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Consumer vs Business Headsets

Consumer vs. Business Headsets

I strongly recommend you utilize professional, business-grade headsets versus consumer models when using UC platforms from Zoom, Microsoft, Cisco, RingCentral, 8×8, etc. This recommendation extends to all personal and group audio and video devices, but I will focus on headsets to keep it short. 

I have tested leading consumer headset models, including the Apple AirPods, AfterShokz Opencomm, Sony WH-1000XM4, Microsoft Surface Headphones 2, Bose QuietComfort 45, and others. (Click on the hyperlinks to watch the test videos) 

Many of the models I listed will pair and provide an audio path. Over time, I experienced instability with the Bluetooth connection, mainly with the transmit/input audio. Most consumer Bluetooth headsets are designed primarily for listen-only. And I can’t lie, some of them sound fantastic! Especially the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort 45. The other challenge is the lack of call control. Meaning, you can’t answer/end calls from the headset. You must use your mouse. And in some cases, I had challenges muting the microphone. Other times, I experienced being able to hear but not be heard and vice versa when in various UC platform calls and meetings. 

These consumer models can be incredibly frustrating for the IT teams that have to manage the Help Desk Tickets for these consumer headset issues. 

Consumer vs. Business Headsets

Business headset models are compatible, optimized, and certified to work across all the major communications and collaboration platforms used in business. Leading brands like Jabra, Poly, Logitech, EPOS, and Yealink work closely with the platform providers to develop headsets that function and perform optimally in their environments.  

Organizations should develop new audio and video device standards to support this new normal of hybrid work, remote work, work from home, and work from anywhere. Certified headsets meet a broad range of requirements set forth by the platform providers like Microsoft to provide the best possible end-user and administrator experience. One of the first questions asked when seeking help from Microsoft is whether or not you are using a certified device. Contact us! We can help your business select the appropriate headsets.  

In a previous blog post, Devices Make the Experience; I shared these critical differences between consumer and business devices:  

  • Engineered for different uses 
  • Sound quality 
  • Call quality 
  • Connectivity 
  • Packaging 
  • Warranty 
  • Pre-sales Support 
  • Global Support 
  • Ongoing Commitment 
  • Incentives 
  • Device Management Software

A frequently asked question is, ‘Why do I need a USB Dongle?’ I answer the question in this blog and video. The dongle is a crucial difference between consumer and business Bluetooth headsets for use with a computer. For example, Microsoft has the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2, which is their consumer model. The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2+ is their business model certified for Microsoft Teams and includes the Microsoft Surface USB Link. Watch this video playlist comparing the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 and Surface Headphones 2+.  

The last thing to note is where you buy these devices matters. In my blog, Why buy Certified Devices from Authorized Resellers, I share the potential risks of buying through unauthorized sources. It’s best to go through an Authorized Reseller in your region. Authorized Resellers like Call One, Inc. agree to adhere to manufacturers’ policies to ensure customers receive quality products and services designed for their geographic territory. Authorized Resellers undergo extensive education, training, and certification to meet the manufacturers’ requirements to position the appropriate solutions based on your organization’s use case.  

In today’s “work from anywhere” landscape, the headset needs will vary. Contact us! Call One, Inc., and its partners can help identify headsets that align best with your team members’ work style and workspace.  

EHS Cable Wireless Headsets

What is an EHS Cable for Wireless Headsets?

What is an EHS Cable? 

An EHS (Electronic Hook Switch) cable is a solution that connects a DECT wireless headset base and a desk phone. The EHS cable enables remote answer and end call function from the headset. The ability to answer and end calls directly from your headset while at or away from your workstation is a highly beneficial function and a primary reason for getting a wireless headset.  

EHS Cables for Wireless Headsets

Jabra, Poly, EPOS, and JPL have a wide range of wireless headsets and EHS cables to support multiple desk phone brands and models. Contact us! A trained team member from an Authorized Reseller like Call One, Inc. can help. EHS Cables are NOT included with the purchase of a wireless headset due to the various combinations of wireless headsets and desk phones.  

EHS Cables by Brand: 

Not all phones support EHS Cables 

Before you get excited at the prospect of wireless freedom, you will enjoy using a wireless headset and EHS cable; make sure your phone supports it. Not all phones support EHS Cables. Contact an Authorized Reseller to check compatibility. Additionally, they can help identify alternatives like a handset lifter.  

Handset Lifters:

Poly hl10 EHS Cables for Wireless Headsets
Poly HL10

Check Compatibility 

Online compatibility guides are available. However, they may be challenging to navigate and understand if you are not familiar with them. It’s best to contact a subject matter expert to help you select the correct, compatible wireless headsets and EHS cables for your environment. There are hundreds of brands and thousands of individual phone models. You must know the desk phone brand and model whether you check compatibility on your own or contact an expert to help.  

Online Compatibility Guides 

Can EHS Cables be used with other devices? 

Poly and Jabra have developed audio adapters that provide multi-connectivity to corded USB headsets and Bluetooth headsets with the appropriate dongle. The Jabra link 950 and Poly MDA220 adapters connect compatible USB headsets to a desk phone and computer. These adapters can use select, compatible EHS cables to support remote answer/end call functions. It’s best to contact a subject matter expert or the manufacturer directly to check compatibility.  

