RealTime IT News

VoIP Headset Sports Better Connections

Plantronics has created another accessory for road warriors, a VoIP-enabled, Bluetooth headset that connects to a cell phone or PC-based phone at the touch of a button.

Wireless Bluetooth has been a mixed blessing for mobile users; great when it works, not always easy to set up for VoIP calls.

Plantronics   said it has simplified the sometimes cumbersome setup with a plug-and-play USB Bluetooth adapter that circumvents the need for software downloads.

"If you have to mess with Bluetooth, it's a mess," Chuck Yort, vice-president of business solutions at Plantronics, told internetnews.com.

"We've totally simplified the installation process so that companies don't have to worry about support calls and can consider wide deployment."

The $199 Voyager 510-USB, slated for availability June 16, is designed for hands-free VoIP   phone calls using Plantronics multipoint technology.

Multipoint essentially recognizes where the call is originating from, making it easier to connect to the caller whether it be from an Internet softphone or mobile device.

"Multipoint is a unique feature that's absolutely useful for mobile professionals," Tim Bajarin, analyst with Creative Strategies, told internetnews.com.

"Plantronics has done a great job of thinking through the entire process of hardware and software and making it all work with VoIP."

Yort said Plantronics is the only company with the two or multipoint channel technology that allows the headset to recognize which device to answer. Other features include Plantronics' PerSonoCall, which offers remote ring detection of incoming calls.

Like most decent headsets, the Voyager 510-USB includes so-called noise-canceling technology to shield the incoming voice call from outside noises.

But Yort said noise-canceling is typically designed for indoor sounds, such as conversation or music. The Plantronics headset also includes the company's "WindSmart" technology, which he said minimizes the effect of wind noise.

The VoIP market is growing both in the corporate and consumer space. IDC predicts more than 44 million households in the U.S. will have VoIP services by 2010.

"Companies are investing from $100,000 to over a $1 million on headsets," said Yort. Not that many companies are ripping out existing PBX's to switch over to VoIP, Yort noted, but as companies start new departments and branch offices VoIP is being evaluated for its lower costs.

"Not all VoIP headsets are created equal," said Yort. "If you're an IT guy, you want that first deployment to be successful."