Nigel Dunn, Managing Director, Jabra Business Solutions UK & Ireland spoke to Comms Business about the headset market and the importance of introducing them early on in the sales cycle.
Comms Business (CB): When should resellers/ dealers introduce headsets in the sales cycle?
Nigel Dunn (ND): Headsets should always be introduced as early into the sales cycle as possible. When deploying Unified Communications, headsets are a vital component of the complete solution offering and should be discussed and introduced at initial Proof of Concept (POC) stage. This will help the customer to ascertain which device or selection of devices best suits their user requirements, whilst allowing the reseller to provide the right solution, without the issue of cost-constraints if left to the end of the roll-out.
CB: What does ‘optimised for xy and z’ really mean? What benefits do ‘optimised’ headsets bring over ‘non optimised’ ones?
ND: UC-optimised audio devices have been specifically manufactured to be compatible with the various UC platforms available and they provide increased functionality, such as call control from the audio device for the optimum communication experience.
UC-optimised devices are also plug-and-play, making set-up and roll-out across the estate quick and easy for faster user adoption and ROI. In large deployments this is particularly advantageous as optimised audio devices simplify the IT effort due to their simple plug-and-play usage. Another way to support this is mass-deployment software upgrades such as Jabra Xpress which helps IT to manage and maintain their infrastructure quickly and efficiently.
CB: What features are a MUST in every UC headset in order to remain competitive?
ND: UC audio devices must always ensure they provide:
Wideband sound/HD Voice to clear call clarity
Inline call control provides increased functionality on the device rather than needing to use the desktop view
Compatibility with the latest UC platforms to provide plug—and-play connectivity and intuitive call control
A variant that is specifically optimised for the leading platforms, such as our Jabra Motion UC series where all variants have a Microsoft Lync optimised version. However that doesn’t mean that UC-optimised headsets should just be limited to wireless devices – we also produce optimised variants across our corded headset portfolio and our Jabra SPEAK speakerphone series.
Jabra holds various Strategic Alliance vendor accreditations, such as being an Avaya DevConnect certified Technology Partner, a Microsoft Gold Communications Partner and a Cisco Preferred Solution Partner, which have all been awarded because of our development of a fully optimised audio device portfolio. The criteria we have had to fulfil for optimisation status is:
Plug-and-Play connectivity (no drivers to install)
Call control drivers directly handling the call from the device
Wideband audio as standard
Simplicity and ease of use of devices makes Jabra a strong eco-system partner for all of the leading UC developers.
The Jabra Motion Office provides users with a UC-compatible headset that enables enhanced productivity and freedom of movement due to its triple connectivity to deskphone, softphone and mobile phone or tablet. Being a multiuse headset it supports the working trend of moving from a fixed desk scenario to a hot-desk or flexible working environment by plugging into any Jabra Motion Office base unit to work – perfect for the busy office that has multiple employees using the same office space across different times.
CB: Can you differentiate in this market? Or at this point are we just developing style and comfort?
ND: Optimised devices supports our channel partners business objectives as they are able to offer a compatible audio device solution to the UC application being deployed, which is becoming more and more popular and requested. It helps partners to provide the complete solution, from the UC infrastructure itself to the supporting hardware, thus providing added-value to the customer relationship and also increasing the value of the order.
One of the differentiators in this market is the compatible or optimised audio device, which acts as a key ‘technology enabler’, providing the nudge to help users transform from old world to new. When the correct device is selected it becomes the bridge between old and new ways of working, which enables quick user adoption across a larger scale.
So, being the trusted advisor within the full-scale deployment, from application to hardware, helps to provide the customer with the right equipment for the job and allows the partner to lock out the competition and deliver the whole solution at a rewarding margin, as well as allowing customers to quickly realise the ROI potential on their investment.
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