Multi-Connectivity Adapters 

EHS Cables for Wireless Headsets

Conclusion 

EHS Cables provide the beneficial function of remote call control. The challenge is that not all phones support EHS cables, so it’s important to check compatibility online or contact a subject matter expert who can help you select the right solutions for your use case. Call One, Inc. is a Nationally Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBENC) and an Authorized Reseller of Jabra, JPL, EPOS, and Poly. We have over three decades of knowledge and experience and are happy to support you.  

Manufacturer Support 

Device Management Software Panal

Device Management Software Panel Discussion

The global pandemic accelerated many organizations’ transition to remote work models. Heading into our second year of living in a continued state of uncertainty, organizations have made significant changes to how their employees communicate and collaborate. Cloud-based communications are being adopted and used. Business and IT leaders are developing new audio and video device standards to support the new normal of hybrid work or permanent remote work models.

The Challenge

How do organizations deploy, monitor, and manage devices for a dispersed workforce? How do organizations know if their employees are utilizing approved devices? How can IT teams better support a remote workforce and mitigate potential issues and reduce help desk ticket submissions?

The Solution

Device Management Software. The leading device manufacturers have developed device management software that is free or as a paid subscription. They also offer different delivery methods.

The Panelists:

The Questions:

  • Please provide a brief overview of your solution and share a real-world example of how it has benefited a client.
  • What’s the difference between enterprise and individual desktop software? Do they need both?
  • One of the objections IT has for not supporting device management software is “security.” Security is certainly a legitimate concern, does your software have built-in security measures? What is your response to IT teams who express security concerns?
  • What do you see in the future for device management software?
Jabra Direct Xpress

Watch the video to hear the complete discussion.

Question #1: Please provide a brief overview of your solution and share a real-world example of how it has benefited a client.

Each panelist provides real-world examples of how device management software has benefited clients.

Marty with Poly shares how their software helped a large school district in southern California deploy tens of thousands of Poly Studio USB devices.

Trevor of Logitech shares how their software helped a large insurance company manage their meeting room devices remotely. This saved time and the need for IT team members to go room to room to ensure the devices were up and running.

Scott of EPOS shares several insurance institutions in Connecticut have been doing a hard phone removal. They utilize their software to ensure that headset firmware is updated and in high turnover scenarios, ensuring they are not repeating headsets.

Tim with Jabra shares how a multinational agriculture company in the Midwest uses their software to mass deploy updates to more than 25,000 devices including USB headsets, DECT wireless headsets, and video devices.

To hear their complete stories, watch the video!

What EPOS is Seeing in This New Normal

Question #2: What’s the difference between enterprise and individual desktop software? Do they need both?

Each partner offers device management software. The software allows IT teams to deploy, monitor, and manage audio and video devices. There are also desktop apps that provide end-users the ability to customize their device experience based on their preferences.

Watch the video to hear from the experts the differences between their enterprise software and the desktop app.

Question #3: One of the objections IT has for not supporting device management software is “security.” Security is certainly a legitimate concern, does your software have built-in security measures? What is your response to IT teams who express security concerns?

Each panelist expresses that security is a concern, and they have developed their software with that in mind. They are more than happy to share their certifications and allow your IT teams to test their software. Some also have white papers on privacy and security they are pleased to share.

Watch the video to hear their complete remarks regarding security and the measures they take.  

Question #4: What do you see in the future for device management software?

Each panelist shares their thoughts on the future of device management software and devices as a whole. Some mention “smarter” people are working that on that.

Watch the video to hear their complete comments.

Conclusion

Almost two years have passed, and we’re all still working and living with the pandemic. It’s safe to say work will never return to a pre-pandemic state. The exciting part is how quickly new work norms have accelerated. EPOS, Jabra, Logitech, and Poly are global leaders for multiple reasons. Key reasons are their ability to service and support customers on a global scale. Additionally, they are constantly innovating and developing new technology and devices to help people do their business better regardless of where they work. Business and IT leaders need to look at these new work norms and develop device standards based on their employees’ work styles and workspaces. If you would like to learn more or set up a proof of concept or pilot with any of these leading partners, contact us! And bring it all together by implementing device management software, so team members are more productive.

DECT Headsets

Highest Security Level DECT Wireless Headsets

What is DECT? 

Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT™) is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ESTI) standard for short-range cordless communications, adapted for voice, data, and networking applications. DECT technology has become the global standard for secure residential and business cordless phone communications. More than 110 countries have adopted the DECT system, with more than 100 million new devices sold annually. 

DECT Security Certification 

To meet the increased demand for secure communications, the DECT Forum, the international association of the wireless home and enterprise communication industry, has established the DECT Security Certification program. The certification program consists of requirements and security features, which, when implemented in a product, are validated by an accredited and independent test laboratory to show compliance. (DECT Security Certified products listed here)

3 Steps in the DECT™ Security Chain 

The DECT™ security chain is made up of three steps, as shown below:  

Pairing 

The first and vital step in the process is to bind the headset with the base. Pairing can be done over the air or for greater security by physically docking the headset into the base. This ensures the secret key shared during the process is exchanged via the charging contacts and not over the air.  

Authentication  

The secret key shared during the pairing process is used for each call to establish authentication between the subscribed headset and the base. A non-paired headset will not work with the base.  

