Regular readers of dadams.co.uk will know that I’m a big advocate of getting the right kit for unified communications solutions. Whether you’re working from home, in a private office, in an open-plan environment, or constantly on the move, it’s very important to get a device that suits you and allows you to manage your modes of communication. When working from the Camberley office, I use Sametime Unified Telephony as much as possible – for all my outgoing calls, and a considerable number of incoming calls. But some people will insist on calling my BlackBerry – which is annoying if I’m already on an SUT call. And personally I don’t like holding a mobile device up to my ear.
My equipment of choice at home is a Plantronics MCD100 speakerphone, and if I get myself organised I switch on a Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset to take the calls on the ‘Berry. If I’m in the office, a speakerphone isn’t the right thing, so I use either the Voyager Pro or the Savi W430 in conjunction with SUT.
A few weeks ago I made contact with Jabra – we’re often asked about end-user solutions to work alongside Sametime and SUT, so it’s good to be able to talk about a range of headsets and speakerphones. My contact at Jabra kindly arranged to send me some samples, and I picked up the box of goodies today. It contained:
- Jabra SPEAK 410
- Jabra PRO 9470
- Jabra GO 660
- Jabra BIZ 620
So far I haven’t had a chance to try out the BIZ 620 corded headset, or the GO 660, but more on that later. First out of it’s packaging was the SPEAK 410, a USB speakerphone. It ships with a black zip-up case – a nice touch. The USB cable is stored by winding it into a recess within the 410’s casing, thus making it very tidy for placement on a desk (no surplus cable) and for storage in the case. The 410 features touch-sensitive call-control, volume and mute buttons, and LEDs to show the volume and mute status.
I used the 410 on a few calls during the morning – the sound I was hearing was excellent, and I asked people about the sound quality their end – all confirmed it was crystal-clear. Okay, I haven’t done any comparisons against other speakerphones, but I have to give the 410 top marks. Click on the small image to see a larger version.
Next out of the packaging was the PRO 9470. How can I best describe it? It’s a headset with a base-station which features a touch screen. The base-station connects to a computer via a USB cable, and has inputs for desk telephones and Bluetooth to connect to mobile devices. So the big value proposition of the 9470 is that you can take / make calls from a variety of phones but use just one headset. The touch screen allows you to configure the base-station and its connections, and to select a device and pick up calls.
The box contains a lot of stuff, but the set-up takes just a couple of minutes, and within quarter of an hour I’d taken two calls on my ‘Berry and made an outgoing call using SUT. While I prefer speakerphones to headsets, the convenience of having one headset to manage calls on SUT and the ‘Berry is terrific – so I’m going to give the 9470 an extended run over the next few weeks. Headsets aren’t great for demos – speakerphones are – but I will take this baby out for customer visits.
The headset itself if comfortable to wear, swappable for your preferred ear (I’m left-earred), and features touch-sensitive volume and mute controls.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t had a chance to try the Jabra GO 660, which is a Bluetooth headset plus USB dongle. Matt Newton is going to test-drive this device over the next few weeks. But I will mention something rather nifty that comes in the box – a charger which fits in your car’s cigarette lighter, and which has a USB port in one end (into which fits an adapter which in turn slots into the 660 headset). A very nice addition.
So, I’ll close by saying thank you to Jabra for supplying these samples to try out with SUT, and if anyone wants to know more about these or other headsets for unified communications projects, please let me know.