Plantronics offers UC integration solutions

We recently spoke with Bill Loewenthal, vice president of unified communications solutions at Plantronics, and we were pleased to learn that his company's portfolio actively participates in the UC environment. Plantronics pioneered the lightweight headset, the mobile headset, noise-canceling technology and the personal speakerphone, and has evolved its portfolio as UC has also evolved.

Plantronics solutions address UC integration with the PC, mobile phones and desktop phones with a variety of products. For example, the company's devices are integrated with softphones from Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya, IBM, and Alcatel-Lucent. And the integration goes beyond just offering wideband headset or phones that connect to the PC. 

REVIEW: Plantronics Voyager PRO UC Bluetooth headset

In the case of Microsoft Lync integration, Plantronics' UC portfolio includes the Calisto family, offering Wideband USB handsets and a speakerphone, along with a Savi Wireless DECT USB Wideband Headset and the Blackwire Corded USB Wideband Headsets. Also included with integration is the Voyager UC Bluetooth USB Wideband Headset system that connects to a PC and mobile phone, supporting multipoint technology so users can switch between their mobile phone calls and PC calls. The Voyager portfolio features "smart sensor" technology allowing users to answer calls simply by placing a headset on the ear; it simultaneously updates softphone presence so colleagues know the user's status. Presence can also be updated across multiple platforms so, for example, a user's status is broadcast simultaneously to Skype and Lync.

As have other UC infrastructure suppliers, Plantronics has made a UC software development platform available so partners can more easily integrate multivendor platforms and devices; suggested guidelines offer recommendations, suggestions and best practices for deploying UC audio devices, focusing both on devices and how to best uses devices to facilitate individual and organizational communications. End user training tools in the toolkit cover applications and include training videos for devices and multiple UC systems.

Our observation: It takes an entire ecosystem to make unified communications work -- and the handset/headset can also add value to the UC system applications, features and business process.

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