Encryption 

The audio between the headset and the base is encrypted for each call so that intruders cannot read it – the encryption keys are regenerated every 60 seconds. 

DECT™ Security Evolution 

DECT security has evolved from the original security definition to new enhanced definitions called Step A, B, and C, each step offers increased security over the previous step. Each new security level includes all features of the prior level.  

  • DECT security – Authentication (DSAA)*, Encryption (DSC, 64 bit keys) 
  • DECT security step A – New features which correct certain vulnerabilities. Secure DECT certification. 
  • DECT security step B – New authentication using strong AES 128 bit encryption (DSAA2)* 
  • DECT security step C – Strong encryption of audio stream using AES 128 bit keys (DSC2)* 

* DSAA and DSC are the authentication and encryption algorithms defined in the DECT security standard ETSI EN 300 175-7 applicable for DECT security and DECT security step A. DSAA2 and DSC2 are the equivalent updated security algorithms for the next steps of DECT security, steps B and C. 

FIPS 140-2 

The Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 140-2 (FIPS 140-2) is a U.S. government computer and security standard used to approve cryptographic modules. Select DECT wireless headsets go one step further and utilize encryption algorithms (Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit encryption) listed in FIPS 140-2 standards required by the US military and government. This level of security goes beyond DECT level C.  

Who Needs DECT Security Step C or FIPS 140-2 Level Security? 

Any industry that shares sensitive or private information over voice calls should strongly consider DECT wireless headsets with a higher level of security to include Financial, Banking, Healthcare, Insurance, Government, and Contact Centers.  

Secure DECT Wireless Headsets  

EPOS has a Protected Pairing process which transfers sensitive pairing data via the charging terminal of the IMPACT SDW 5000 base station instead of ‘over the air’. The security of the pairing process is further enhanced by the authentication algorithm (DSAA2), which uses AES-128-bit keys. The EPOS Impact SDW 5000 Series has reached step B in the DECT security level by implementing this enhanced algorithm. There are multiple wearing styles and connectivity options available to support individual preferences. Contact us for help in selecting the right EPOS Impact SDW 5000 model! Security Features in the IMPACT SDW 5000 Headset Series

Yealink WH6X Series utilize DECT security level step C: Authentication – DSAA2, Encryption – DSC2 (128bit) and Cordless Advanced Technology: CAT-iq 2.0. They are available as stand alone DECT wireless headsets that connect to a computer or compatible IP phones that support USB headsets and they also have a new category of audio devices with their Yealink UC Workstation series.  

AES-128 encryption ensures secured communication when using Cisco Headset 560 Series available with a Standard or a Multibase. The Standard base supports single connectivity to a desk phone or a computer. The Multibase supports connectivity to a desk phone, computer, and mobile phone.

Military Grade Security 

These DECT wireless solutions utilize AES 256-bit keys for the very strongest level of encryption in professional headsets. The Jabra Engage 75 Series and Poly Savi 7300 Office models are also available in multiple wearing styles and connectivity options to support your team members regardless of work style and workspace. Contact us if you need help selecting the right wireless headsets for your team. 

Conclusion 

Cybercrime is on the rise, and in a business environment where customer calls are evermore sensitive, making valuable conversations secure is vital. Protect sensitive information by using secure DECT wireless headsets from EPOS, Jabra, Poly, and Yealink. Call One, Inc. helps mid-to-large organizations, including Financial, Banking, Healthcare, Insurance, Government, and Contact Centers, do their business better by providing professional-grade audio and video solutions. 

 

ANC Headsets Business Collaboration

ANC Headsets for Business Collaboration

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology in business headsets became increasingly popular during the global pandemic as the multitude of traditional in-office workers transitioned to work from home. The home environment introduced sources of noise not often found in offices like doorbells, barking dogs, blenders, and screaming children. Today organizations are making plans that will include the return to the office, remote work, or hybrid work.  

In addition to having a strong noise-canceling microphone, headset wearers have found they want to suppress the background noise they hear so they can focus on their work.  

Some headsets offer Passive Noise Reduction and some offer Active Noise Canceling (ANC). ANC is the stronger of the two. However, not all ANC speakers function the same. According to Jabra’s blog “ANC headsets aren’t all the same: The three types of ANC”, the three types of ANC are feedforward, feedback, and hybrid. The hybrid approach works best but costs the most. Jabra also states aside from the ANC technology itself, there’s a matter of how the headset is designed.  

Compatible with Business Collaboration Platforms 

ANC headsets used for business, need to be compatible or certified with the collaboration platforms being used like Microsoft, Zoom, Cisco, Genesys, AWS, 8×8, RingCentral, and more. Leading headset manufacturers will often include a USB dongle to be used with their ANC Bluetooth headsets. Our customers and YouTube viewers frequently ask, “Why do I need a USB dongle?” With the help of our partners, we provide reasons in this blog: “Why Do I Need a USB Dongle vs Pairing the Headset Directly to a Computer?” The primary reasons to use the dongle are compatibility, connection stability, and call control (answer/end, mute, volume up/down) from the headset vs using your mouse.  

Microsoft Teams certified models will work with no extra configuration required and offer call control with Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. The dedicated Teams button and LED indicator light will provide user notification of events and alerts from the Teams client: Meeting starting, voicemail, or missed call. You can also activate the Teams client or respond to notification with a press of the button i.e. to join a meeting.  

