.

These units are feature packed!

  • Two-Year Standard Warranty
  • DECT 6.0 wireless microphones with Orbitlink Wireless Technology™
    • Place the wireless microphones anywhere in a conference room and enjoy interference-free, high-quality sound.
  • Ample Wireless Mic Talk Time
    • VCS704 and VCS754 provide up to 8 hours of wireless mic talk time
    • VCS702 provides up to 12 hours of wireless mic talk time
    • Up to 70 hours of standby time per wireless mic
  • Full room coverage
    • Choose models with one fixed and two wireless mics (VCS702) or two fixed and four wireless mics (VCS704, VCS754) for maximum room coverage and participation.
  • Premium sound quality
    • Thanks to features like full-duplex technology, digital mixing and audio equalization, nothing is lost in translation.
  • Charging built-in
    • Magnetic charging bays in the base phone ensure the wireless microphones are always charged and ready
  • VCS754 offers USB connection to PC/Laptop for use with softphones or to act as better PC speaker

For more detailed specifications and features you can check out VTech’s ErisStation website: http://businessphones.vtech.com/products/product_list/erisstation

I tested VCS704 initially and have to say I was impressed with the audio quality of the speaker. The feedback I received from the folks I called all state they can hear me loud and clear. Just for fun, I took the mic and went far enough away that I could no longer hear the speaker however, was told that I could still be heard. It’s highly unlikely anyone will roam 150-300ft away from base but it’s nice to know you can.

I know it’s a small thing but having set up multiple conference phones in my time, VTech ErisStations only have one cable going into the base unit. This may a huge thing in the way of cable management on conference room tables.

I also set up the VCS754 and connected to my PC via USB for use with Microsoft Lync/SfB. It doesn’t allow answer/hang up from unit itself but if you are using Lync or other PC softphone/UC platform, it’s nice to know you have this option for better audio quality conference calls with wireless mic capability. USB cable is included with purchase of VCS754.

Conference calls are given. They happen all the time. There are multiple conference room sizes/furniture configurations and varying amounts of people. There are times when there is a main speaker and there are times when all participants need to talk. Let them be heard by passing them the wireless mic offered by VTech’s ErisStations!

Is there a Training-Y for USB Headsets?

By Danny Hayasaka

November 18, 2015

Even though I’ve mentioned it several times, I still get asked fairly regularly by our reps and customers. “Is there a Training-Y for USB Headsets?”, “Is there any way to connect two USB headsets to one USB port for training purposes?” or “Is there a USB splitter we use to connect two USB headsets so both headset users can hear and be heard?”

The answer is no. It’s not a USB headset manufacturer thing, it’s a PC thing. A PC only recognizes one audio path and device. For instance, I have several USB audio devices connected to my PC however, I can only use one at a time for voice calls and for streaming audio.

For Lync/SfB calls I can select audio device I want. For audio from PC I go into my Control Panel, go to Sound and select the audio device and set as my default.

Believe me, I have tried to “trick” the system by using a multi-USB adapter but was unsuccessful.

If you are an organization that utilizes softphones and requires “buddy jacks”, “peer training”, needs to have two individuals be able to listen and talk in real time to the same call…you can’t do it with a hardwired USB headset. Again, it’s not a USB headset manufacturer issue, it’s PC thing. I believe the same is true of Mac iOS, I’ll have to confirm when I get home.

For now the only device that allows TWO headsets to connect to one USB port for training purposes is the Jabra Link 265 with two Jabra QD headsets.

To my knowledge, this is currently the only option. If anyone knows of any other way to connect TWO USB hardwired headsets into a PC so both can receive/transmit via same call, please share.