UC Headset Trends 2019

What tops the list of UC business headset trends for 2019?

UC Headset Trends 2019

If you’ve ever worked at a call centre, you understand the importance of clear and concise communication with customers on the other end. Because your goal is to provide service in the form of selling a product or some sort of troubleshooting – it is a best practice to ensure you have prime hardware.

To top things off, there can be anywhere from a few, to several hundreds of representatives working under the same roof. In 2019, this presents far less of a challenge than it once did, as business headsets are more advanced.

Headset vendors such as Plantronics, Jabra and JPL have all been at the forefront of innovation in the headset industry. Their goal – to change the way customers and representatives interact over the phone. We reached out to these three UC headset suppliers to get their take on the evolving headset market and the changes they anticipate in the future.

Customer trends that shaped the UC industry in 2018

PlantronicsAs the demand for flexible work continues, businesses are focused on how to empower their staff to work effectively from a variety of locations. Mobile solutions such as headsets are essential for those who want to get things done ‘on-the-go’ and seamlessly transition between different workspaces, from working in a coffee shop, hopping on the train, to working at home.

Paul Clark, VP & EMEA Managing Director at Plantronics

“Virtual collaboration is rising and it is now common for people to join a meeting on their way to work, most likely with their mobile phone, paired with a quality headset

Clark continues.

They will not want their meeting to be disrupted just because they have arrived at their workplace. Best-in-class headsets make it possible for any worker to walk into their workspace and easily continue their meeting or call from any device, without disruption.”

Clark says this newfound freedom has presented its own set of challenges, which is where solutions such as noise-cancelling headphones and softphones come into the picture.

Nigel Dunn, Managing Director, Jabra EMEA North

jabra_logoToday’s workforce is moving away from fixed-locations to home and other non-office settings. Dunn says this requires more acute remote management, along with fast and accurate adoption of audio devices for remote collaboration.

Jabra recently released a sleek, wireless headset for businesses – making it the world’s first wireless earbuds for business.

“As a vendor, we have started to see more organisations rolling out Enterprise Voice on top of their IM/presence UC licenses. Therefore, audio devices are becoming a vital tool that needs to be considered early in UC deployments to ensure users have the right device for their business needs,” Dunn said.

Morgan de Ruiter, Director of Business Development, JPL

JPL“Adoption of AI trough Alexa, Google, SIRI and first business applications integration as it will set an expectation of usability. First expected integrations will be on enhancing online meetings, mail handling, and office applications.”

It seems now, that more companies will attempt to revolutionise the UC industry with their headsets to keep up with growing demands of in-office and remote workers.

Technologies creating the biggest opportunities

Paul Clark, VP & EMEA Managing Director at Plantronics

Paul Clark

Paul Clark

Using advanced active noise cancelling technology, Plantronics created its latest headsets. The headset blocks out ambient office noise – eliminating any distractions that may arise.

“Voice commands and personal voice-based assistants have created new advance headset capabilities. For example, with Plantronics headsets, users can interact with Siri, Google Now, or Cortana just by pressing the call button. The headsets also announce who’s calling and wait for the user to say ‘Answer’ or ‘Ignore’ – no need to press a button to answer or reject a call. Using voice command, users can also check battery level, connection status, and more.”

Clark believes the growing adoption of UC software and applications is creating plenty of opportunities for partners to increase revenue. The way he puts it “whether a customer uses a physical desk phone, a laptop softphone or even a smartphone the headset is the single personal device that connects to them all.”

Nigel Dunn, Managing Director, Jabra EMEA North

“IT managers and business headset users can benefit hugely from analytics. The opportunities technology presents are massive for businesses – particularly call centres – to enhance productivity.”

Since it is now possible to track engagement of both customers and employees, voice analytics can be useful in providing call centre agents with performance stats for assessment and training.

“Additionally, software offered alongside headsets like the Jabra Engage 50 provides a better overview of data for IT Managers and individual users immediately. Contact Centre managers and directors can assess information like background noise measurements and microphone position that might be affecting customer experience and productivity. It also means that IT can roll out updates to the entire user-base of UC enabled audio devices – clearly a massive win for, compliance across the estate, productivity, and speed, due to the ease of updates.”

Such technology can provide benefits for contact centre agents, too. Today, agents can personalise headset ringtones, optimise the sound of music, increase audio protection levels and more.

Morgan de Ruiter, Director of Business Development, JPL

Morgan de Ruiter

Morgan de Ruiter

“Artificial Intelligence and IoT will enter the world of headsets. In the first layers, it will be for enhancing the operation of devices. Think of an AI-driven DSP that provides real-time noise cancelling improvements for headsets and speakerphones. This will help vendors and providers to manage call quality over software management systems.”

Beyond 2019: What’s to come?

Paul Clark, VP & EMEA Managing Director at Plantronics

For Plantronics, connectivity is a key theme for 2019 and 2020. They say it is imperative to “put the human at the heart of their connected world.”

Clark explains, Millennial workers want convenience and being able to swipe to move a call from a mobile to a huddle room, or a simple press of a button to turn a live chat into an HD video call are what they’re on the lookout for.

“Imagine a person being able to have an HD video or audio call securely and privately wherever they are, using voice commands to start and stop any connection. At Plantronics, we are already focused on this, investing in cloud and AI technology to create experiences – not just wearables – so that every person will be able to connect and collaborate with their voice.”

Nigel Dunn, Managing Director, Jabra EMEA North

Nigel Dunn

Nigel Dunn

“In 2019, we will see the growth of new challenger brands coming into the UC market that can offer increased functionality, productivity, and collaboration. As a headset vendor, we must continue to work with all providers to ensure compatibility and optimisation, so that on-device call controls work across the entire UC landscape to provide an optimal user experience.”

Dunn explains.

Because of the growing diversification of platform options as well as vendors – companies of all sizes and budgets will begin to explore the perks of UC deployment. If they were previously priced out of the market, a ‘fit-for-purpose UC application is now a real possibility.

Dunn believes that it is precisely this that will drive the enhanced digitalisation of the workplace.

Morgan de Ruiter, Director of Business Development, JPL

de Ruiter predicts consolidation – which he feels will reshape the UC landscape.

“We will see a further consolidation of headsets brands driven by the competitive response. These consolidations will challenge existing partner models and cause disruption in sales models/channels as headset vendors to move from being an independent partner towards competitor (video). Secondly, there will be a change in market shares as the above will open opportunities for growth for smaller headset vendors who stay independent and will be adopted by the top UC & CC vendors.”


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