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What’s the difference between ANC and NC?

By Danny Hayasaka

August 14, 2019

Every day I hear customers requesting “ANC” or “NC” headsets. Some know the difference however many don’t. It’s kind of like “Bluetooth”. To some, “Bluetooth” simply means “wireless”. Whether it’s DECT, 2.4Ghz, 900Mhz is irrelevant to them. They want a “Bluetooth (Wireless)” headset. For this blog, I’m talking about headsets for professional use by Poly (formerly Plantronics), Jabra & Sennheiser.

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Why Jabra PanaCast?

By Danny Hayasaka

August 13, 2019

Jabra acquired Altia Systems in February 2019. In June 2019 they announced Jabra PanaCast. Since then, there’s been a lot of buzz.

 

Why? Jabra PanaCast has a lot of really cool technology in a small little package.

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Open Office Headset Solutions

By Danny Hayasaka

Noise is a major distraction in open offices today. It becomes extremely challenging for employees to focus on their work. Plus co-worker interruption causes a decrease in productivity as it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on task.

How many times throughout the day are you interrupted or distracted?

One simple solution is to use an Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headset that helps reduce or completely block out background noise (if streaming audio/music).

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How do you choose the right headsets for your organization? Part I

Series by Danny Hayasaka

7/9/18

Having been in this industry for over 19 years I’ve had the opportunity to see the evolution of headsets. Some dismiss headsets as commodities however they are becoming increasingly critical to an organizations business processes and their overall business communications and collaboration strategies.

The headset is how your company’s voice is transmitted to the world. In addition to customers and partners, clear communications are also important internally amongst peers and colleagues. More emphasis should be placed on selecting the right headset if listening to your customers and being able to be heard clearly matters to you and your business.

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Open Office Headset Solutions

By Danny Hayasaka

Original August 23, 2017

Updated Feb 28, 2018

Noise is a major distraction in open offices today. It becomes extremely challenging for employees to focus on their work. Plus co-worker interruption causes a decrease in productivity as it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on task.

How many times throughout the day are you interrupted or distracted?

One simple solution is to use an Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headset that helps reduce or completely block out background noise (if streaming audio/music).

There are different options from multiple manufacturers. All brands offer ANC headsets that are certified/optimized/compatible with all major UC platforms like Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, 8×8, RingCentral, and more!

Each brand puts their own spin on the various models from SmartSensor technology to integrated BusyLight to Boom-less mic options. They also have corded USB variants as well as completely wireless headsets.

Asset Management is becoming increasingly more important. Jabra, Plantronics and Sennheiser all offer Enterprise Headset Management software.

Plantronics Manager Pro (Subscription Service)

Jabra Xpress (Free)

Sennheiser HeadSetup Pro Manager (Subscription Service)

Speak with Call One, Inc. Account Executive to help you identify which model is best for your use case!

These ANC headsets are all USB models. If you would like to use on your “desk phone”, Plantronics models can be connected to desk phone via the MDA 220.

Let’s take a closer look at the individual models

Plantronics ANC Headsets:

NEW Voyager 6200 UC

 

Variants:

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling earbuds
  • Neckband with Earbuds Wearing Style
    • Single and dual ear options (right and/or left ear use)
    • Have both earbuds out if needed
  • Vibrating Neckband signals incoming calls
  • Up to 9hrs of talk time, 16hrs of Listen Time
  • Dynamic Mute alert feature senses and alerts user when talking while muted
  • Supported via Plantronics Hub and Plantronics Manager Pro
  • Class 1 Bluetooth – up to 98ft wireless range
  • Portable – durable carrying case included
  • Charge base included
  • Connect to PC/Laptop via USB Dongle and mobile devices (Tablet/Smartphone) via Bluetooth
  • Multipurpose button to answer/hang up, play/pause, next track, go back a track

What’s bad?

  • At the moment I’m having a hard time finding something I don’t like

Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC

Variants

What’s good?

  • Dual Mode Active Noise Canceling
  • Plantronics Smart Sensor Technology
  • Boomless Mic
  • Mobile and PC/Laptop connectivity
  • Connectivity to Desk Phone/PC via MDA 220
  • Listen Time: Up to 24 hours
  • Talk Time: Up to 20 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 1 month
  • Roaming Range: Up to 98 feet
  • 5mm audio cable connectivity
  • Carrying pouch for portability

What’s bad?