Wearing Styles 

Today there are multiple headset wearing styles that include ANC technology to support the wide range of personal preferences. Some folks prefer having both ears completely enveloped by the speakers. Others prefer the more discreet earbud-wearing style. And, some wearers prefer a headset with a boomless mic.  

DECT Wireless ANC Headsets 

The majority of headsets that offer ANC speakers are Bluetooth. If you require a DECT wireless headset with ANC speakers, the Poly Savi 8220 stereo models are a great option. The Poly Savi 8220 are available in Office and UC variants. The Savi 8220 Office series support connectivity to desk phone, computer, and mobile device. The Savi 8220 UC includes the D200 DECT Dongle for computer-only connectivity. The D200 is available in USB-A UC, USB-A Microsoft, USB-C UC, and USB-C Microsoft. I’m not aware of another business-grade DECT headset with ANC.   

Corded ANC Headsets 

The Poly Blackwire 8225 Series are corded USB headsets available in USB-A, USB-C, and Microsoft Teams variants. Not only do you get ANC speakers, but you also get Poly’s Acoustic Fence technology built into the microphone so the people you’re speaking with don’t hear the noise around you. If you prefer a boomless mic corded USB option, take a look at the Poly Blackwire 7225 Series. If you prefer to have your ears completely enveloped, the Jabra Evolve 80 Series may be a good choice for you. The Jabra Evolve 80 offers USB-A connectivity as well 3.5mm for select mobile devices. They are available in UC and Microsoft variants. 

Bluetooth ANC Headsets with Boomless Mic 

Bose 700 UC ANC Headsets Business Collaboration

In October 2020, we released a video comparing four heavy hitters in the Bluetooth ANC headsets with boomless mic space. It included the Bose 700 UC, EPOS Adapt 660 UC, Jabra Evolve2 85, and Poly Voyager 8200 UC. Watch the video! Bose vs EPOS vs Jabra vs Poly | Which Headphones Sounds the Best? Other available options are the Cisco 730 available in Platinum or Carbon Black. EPOS also has lower-cost options with their EPOS Adapt 560, EPOS Adapt 563 (for mobile only), and EPOS Adapt 360 models in black or white

In-Ear Behind the Neck ANC Headsets 

For folks looking for a sleeker form factor, you have these behind the neck options: Jabra Evolve 75e UC or Microsoft variant, Poly Voyager 6200 UC with USB-A or USB-C dongle, and EPOS Adapt 460T.  

What to look for in ANC Headsets 

I test a lot of headsets. Typically I’m testing the microphones to see how well they perform in real-world environments. Take a look at this Headset Mic Test Video Playlist on our YouTube Channel. Plus, I use headsets daily for communicating and collaborating with colleagues, customers, and partners. I’ve used them in the office, on the road, in airplanes, and from my home office. Here are the variables and factors I considered when selecting my top ANC headset picks for business collaboration:  

  • Connectivity – I need connectivity to a computer and mobile device.   
  • Compatibility – Headset needs to be compatible with 8×8, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, Google Meet, and more. 
  • Battery Life / Talk Time / Listen Time – Whenever I’m not writing blogs or filming videos, I’m in voice and video calls or streaming music. The headset should support 6hrs+ of talk/listen time. If I get back to traveling, I’ll need even longer battery life. 
  • NC mic performance – Hybrid work means working from anywhere. The microphone needs to suppress background noise from multiple noise sources so the party on the other end can hear you.  
  • ANC speaker performance – The key point of ANC headsets is to help you block out distracting background noises so you can focus and be more productive.  
  • Flexibility to use as a wireless or corded USB device – On the off chance, you forget to charge your headset, having the ability to use it as a corded USB device is a great feature. Not all headsets support this option.  
  • Comfort – Anyone who has worn headsets for extended periods knows how important comfort is.  
  • Overall performance – Your headset is a primary collaboration tool that will be used daily. It must perform consistently every day. To ensure optimal performance, be sure to keep your headset firmware updated via the appropriate headset software or app.  

Danny Hayasaka’s Top ANC Headset picks are:  

These two headsets have been solid performers. The Poly Voyager Focus 2 is newer but it very quickly became a favorite based on all the above factors. The Jabra Evolve 75 has been a long-time favorite of mine. Take a look at this Voyager Focus 2 vs Evolve 75 comparison video.  

Which headsets have the best ANC?  

ADAPT 660 Lifestyle ANC Headsets Business Collaboration

Conclusion 

ANC headsets are a great option for Hybrid Work which translates to Work from Anywhere. The need to block out distractions so you can focus on work or enjoy streaming music can be satisfied with a  headset with good ANC speakers.  We have created a page that lists all the current ANC Headsets by Brand (Poly, Cisco, EPOS | Sennheiser, Jabra, & Logitech). If you would like guidance or need mass deployment support regarding ANC Headsets for Business Collaboration, contact us! We are more than happy to help you do your business better!

UC Speakerphones Hybrid Work

Top 5 Picks for UC USB Speakerphones for Hybrid Work and Work from Home

One thing we have all learned from countless hours of video meetings via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and more is that audio is critical. Don’t get me wrong, great video resolution from a business webcam certainly enhances the overall experience. But, if you cannot hear or be heard, the productivity of the video meeting suffers.

