SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alaa Saayed
Alaa Saayed is ICT Industry Principal - Digital Transformation, at Frost & Sullivan. He has 17 years of experience in...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Alaa Saayed | July 27, 2017 |

 
   

3 Headset Trends to Watch: Wearables, Smart Devices & Beyond

3 Headset Trends to Watch: Wearables, Smart Devices & Beyond Here's a look at how professional headsets will evolve, targeting different end-user groups and becoming more intelligent enterprise endpoints.

Here's a look at how professional headsets will evolve, targeting different end-user groups and becoming more intelligent enterprise endpoints.

We, at Frost & Sullivan, are proud of our enterprise endpoint coverage, focusing on everything from desktop hard endpoints (TDM, IP, and SIP) to corridor hard endpoints (DECT/WiFi phones), conference devices (audio conferencing and video conferencing endpoints), headsets, microphones, and the whole ecosystem of software communications and collaboration services. This article is about one of the subjects that excites me quite a lot -- professional headsets and the evolution of wearable technology in the business space.

Ever-Evolving Devices
Like many of you, I've been witnessing how headset vendors have transformed their wares from mere accessories to full-fledged enterprise communications endpoints. In fact, professional headsets have changed in form factor much more than any other enterprise device.

Source: GN Audio, Avegant, and Vinci

With the rise of mobility, professional headset vendors responded with a plethora of cordless options, for example. With the evolution of unified communications and collaboration services, they responded with full-fledged UCC-enabled headsets. With the proliferation of multiple communications endpoints, professional headsets became the glue of different communications modalities, offering dual and triple connectivity functionality. With the emergence of contextual intelligence, vendors incorporated smart sensors, enabling an improved user experience with their headsets. Finally, with the growth of open office spaces and noise-polluted environments, they incorporated advanced binaural stereo headsets with best-in-class noise cancellation technologies to enhance concentration and productivity.

Our research in this space shows that the professional headset market will continue to experience high growth rates due to the evolution of software-based communications and collaboration services and the need to improve worker productivity. In fact, our upcoming global professional headset study, scheduled to be published in August, found market revenue of $1.26 billion in 2016, a 7.4% growth. Notably, professional PC USB and UCC headset sales grew 22.3% to $626 million.

3 Trends to Watch
Now if you ask me where the market is headed, I would say professional headsets will continue to evolve, targeting different end-user groups and becoming more intelligent and independent enterprise endpoints. In our upcoming study, we discuss how trends such as wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and artificial intelligence (AI) could affect a market such as professional headsets.

Approximately 15 million head-mounted displays (HMD) for visual experiences, including video sources, virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) shipped in 2016. The number of HMDs is expected to increase to 39 million units globally by 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan's TechVision Group, with several start-ups emerging in the space. Some HMD vendors are leveraging the ergonomics and functionalities of headsets/headphones for immersive HD audio and video experiences. The Avegant Video Headset, for example, plays audio and video output from any PC, tablet, or smartphone.

Following the move toward smarter working environments and the importance of improving worker concentration, it's not difficult to envision visual-enabled headsets that would enable workers to stay in their concentration zones not only for audio, but also for visual communications. Future cordless solutions could allow workers to view presentations without needing to be at their desks. To address this trend, professional headset vendors could explore the market for HMD and the possibility of visual-enabling their headsets.

When it comes to data analytics, more than 50 billion connected objects, generating more than 500 zettabytes of data, are expected by 2020, according to TechVision. The growing popularity of big data in recent times has been the major driving force behind predictive and user behavior analytics. With data analytics, companies achieve considerable improvements in employee productivity, management, and engagement. Companies such as Humanyze are using tracking devices that analyze speech patterns, scan for proximity to others, show stress levels based on heart rate and voice inflection, and more. Collected data allows businesses to gain insight for operating more efficiently. In the professional headset realm, companies such as Plantronics and GN Audio are already offering data analytics services able to collect worker information. In the upcoming years, professional headset vendors will continue to invest in smart sensor technologies in order to better understand communication patterns of workers.

Last but not least, I can envision Internet-enabled headsets with AI services.

By 2025, computers, smartphones, and other devices connected to the Internet before all others will account for less than 15% of total IoT-connected devices -- while things such as sensors and smart appliances will account for more than 85%, according to TechVision. Complementing IoT are speech-enabled, AI-driven assistants. Personal assistants with natural language interaction capabilities -- Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Apple's Siri, for example -- are quickly becoming main interfaces to the IoT. One company, Vinci, is already experimenting with an Internet-enabled headphone. A project that raised more than $2 million through Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Vinci's 3G/WiFi-enabled headphone features a voice-controlled mobile assistant that acts as an interface to play music, and eventually search the Internet, make phone calls, and request services, among other planned capabilities. Would professional headset vendors explore this area in the future? I definitely think they should.

One thing is certain: Next-generation enterprise communication endpoints will be smaller, mobile, more intelligent devices equipped with sensor technologies that will help us to improve the way we perform our jobs. Taking into account the versatility of their professional devices, headset vendors have the full potential to capitalize on these evolving trends.





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!

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

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

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.