  • 5mm audio cable listen only
  • No USB cable connectivity option

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Wireless Headset

Variants:

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • Plantronics Smart Sensor Technology
  • Hi-Fi Stereo
  • Very comfortable
  • Talk Time: Up to 12 hours (10 ANC on)
  • Listening Time: Up to 15 hours (12 ANC on)
  • Roaming Range: Up to 150 feet with adaptive power (with Class 1 supported devices)
  • Carrying case for portability
  • PC/Laptop connectivity
  • Connectivity to Desk Phone/PC via MDA 220

What’s bad?

  • No cable connectivity option (i.e. in flight connectivity option, or USB cable connectivity)

Blackwire 725 Corded USB Headset

 

Variants:

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • Plantronics Smart Sensor Technology
  • Hi-Fi Stereo
  • Very comfortable
  • Portable – durable carrying case included
  • Connect to Desk Phone and PC via MDA 220

What’s bad?

  • Doesn’t support Bluetooth

Jabra ANC Headsets:

Jabra Evolve 75e

Variants:

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling earbuds
  • Neckband with Earbuds Wearing Style
  • Single and dual ear options
  • Have both earbuds out if needed
  • Listen-in feature
  • Vibrating Neckband signals incoming calls
  • Up to 13hrs of talk time, 14hrs of Listen Time
    • 2hr Charge Time
  • Sweat & water resistant Yes, IP54
  • Integrated red light on the microphone box, activated when on a call or manually by the user when busy, to act as a “do not disturb” signal
  • One tap access to “MS Cortana, Apple Siri®, Google Now™” on the mute/voice button
  • Up to 100 ft. with PCs, up to 33ft with smartphones
  • Portable – durable carrying case included
  • Connect to PC/Laptop via USB Dongle and mobile devices (Tablet/Smartphone) via Bluetooth
  • Multipurpose button to answer/hang up, play/pause, next track, go back a track
  • Magnets in earbuds
    • For easy and comfortable position around the neck. When the earbuds are connected, your music will pause or your call will be ended.

What’s bad?

  • Must be worn in right ear when making calls
  • There have been some audio quality issues when used with Link 370
    • We identified if we connect Link 370 to USB Extension cable it minimizes/solves audio issue

 

Jabra Evolve 80 UC and Microsoft variants

Variants:

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • USB and 3.5mm corded connectivity
  • Busy Light (can be manually activated)
  • Microphone boom arm can be integrated into the headband when not on a call or simply listening to music
  • Microphone mute on boom arm
  • Soft pouch included for portability
  • Listen in feature

What’s bad?

  • Doesn’t support Bluetooth

Jabra Evolve 75 UC & Microsoft variants with or without stand

Variants

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • Dual Bluetooth connectivity to Mobile and PC/Laptop
  • USB Cable connectivity supports both receive/transmit and charges at same time
  • Up to 15hrs battery life
  • Hi-Fi Audio
  • Boom arm can be clipped to headband when not in use (also acts as mute switch when boom arm up)
  • Listen-In button
  • Integrated Busy Light
  • First Skype for Business certified headset meeting the requirements for Open Office and Outdoor
  • Great Noise Canceling Mic

What’s bad?

  • Boom can only be on right side

 

Sennheiser ANC Headset

Sennheiser MB 660 UC and Microsoft variants

Variants

What’s good?

  • Dual mode Active Noise Canceling
  • Boomless mic
  • Multiple connectivity options: Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, Audio cable with answer/end button (2.5 mm and 3.5 mm jack plugs), USB cable with micro-USB connector, BT800 USB dongle
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours
  • Standby time: Up to 15 days
  • Range: Up to 82ft
  • 2 Year Warranty
  • Sound Effect modes (via free Captunes App): Club, Movie, Speech, Director – User defined)
  • Nice hard cover carry case for portability
  • Audio quality when streaming music or watching movies via mobile device is awesome!

What’s bad?