Corded USB Headsets and Wireless Headsets certainly fit the bill when it comes to providing professional-grade audio quality. Those fortunate enough to have a dedicated workspace in their home or corporate office may find a personal USB Speakerphone to be extremely beneficial. They are a great primary or secondary audio device. As organizations develop device standards for hybrid and remote work, USB speakerphones should be included as options. USB Speakerphones offer these key features:

  • Always On – Every speakerphone listed in this blog has a USB cable that can be used to power the speakerphone when connected to a computer. No need to change batteries or use an additional AC power supply. Just plug into your computers USB port to start using.
  • Mute feature – When on a call, the mute button is your friend. These speakerphones have a prominent mute button that allows you to quickly mute to block out undesired noise from pets, children, lawn mowers, blenders, significant others or even a cough or sneeze from you!

I have tested several personal USB Speakerphones from these leading brands: Poly, Jabra, EPOS, Konftel, Yealink, and Yamaha UC. You can check out the multiple test videos in this Business Personal and Small Group Speakerphones Video Playlist.

Price

Personal USB Speakerphones range in price from MSRP of $99.95 for a basic Poly Calisto 3200 all the way to $329 for the premium Jabra Speak 750 and $349 for the Yamaha UC YVC-330 that supports up to six people.

Connectivity

Beyond, USB-A or USB-C corded connectivity, some speakerphones offer USB Bluetooth dongles for wireless connectivity to your computer and Bluetooth and/or NFC pairing to your mobile device. Some include a 3.5mm jack and select models include a 3.5mm headset port.

The 3.5mm headset port is an ideal option for use cases that require the user to switch from public to private conversation by simply plugging in a 3.5mm headset. These models offer this feature:

Models with Bluetooth and/or NFC are great for pairing your mobile device. This greatly improves the overall audio quality of voice calls and streaming music and media! Please note that not all Bluetooth models include a USB dongle for wireless connectivity to your computer.

Compatibility

Business-grade speakerphones are compatible with all major communications and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, 8×8, and more.

Select models have met Microsoft Teams specification certification requirements. This peripheral certification program ensures USB devices like headsets, speakerphones, and webcams are plug and play and will work, to include call control with no extra configuration required. Some devices are Skype for Business certified with Teams upgrade. Newer devices will be Certified for Microsoft Teams and include a dedicated Teams button with LED indicator.

Full Duplex

Full duplex speakerphones allow a more natural conversation since both parties can transmit audio simultaneously. Most speakerphones support half-duplex where each party can transmit audio one at a time. Currently only select USB speakerphones have full-duplex audio.

My Top 5 Picks for USB Speakerphones 

For over a year, like many I have been working from home. As empty-nesters, my wife and I are fortunate to each have dedicated rooms in our house to use as offices. She is a Director of Human Resources and like me spends a lot of time on voice and video calls. My wife has long curly hair, so headsets are not her friend. She prefers to use a speakerphone. I spend most of my days on video calls or, filming videos for our YouTube Channel. Even back in our corporate HQ, I had a dedicated office so my set ups are similar minus the revolving door of people that would physically come in and out of my office. Now it is IM’s, texts, and impromptu video meetings. Because I test audio and video devices as part of my role, I have several devices always connected.  

Please note, no manufacturer is paying me, and I am not in any affiliate program. These are my picks based on my personal tests and preferences. 


1. Jabra Speak 750 – This is my current default USB speakerphone. The audio quality is superb, and I love the kickstand feature which helps to reduce the footprint and direct the audio towards me. And, like the Jabra Speak 710, it has the Link button that allows you to wirelessly pair two Speak 750’s to cover a larger area. Check out this video comparing the Speak 710 and Speak 750! 

2. Poly Sync 20 – I love the way this sounds when streaming music! In addition to the Jabra Speak 750, I have the Poly Sync 20 paired to my mobile device so I can play music in between video meetings and if I happen to get a mobile call, I use it for improved audio quality. As an added feature, I take advantage of the USB port to keep my mobile phone charged! Get a complete audio and video solution with the Poly Studio P5 Webcam with Poly Sync 20 for only $249.95! See and hear the Poly Sync 20 in action! Check out this video on the Poly Studio P5!   

3. Yealink CP700 – This is the younger sibling of the Yealink CP900, but I must tell you, I’m a fan of the kickstand feature. The audio quality is very consistent throughout calls across multiple platforms and it is priced at MSRP of only $129! (currently on our website Yealink CP700 only $104.95!). Unlike the other models that provide a neoprene carry case, the Yealink CP700 and CP900 include a solid, sturdy carry case to provide greater protection as you travel back and forth between locations. Watch this Yealink CP700 vs CP900 Video! 

4. Yamaha UC YVC-200 (Black or White) – Yamaha UC solutions don’t get enough attention in my opinion and they have great sounding products. All speakerphones mentioned have a Microphone Mute button so the other party cannot hear anything you are saying. The YVC-200 also includes a Speaker Mute button. Let’s say I’m jamming out to some music via the YVC-200 and my wife comes in to ask me something, I can very quickly hit the speaker mute button to quickly stop the sound. You can also get complete audio and video solution including the YVC-200 with these bundles.  

