SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Eric Krapf | January 17, 2013 |

 
   

Logitech Controls Softphone with Keyboard

Logitech Controls Softphone with Keyboard Need something between a soft client and a hard phone? Logitech believes its keyboard is just right.

Need something between a soft client and a hard phone? Logitech believes its keyboard is just right.

Here's one way to potentially get rid of the desk phone: Put the most convenient, ergonomic features of the phone into the PC keyboard, and make it control a soft client.

That's what Logitech has done in an integration with Cisco for the latter's Jabber client. Logitech today announced what it's calling the UC Solution for Cisco 725-C, the highlight of which is a USB keyboard that includes nine hard keys for the following telephony/video functions:

* Call answer/hang up
* Call hold
* Volume up/down
* Audio mute
* Video mute
* Audio selection key--speakerphone
* Audio selection key--headset
* Audio selection key--handset
* Voicemail messages

Here's what the keyboard looks like:

The red-outlined key at far left is the voice mail retrieval key; the green-outlined keys at top right are to answer a call (right) and put a call on hold (left). The red-outlined keys below them mute the video and audio. The little LCD screen to their immediate left displays Caller ID, and the 3 buttons to the left of the LCD screen let you choose your input device--headset, handset, or speaker phone. Red-outlined keys turn green when in use.

According to Eric Kintz, senior VP and GM at Logitech for Business, the likely use cases are in hot-desking environments, either generic office-hoteling type of setups, or industry vertical-specific cases. He says Logitech has been trialing the keyboard in health care and financial environments, where users like traders and nurses often share stations.

The emphasis was on designing an experiece that would be "dead simple" and take the functions that are easier to do manually than by hunting and clicking with a mouse, Kintz said.

The catch is that this keyboard works only with Cisco Jabber; if you have a mixed environment, its keys won't control, say, a Microsoft Lync or Avaya one-X soft client. Logitech may consider building a comparable product for these other companies, but there would need to be a broader standards effort to create a single keyboard that would work with all of them, Kintz said. For now, Cisco provides Logitech a strong enough addressable market: "Cisco is the leader in desk phones aand understands what makes a desk phone unique," Kintz said. "It's a large base to work with already."

So is this a significant advance in the evolution of Unified Communications? Probably it's more of an incremental step, maybe even a bit of a sidelight.

On the one hand, we all clamor for more innovation, more new options when it comes to the process of moving beyond the desk phone. This strikes me as a solid effort in that regard. Keyboard buttons can be a great, handy option; I constantly use the "back" and "forward" buttons on my keyboard to move between websites, rather than always navigating up to click on the browser button. Soft clients can be a real pain to navigate with a mouse--which is why touchscreens are so much better. So this keyboard could be a nifty little tool.

On the other hand, the fact that it only works with Cisco is definitely less than optimal. Eric Kintz's scenario about using the keyboard in a hoteling environment is probably the most logical usage for it--not because it's the best scenario for a multi-user desktop, but because it envisions a pretty static enterprise environment, specifically one where Cisco is rolled out as the standard and will be in place for some time to come.

The keyboard comes as part of a package that also includes a Logitech webcam and wireless mouse. The most noteworthy feature of the webcam is that it does video encoding internally, offloading this function from the PC/laptop's CPU. Eric Kintz said just the encoding is offloaded because decoding isn't particularly processor-intensive and so not that much would be gained by including it in the webcam hardware.

The complete bundle with keyboard, webcam and mouse will carry a suggested price of $269, and will be GA in March.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
@nojitter
Eric Krapf on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.