  • On/Off done by folding speakers flat
  • I wasn’t a fan of the touch sensors, I like prominent buttons but that’s me

 

Open Office Headset Solutions

By Danny Hayasaka

August 23, 2017

Noise is a major distraction in open offices today. It becomes extremely challenging for employees to focus on their work. Plus co-worker interruption causes a decrease in productivity as it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on task.

How many times throughout the day are you interrupted or distracted?

One simple solution is to use an Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headset that helps reduce or completely block out background noise (especially if streaming music).

There are different options from multiple manufacturers. All brands offer ANC headsets that are certified/optimized/compatible with all major UC platforms like Cisco, Microsoft & Avaya.

Each brand puts their own spin on the various models from SmartSensor technology to integrated BusyLight to Boom-less mic options. They also have corded USB variants as well as completely wireless headsets.

Speak with Call One, Inc. Account Executive to help you identify which model is best for your use case!

These ANC headsets are all USB models. If you would like to use on your “desk phone”, Plantronics models can be connected to desk phone via the MDA 220.

Let’s take a closer look at the individual models

Plantronics ANC Headsets:

Blackwire 725 Corded USB Headset

 

Variants:

  • 202580-01 Blackwire 725, Standard
  • 202581-01 Blackwire 725, Microsoft

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • Plantronics Smart Sensor Technology
  • Hi-Fi Stereo
  • Very comfortable
  • Portable – durable carrying case included
  • Connect to Desk Phone and PC via MDA 220

What’s bad?

  • Doesn’t support Bluetooth

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Wireless Headset

Variants:

  • PLT-202652-01-006 Plantronics B825 Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth Headset with Stand
  • PLT-202652-02-006 Plantronics B825-M Voyager Focus UC Lync Bluetooth Headset with Stand
  • PLT-202652-03-006 Plantronics B825 Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth Headset (No Stand)
  • PLT-202652-04-006 Plantronics B825-M Voyager Focus UC Lync Bluetooth Headset (No Stand)

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • Plantronics Smart Sensor Technology
  • Hi-Fi Stereo
  • Very comfortable
  • Talk Time: Up to 12 hours (10 ANC on)
  • Listening Time: Up to 15 hours (12 ANC on)
  • Roaming Range: Up to 150 feet with adaptive power (with Class 1 supported devices)
  • Carrying case for portability
  • PC/Laptop connectivity
  • Connectivity to Desk Phone/PC via MDA 220

What’s bad?

  • No cable connectivity option (i.e. in flight connectivity option, or USB cable connectivity)

Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC

Variants

  • PLT-208769-01-006 Plantronics 8200 UC Black Bluetooth Headset
  • PLT-208769-02 Plantronics 8200 UC White Bluetooth Headset

What’s good?

  • Dual Mode Active Noise Canceling
  • Plantronics Smart Sensor Technology
  • Boomless Mic
  • Mobile and PC/Laptop connectivity
  • Connectivity to Desk Phone/PC via MDA 220
  • Listen Time: Up to 24 hours
  • Talk Time: Up to 20 hours
  • Standby Time: Up to 1 month
  • Roaming Range: Up to 98 feet
  • 5mm audio cable connectivity
  • Carrying pouch for portability

What’s bad?

  • 5mm audio cable listen only
  • No USB cable connectivity

Jabra ANC Headsets:

Jabra Evolve 80 UC and Microsoft variants

Variants:

  • JBR-7899-823-109-003 Jabra EVOLVE 80 MS USB Stereo Headset with ANC
  • JBR-7899-829-209-001 Jabra EVOLVE 80 UC USB Stereo Headset with ANC

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • USB and 3.5mm corded connectivity
  • Busy Light (can be manually activated)
  • Microphone boom arm can be integrated into the headband when not on a call or simply listening to music
  • Microphone mute on boom arm
  • Soft pouch included for portability
  • Listen in feature

What’s bad?

  • Doesn’t support Bluetooth
  • Hefty price tag

Jabra Evolve 75 UC & Microsoft variants with or without stand

Variants

  • JBR-7599-832-109-002 Jabra Evolve 75 MS Bundle including Link 370
  • JBR-7599-832-199-002 Jabra Evolve 75 MS Bundle with Charging Stand
  • JBR-7599-838-109-002 Jabra Evolve 75 Stereo UC Bundle including Link 370
  • JBR-7599-838-199-002 Jabra Evolve 75 UC Bundle with Charging Stand

What’s good?