5. Jabra Speak 510 – This rounds out my list. This is a solid performer that has been around since 2013. This speakerphone just works. Plug it in and start using it across all collaboration platforms. And would you believe I don’t have a video on this device? I have added to my list of videos to film. You cannot go wrong with the Jabra Speak 510.  

When it comes to audio devices, it is important to stick with leaders in this space who develop solutions that provide professional audio quality, are easy to set up and use, and are compatible across all business collaboration platforms. As an authorized partner and reseller, Call One, Inc. can help guide you to which audio and video devices are best for your organization and multiple use cases. Contact us to learn how we can help you do your business better!

Contact Center Headset Solutions

Contact Center Headset Solutions for 2021

It’s been a year since the first stay-at-home orders were issued here in the US. I remember how incredibly easy it was for Call One, Inc. and our sister company Hello Direct to transition from in-office to working from home because we had invested in cloud platforms for our ERP/CRM and business communications and collaboration platforms. We’re looking at the best contact center headset solutions for 2021.

8x8 Contact Center Difference Between UCaaS CCaaS Contact Center Headset Solutions

Our businesses utilize 8×8 as our primary voice and UCaaS platform however, we also use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, and other collaboration platforms to communicate with our customers, partners, and vendors. Our team has access to pretty much any headset they would like. Many of our team members are using the Poly Voyager Focus UC (MSRP $299.95, currently only $199.95). It was great in our open office environment, and it’s also a great solution in their home office environments. It provides ANC speakers, compatibility with all major business communications and collaboration platforms, wireless connectivity to their computer and mobile device, and up to 12 hours of talk time which is more than enough to cover an 8hr workday. Shop all Poly Voyager Focus Series Here!

For this blog I’m focused on Contact Center Headset Solutions that are available from the leading manufacturers: Poly (formerly Plantronics + Polycom), Jabra, EPOS, Cisco, and JPL.

Compatibility

Poly, Jabra and EPOS are the current leaders globally in the contact center headset solutions space for a reason. Poly has been in the call center/ contact center space since the 1960’s and Jabra is a subsidiary of the GN Group that’s been around for over 150 years. These leaders have deep relationships and integration with all leading contact center on-premise and cloud platforms like Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, NICE inContact, Amazon Connect, 8×8, Five9, talkdesk, twilio, and more!

Flexibility – Wearing Styles, Corded and Wireless

Headset Wearing Styles – Headsets are available in a variety of wearing styles to include: Single or Dual Ear Headband Style, Over the ear, Neckband (behind the neck) and Convertible options that include multiple wearing styles with a single sku (Headband, Over the ear, Neckband, other).

USB Corded Headsets – As many contact centers shift to cloud-based platforms, there has been an increased demand in USB corded headsets. Manufacturers have developed headsets with USB-A and USB-C connectivity as well as offer UC and Microsoft Teams certified models. Look at available corded USB headsets from Jabra, Poly, Logitech, Cisco, JPL, EPOS and Yealink here!

QD Corded Headsets – Headsets that terminate in a QD or Quick Disconnect (Easy Disconnect for EPOS Headsets) allow agents to change out interface cable to support connectivity to a desk phone, computer, dispatch console, turret and more. There is not a universal cable that allows you to connect a headset to all phones, computers, and consoles. An authorized headset vendor like Call One, Inc. can provide compatibility and help you choose the right interface option.

Wireless headsets today offer a ton of flexibility. They utilize DECT and/or Bluetooth to support multiple connectivity options and provide you freedom to move about your workspace.

The preferred wearing style for most contact center agents is single or dual-ear headband style like the new JPL Element TT3 Avant Monaural and Binaural options that have QD (Quick Disconnect) feature that allow agents to change out interface cable to support connectivity to a desk phone or computer.

Contact Center Headset Solutions
Jabra Engage 50 series

The Jabra Engage 50 series are headsets designed for the digital contact center. The Jabra Engage 50 features a powerful processing chip in the earcup that delivers advanced functionality including call analytic data. A unique, 3 microphone system with intelligent noise-cancelation filters our background noise and breathing sounds, giving callers a superior experience. For greater efficiency and call control, pair with the Jabra Engage Link. The call control unit accessory enables agents to adjust volume levels and mute, speed dial, answer and end calls, and update their status lights at the touch of a button. The control unit is easy to use and designed to stay in place.

Contact Center Headset Solutions Blackwire

The Poly Blackwire Series offer a broad range of solutions that include ANC speakers, USB-A, USB-C, and 3.5mm Connectivity options, UC and Microsoft Teams certified variants, and headset models that align with all budgets. From the entry-level Blackwire 3200 and 3300 Series all the way to the Poly Blackwire 8225 that includes Hybrid Active Noise Canceling (ANC) speakers and microphone that is Noise canceling with Acoustic Fence Technology and meets Microsoft Teams Open-Office certification levels. Check out this video below showcasing Poly Blackwire 8225 vs Barking Dog!

https://youtu.be/cr5ILr2HrhU

Pre-and Post-Sales Support

All leading headset manufacturers along with their authorized partners like Call One, Inc. and Hello Direct understand the challenges of the contact center. Together we can work to support Proof of Concept or Pilots that allow you to thoroughly evaluate headset solutions before you make a purchasing decision. Additionally, for those contact centers looking to deploy wireless headsets, select brands offer Wireless Density Surveys to determine which wireless headsets and how many you can deploy.

