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Jabra Introduces New Multi-device Desktop/Remote Headset
As you may know from past posts and presentations, I am a big believer in having a headset that enables multiple devices to use a single user interface. I have been using a Plantronics Savi 7W40 for over three years and it is an essential part of my Unified Communications solution. I can use a single headset/base to interface to my PC using USB, my Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, as well as my legacy desktop phone (yes, I still have one of those in my office).
As I routinely use Google Voice, Lync, WebEx, Go-to-Meeting, Scopia video, Vidyo video, personal phone calls, mobile direct calls, Skype, and a plethora of WebRTC communications applications, having these all integrated into a single comfortable headset is a great advantage.
Today Jabra announced the MOTION Office wireless headset system. While it does essentially the same basic functions, in early discussions with Jabra there are a couple of implementation differences that make slight variations between this product and my current solution.
First, the Jabra solution uses the latest version of Bluetooth, while the Plantronics uses DECT. Quite frankly, I have been happy with the DECT, but I find that it runs out of gas at about 75-80 feet from the base (with walls in-between). Jabra claims up to 100 meters/300 feet with the Bluetooth, but that is in free space, I assume.
However, using Bluetooth has another potential advantage: The headset can be paired to other Bluetooth devices. This may be an advantage, especially if the "standard" lower-cost remote headset can be used. Of course, if the headset is expensive and gets lost because it left the office, this could be a disadvantage.
The one key advantage here is that I occasionally have carried my mobile device with me when using the headset--As I moved out of the office, the headset-to-base works fine, but then the mobile to base Bluetooth fails. Whether this is a disadvantage for you will depend on how you work, but the potential of the headset pairing to the mobile directly out of the office may mean an easier transition out of the office.
The MOTION Office has a small (1x2 inches) touch screen to manage the device connections. Without using it, I cannot comment on whether this is an improvement or not, or whether it manages connections in a better way than the Savi W740.
One interesting capability is how the device manages multi-line sim-ring. I use a communications solution that rings my soft client, an office phone, and my cell number when you call my office number, I essentially have 3 devices "ringing" on each call. While the potential hearing damage when I am in the office is a downside, the larger issue is when I am outside the office with my headset, the line that I choose is not easy to manipulate. This is most especially important when receiving a call when away from the base. I have occasionally had the base pick up the mobile line when I preferred it pick up the phone (VoIP) line.
All of these observations are based on a quick demo use of the MOTION Office at Enterprise Connect, so the actual use scenario and comparisons are not clear. However, while Plantronics has been the leader in this space for over two years, it is clear that Jabra is making this a new focus, hopefully making it easier for you to find a headset option that will enable your users to easily manage (and accept) the transition from a single device to multiple communications interfaces.
I will get a MOTION Office in about a month and I will write a more detailed comparison, and also see if there is a more appropriate comparison from Plantronics than my almost 3-year-old Savi W740.