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • Dual Bluetooth connectivity to Mobile and PC/Laptop
  • USB Cable connectivity supports both receive/transmit and charges at same time
  • Up to 15hrs battery life
  • Hi-Fi Audio
  • Boom arm can be clipped to headband when not in use (also acts as mute switch when boom arm up)
  • Listen-In button
  • Integrated Busy Light
  • First Skype for Business certified headset meeting the requirements for Open Office and Outdoor

What’s bad?

  • Boom can only be on right side

 

Sennheiser ANC Headset

Sennheiser MB 660 UC and Microsoft variants

Variants

  • SEN-507092-006 Sennheiser MB 660 UC
  • SEN-507093-006 Sennheiser MB 660 UC MS

What’s good?

  • Dual mode Active Noise Canceling
  • Boomless mic
  • Multiple connectivity options: Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, Audio cable with answer/end button (2.5 mm and 3.5 mm jack plugs), USB cable with micro-USB connector, BT800 USB dongle
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours
  • Standby time: Up to 15 days
  • Range: Up to 82ft
  • 2 Year Warranty
  • Sound Effect modes (via free Captunes App): Club, Movie, Speech, Director – User defined)
  • Nice hard cover carry case for portability

What’s bad?

  • On/Off done by folding speakers flat
  • Hefty price tag

 

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):

Jabra Stealth UC Review

By Danny Hayasaka

March 30, 2015

I attended EnterpriseConnect 2015 in Florida as I do every year.  As I made my way through the exhibit hall floor I came across one of our very good partners, Jabra. They outfitted me with their new Stealth UC. I’ll write another blog later because I was actually able to test the competitive product right there on the really loud exhibit hall floor.

The Jabra Stealth UC is a headset that allows users to connect to their mobile device via Bluetooth or NFC and PC/laptop via USB Bluetooth dongle. It comes in two variants:

5578-230-109 JABRA STEALTH UC supports most major UC platforms

5578-230-309 JABRA STEALTH UC (MS) optimized for use with Microsoft Lync

What’s in the box? Stealth Headset, Carry Case, USB Adapter, Car Charger, Micro USB charging cable, Large and Medium size ear hooks,

At first glance: It’s a small, sleek, cool looking Bluetooth headset.

Set up & Use: Headset goes into “Pair mode” when you first turn on. I went into my Bluetooth menu on my iPhone 6 Plus and selected Jabra STEALTH and headset “Connected”. One of the things I noticed is there are no volume controls.  Besides the on/off switch, you also have an answer/hang up and a dedicated Voice Control Button that allows you to activate Apple Siri and Google Now. It’s actually a cool feature as you can just tap the button, Siri comes on and you can ask away i.e. “Siri, find me a Chinese restaurant?” When I got back to the office, I plugged Uthe SB dongle into PC and it paired right up (the dongle and headset come pre-connected).

This is an in-the-ear headset. I know some folks don’t like that. I personally use the smaller black eartip and it stays in place comfortably.

Jabra also has the Jabra Assist App you can download to your iOS and Android mobile device that offers some nice features like battery meter that warns when you need to recharge device and Find my Headset and even a Find My Car. Jabra Assist works with multiple Jabra Bluetooth devices: Jabra Stealth, Storm, Style, Classic, Drive, Tour and Freeway.

So how does it sound? Again, due to size I wasn’t expecting much however it seems technology really is improving as the noise canceling was much better than expected. Initially the receive volume didn’t seem to be loud enough however it did adjust. Plus you can also use your mobile device to increase volume.

The charge port is located on boom.

