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What’s the difference between UC and MS Headsets?

Online articles report that as of April 30, 2020, Microsoft Teams had increased its Daily Active Users to 75 million. Leading manufacturers partnered with Microsoft have developed a full line of Microsoft Teams certified devices to support users in individual and group workspaces. Today there are audio & video peripherals, PCs and mobile devices, IP Phones, all-in-one collaboration devices, room systems, and large screen displays all certified for Microsoft Teams.

To keep things short and sweet, we’ll focus on headsets. When it comes to business-grade headsets by Poly, Jabra, EPOS, Logitech, Yealink, and Bose, they all offer UC and Microsoft Teams certified headset models. 

What’s the difference between UC and MS headsets? This is a frequently asked question. In this week’s video, we tackle this and four other frequently asked questions when it comes to selecting a UC or MS headset for your environment.

  • When should I use a UC vs MS model? 
  • If I use multiple platforms like Microsoft Teams, Cisco, and Zoom, do I use the UC or MS model?
  • What does the Microsoft Teams button do? 
  • Will the Microsoft Teams button work in a multi-platform environment? 

If you are upgrading to Teams from Skype for Business, you won’t need to replace previously replaced devices. All Microsoft certified devices are supported for both Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. There is one key difference between previously certified devices and it’s the Microsoft Teams button that provides additional functionality. 

UC and MS headsets offer multiple wearing styles, USB-A and USB-C connectivity, along with Bluetooth and DECT wireless options to support the various employee types and use cases across organizations. 

If you would like to learn which variants are best for your environment, contact us Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm ET. In the meantime, get answers to the questions above by watching the video and check out additional videos on our YouTube channel

Differences between CS500 and Savi Series Headsets – Video

 

Overview of the differences between these very popular models of headsets from Poly (formerly Plantronics). Let us know if you have any questions about these headsets!

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!

 

UC or Microsoft Variant when choosing headsets?

By Danny Hayasaka

June 12, 2014

More and more organizations have hybrid communications and collaboration platforms that involve many of the major voice and UC platform providers. It’s very rare to find a company that is 100% Microsoft Lync, 100% Cisco, 100% Avaya, etc. The majority have a mix of platforms.

Some organizations have two, three, four or more various communications and collaboration platforms which increases the challenge of selecting the right, compatible device. Some companies have Cisco and Microsoft Environments or Avaya and Microsoft. Some have other lesser known VoIP platforms plus they use Google Hangouts or Skype for video. The point is, it’s not so simple selecting a compatible headset with all the “web-based” applications and collaboration platforms in use.

In my earlier blog about “Which Wireless Headset is the Best” I discussed there are multiple variables to consider when selecting a wireless headset. Voice and Collaboration platform is one of those variables. Understanding exactly which platform/s the headset will be used with helps in identifying the compatible device.

For now, I’ll focus on Microsoft Lync & “Other” platform and Plantronics, Jabra, and Sennheiser headsets as they have UC and Microsoft Optimized variants of their USB model corded and wireless headsets. VXi offers Microsoft “compatible” headsets however currently do not have “optimized” variants. Additionally, Logitech Business USB headsets are Lync optimized however do not have different UC and Microsoft Lync variants.

Important note for Plantronics, Jabra, and Sennheiser: They offer software that enables and is sometimes necessary to support some feature/functionality depending on softphone like answer/hang up from headset or inline control. The software is either for individual download or for IT to use as a tool to remotely access and control the various devices.

Plantronics Software link: Spokes & Plantronics Enterprise Management (PEM)

Jabra PC Suite (Individual)

Jabra Xpress (IT)

Sennheiser Software: Cisco Jabber Plugin, Sennheiser Updater, IBM Sametime, HeadSetup

For Plantronics in mixed platform environment where Microsoft Lync is not the main voice platform, it’s recommended to select UC variant of their models with Plantronics Spokes or PEM. In an environment where Microsoft Lync is being used as the main voice platform, then Microsoft Lync Optimized variant is recommended.

When it comes to Jabra and Sennheiser in a mixed environment, they recommend Microsoft Lync Optimized variant over UC models. Again, it’s always best to download Jabra PC Suite, Jabra Xpress or Sennheiser appropriate software.

The best thing you can do is engage a device-centric partner that takes the time to understand your environment discusses the various options available.