Call One, Inc. offers Agent in a Box service to help simplify deployment of headsets nationwide by including all the required components in one box. We can ship headsets to your contact center agents wherever they are (Business and/or Residential addresses in the US). Learn about how Agent in a Box helped one organization deploy thousands of EPOS SC230 & SC260 Headsets, CAVA31 phone cable and ED01 USB Adapters here!

Warranty Service – Most Contact Center headsets include a 1-3 Year Warranty depending on brand and model. In-Warranty Service is available directly from the manufacturers.

Full Line of AccessoriesSave money and Increase the life of your headset by replacing accessories like ear cushions, mic screens, voice tubes, wireless headset batteries, and more!

Wireless Headset Accessories

Corded Headset Accessories

Headset Management Software

 As Contact Centers shift to working remotely, a robust CCaaS solution like available from 8×8 is becoming critical, as well the ability to monitor and manage headsets remotely. Most IT leaders understand that you need more than the ability to push out software and firmware updates. Headset Management Software continues to evolve. Today, headset software from select partners allows you to monitor, manage and maintain your headsets. IT can help troubleshoot and fix issues remotely as well as manage deployment and inventory effectively. But there’s so much more! Contact Center customers can improve the customer experience by leveraging the power of analytics to influence business results with unique data captured directly from the headset. Please contact us to learn more about current headset management software.

Poly Lens

 Other Contact Center Services

Call One, Inc. can support contact centers of all sizes. Global Contact Centers may have additional services available directly through the manufacturers depending on size and global footprint. Contact us directly to see if you qualify!

Trade-In Programs – To help simplify the deployment of new headsets, trade-in programs are sometimes enabled to leverage existing headsets by assigning them a dollar amount and using that as a credit towards the purchase of new. Contact us to see if you qualify!

Eprocurement – Our in house Ecommerce team can integrate with your existing purchasing platforms and even help to develop and manage CIF and PunchOut catalogs to help simplify access to the headsets and full line of accessories you need. Contact us to learn more!

Budget Optimization Program – Call One, Inc. offers convenient monthly payment options for your contact center headset needs. We understand the value of positive cash flow and provide equipment financing options to help you make the most of your budget. Contact us to see if you qualify!

CCaaS Solutions – Call Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions enable you to architect a customer experience that will leave your customers pleased and feeling good about interacting with your brand when they call. They enable a more dynamic business with on-demand scalability, global reach, and easy, out-of-the-box integrations into the widely used software that makes your business run. Contact us to learn which CCaaS provider is best for your Contact Center!

Conclusion

2021 marks 34 years of servicing customers. In the beginning we served primarily call centers and dispatch centers with Plantronics, GN Netcom, ACS and Unex headsets. Today, the contact center manages multiple channels of communications with customers that includes email, social media, chat, voice and increasingly, video. Our long term and very strong relationships with the leading brands and providers give us an additional layer of support when it comes to helping meet your contact center headset solutions needs. If you would like to learn how we can help your contact center, contact us today!

What EPOS is Seeing in This New Normal

What EPOS is Seeing in This New Normal? | Interview With Scott Houston

Danny Hayasaka, Sr Director of Marketing and Emerging Technology of Call One, Inc. and Hello Direct had a virtual Q&A with Scott Houston, Field Engineer with EPOS to learn what they’re seeing in this new normal. What questions did we ask? Here’s a list

1. In regard to peripherals, what changes has EPOS seen from users when it comes to headsets and speakerphones?

2. How are organizations managing these assets for remote users? Does EPOS offer a solution?

3. What technologies does EPOS utilize in their solutions that make them a good fit for Contact Centers?

Scott answered the first question( In regard to peripherals, what changes has EPOS seen from users when it comes to headsets and speakerphones?) with the following:

“What we’ve seen before, you know, pre-pandemic and everything that’s happening. You’re in your office space, and you’re kind of just handed a headset.

But now with so many working from home and utilizing so many of the features that are out there for these devices, it’s just having a quality product to deliver that message.”

For the second question (How are organizations managing these assets for remote users? Does EPOS offer a solution?) He states:

“There was such a focus for so many enterprises on how do we keep our workers and and the information and, everything that they’re doing secure, right?

“But also what’s been changing is the UC landscape as a whole, right? Changes coming from Microsoft people switching from, island mode into teams only and now with the removal of Skype for business.”

And finally, the last question, (What technologies does EPOS utilize in their solutions that make them a good fit for Contact Centers?) here is what Houston had to say;

“So that’s where our offering for it is called EPOS manager. There you have a cloud service where your admin can go in and have visibility of everyone who has kind of the client version on their machines at home.

“It’s not just EPOS devices. So you can see what your people are using out there, which will help you with, you know, troubleshooting calls and keep the burden of support tickets to a minimum.”

Thanks for tuning in! We want to thank Scott Houston for joining us on this Q&A with Danny Hayasaka. If you want to watch the full interview to see what EPOS is seeing in this new normal, check it out below:

EPOS SP30 Yealink CP900

EPOS Expand SP30 vs Yealink CP900 | Speakerphone Comparison

The EPOS Expand SP 30+ and Yealink CP900 with BT50 dongle come in at an MSRP of $259. In this blog/video, we provide similarities and differences between them and then we have some fun. We do a mic pick range test and also a speaker audio test. Watch and listen for yourselves below. Between the EPOS SP30 and Yealink CP900, which one do you think sounds better to you?