Here’s a list of features and specs:

  • ƒƒ Smartphone voice control button for remote activation of Siri / Google Now
  • ƒƒ Noise blackout dual microphone technology reduces background noise
  • ƒƒ HD Voice* for high definition sound quality
  • ƒƒ NFC** for easy pairing
  • ƒƒ Stream music, podcasts or GPS directions
  • ƒƒ Up to 6 hours talk time
  • ƒƒ Stay connected with the Nano sized bluetooth dongle
  • ƒƒ HD sound with noise reduction
  • ƒƒ Superior comfort in a small design
  • ƒƒ Dedicated voice control button

* Network dependent **Device dependent

How you work really dictates which device is best for you. The Jabra Stealth UC suits how I work because I don’t have a desk phone. I use Microsoft Lync via my PC and my iPhone 6 Plus for communicating and collaborating.

 

Jabra Evolve 80 Microsoft Lync Stereo Review

By Danny Hayasaka

October 16, 2014

Jabra Evolve is new series of USB headsets that includes multiple models however this particular variant is one of the cooler headsets I’ve had the pleasure of evaluating.

Two Evolve 80 variants:

Jabra Evolve 80 Microsoft Lync Stereo (Jabra SKU# 7899-823-109)

Jabra Evolve 80 UC Stereo (Jabra SKU# 7899-829-209)

What’s in the box: Jabra Evolve 80 Microsoft Lync Stereo Headset, Carry Pouch, Cable Management clip, USB Controller (Jabra Evolve Link), User Guide & Warranty Info

Set Up for Softphone Use: The Evolve includes hardwired 3.5mm cable that connects into the USB Controller. Connect USB cable into USB port on PC. Like the majority of business use headsets, it’s important to download the appropriate software for optimal quality and feature functionality. Jabra offers Jabra PC Suite for individual download or Jabra Xpress for mass deployment. Once downloaded, check to see firmware is up to date. Since we use Microsoft Lync I have also configured for Microsoft.

Right and Left ear speakers are clearly marked. The boom microphone is on the right side.

The USB Controller includes answer/end call button, volume down, volume up, mute switch and Busylight indicator (little ring around Jabra logo).

Another cool feature that at first may go unnoticed is the little grippy pad on the underside of the USB controller. It prevents controller from sliding on your desk. Most other USB headsets with inline control typically hang down by your knees and aren’t very practical. So this is nice feature.  Additionally you can accept and handle multiple calls at same time via USB controller. Read user manual for “how to” do this.

The Evolve 80 has Active Noise Canceling (ANC) which is awesome feature if you really need to concentrate and block out background noise. The ANC on/off button is located on the underside of Right speaker. There is also a “Listen In” feature that allows you to listen to your surroundings if you need to. Listen in button also Right speaker under Jabra logo.

You must charge headset for at least 3hrs for ANC to work. Once charged you get up to 24 hrs. of ANC time. Battery indicator light on underside of Left speaker. Evolve 80 must be connected via USB for headset to charge. 3.5mm cable alone will not charge headset.

Set Up for Mobile Device: Disconnect 3.5mm cable from USB Controller and connect 3.5mm plug to mobile device that supports. Reminder that headset does not charge when connected via 3.5mm plug.

If your softphone supports transferring call to mobile device, you can switch from PC to mobile.

Actual Wear and Use: I’m all for the “open office” concept.  It does foster more collaboration amongst co-workers however at times it can get “noisy” and hard to concentrate. The Evolve 80 is a great solution. When you really need to concentrate simply put your Evolve 80 headset on, turn on the ANC and focus. The speakers completely surround your ears in what feels like a cushiony pillow.

Yet another great feature is the Busylight indicator on both speakers and USB controller. It lets others know you are in a call. Additionally you can manually turn on/off Busylight. Again, if you need to focus and not be bothered, turn on the Busylight indicator so folks leave you alone.

I LOVE listening to music while working. These Evolve 80 stereo headsets produce great audio quality while listening to music. One of the features of Lync I use sometimes is forwarding calls to my mobile device. I can connect the Evolve 80 to my mobile device and stream music. Paired with Active Noise Canceling turned on it’s like the whole world just disappears and I can just enjoy the music!

In closing, I believe Jabra has knocked it out of the park with the Evolve 80 stereo headset. These can be used at work, home or when traveling in trains and planes. The Active Noise Canceling is comparable if not better than my Bose headphones. I will be replacing my Bose with the new Jabra Evolve 80!