If reading is more your style, check out the specs on these speakerphones:

Features

  • Optima HD voice
  • Microphone pickup range up to 6.5 feet / 2 meters
  • Full-duplex technology
  • Noise suppression (NS)
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
  • Acoustic echo cancellation (AEC)

EPOS Expand SP30

Features

  • Experience plug-and-play conferencing anywhere Portable with Bluetooth® or USB-C connection, multipoint connectivity – for up to three devices
  • Get exceptional audio performance for conference calls, music and multimedia With EPOS VoiceTM technology, ultra-low distortion speaker and two echo and noise-cancelling microphones with advanced algorithms
  • Natural conversation experience With industry-leading duplex performance that allows simultaneous speech
  • Crafted to perfection From premium-quality materials in a compact, lightweight design with convenient cable winding and safe dongle storage
  • For personal or shared use In huddle rooms for up to eight participants with a choice of automatic or manual reconnection for an optimal user experience

During our test and direct comparison of the EPOS SP30 Yealink CP900, we found that both speakerphones do a tremendous job at outputting quality audio. That being said, you normally wouldn’t be blasting music out of one of these, but it’s still interesting to compare! For the price they are set at you can’t go wrong with either one. Your personal use case should be the deciding factor. Want to see the full run through? Check out our latest video below where we put them head-to-head:

USB Dongle versus Pairing Headset

Why Do I Need a USB Dongle vs Pairing the Headset Directly to a Computer?

This is a frequently asked question on our channel so we decided to reach out to Jabra, Poly and EPOS for their response. While you can pair your headset directly to your PC or Mac, the primary reason to use a dongle is call control. Using the pre-paired dongle will support the headset user the ability to answer and end calls via headset controls vs platform GUI. Other reasons to use a USB dongle versus pairing headset to Bluetooth are improved audio quality, increased roaming range, and overall user experience.

Here is what they had to say:

Jabra

Using the included Jabra Link Bluetooth adapter with your Jabra device will ensure the following functionality:

  • Integration with computer softphone and software support with Jabra Direct
    Full integration between a Jabra device and a computer softphone usually works only when combined with a Jabra Link Bluetooth adapter. Connecting to a computer without a Jabra Link Bluetooth adapter may provide audio capability in the device but not call control for answering and ending calls.
  • Bluetooth range
    Jabra devices obtain the best possible range when they are used with a Jabra Link Bluetooth adapter and not the built-in Bluetooth in a computer. Bluetooth performance of a computer is usually limited to a range of 2-5 meters/ 6-50 feet in a typical office environment.
  • Factory pairing and installation
    The Jabra Link Bluetooth adapter and Jabra device come pre-paired in the box. The Jabra Link Bluetooth adapter supports plug-and-play functionality, without needing to install separate software drivers on the computer.
  • Identification as a soundcard
    When pairing with the Jabra Link Bluetooth adapter, the device is identified by the computer operating system as a soundcard and can be used for all audio purposes. If a device is paired with the built-in Bluetooth of a computer, the device is usually recognized by the computer as a headset and can only be used for communication purposes.

Poly

Why are BT600 USB bluetooth adapters needed vs. pairing the headset directly to the PC/MAC?

Poly Bluetooth UC devices are full-featured and designed for optimal user experience. To fully benefit from the advanced functionality and have the most reliable audio experience, it is required that the headset is paired via the BT600 USB Bluetooth adapter versus paired directly to the PC/MAC. Poly provides function and additional benefits through the BT600 USB adapter in the following ways:

  • PC/MAC Bluetooth systems can vary widely in design and capability. By providing a BT600 USB Bluetooth adapter, Poly can ensure a better experience because we control both ends of the wireless connection
  • The BT600 USB Bluetooth adapter functions as an audio processor, which assures the best audio experience through wideband audio support—providing the highest voice quality. If connected directly to the PC/MAC, wideband audio is not possible
  • Without the BT600 USB adapter, PC/MAC Bluetooth systems do not typically provide capability to use the call control from the headset. Calls must be managed from the PC/MAC GUI and the buttons on the headset do not function. This eliminates mobility and provides a poor user experience
  • The BT600 USB Bluetooth adapter supports Poly software which provides advanced features, customization, as well as firmware upgrade capability
  • PC/MACs typically do not support all the required Bluetooth profiles or may assign the wrong Bluetooth profile to an application. The result can be poor audio quality, loss of audio on microphone or earphone, and inconsistent operation
  • The BT600 USB Bluetooth adapters enumerates to the computer as an audio device and therefore cannot act as a USB storage device. That being said, BT600 adapters cannot be used to access data on the PC/MAC

EPOS | Sennheiser

It’s the same reason for us, along with being the key to Microsoft Certification. Both the headset and dongle together is what certifies the device for use with Teams, or Skype for users still using SFB. Using the dongle will give you improved audio performance and connectivity performance as opposed to pairing native to the machine which the BT chipset can vary and may not handle audio as well as other machines etc. This is why we recommend it for most users.

Summary

As you can see, through all three partners, they have similar options on using a USB Dongle versus pairing headset to Bluetooth. Having a USB dongle is critical for having a better sound, connection, and overall better experience. Want to learn more? Check out our latest video: