Plantronics unveiled a Bluetooth-enabled headset Thursday that offers unified communications capabilities such as being able to detect presence as well as automatically communicate with the user's PC applications. Available for use on Bluetooth-enabled laptops and mobile phones, the Voyager Pro UC integrates software and smart sensors that enable the device to automate and otherwise streamline voice-calling processes.
The Voyager PRO UC automatically transfers calls between a mobile phone and the headset and updates the user's availability and presence status automatically by directly interacting with Skype and other phone clients on the user's PC or phone. Moreover, PC and mobile-phone calls can be managed from a single headset, with calls automatically routed to the user's mobile phone whenever the earbud is not being worn.
"The Plantronics Voyager Pro UC unifies and simplifies communications for today's connected and increasingly distributed workforce by enabling accurate availability information and delivering intuitive features like smart call transfer," said Plantronics Senior Vice President Renee Niemi.
Harnessing the Power of UC
For Plantronics, the goal is to harness the full power of unified communications technology, which brings together different communications modalities and devices to enable users to move seamlessly between PCs and mobile phones, noted Gartner Vice President Bob Hafner.
"Today, no one would be expected to work for a company without e-mail," Hafner said. "And seven to 10 years from now business professionals won't want to work for a company without unified communications."
The Voyager Pro UC is able to sense when the device is being worn, in which case incoming calls are automatically routed to the earbud. The Bluetooth headset answers calls as well as switches from an IM chat session to a voice conversation whenever the user places the bud in an ear.
Voyager PRO UC directly interfaces with PC phone clients from Skype, Microsoft and equipment vendors Avaya, Cisco Systems, and IBM. Whenever the user is engaged in a mobile-phone conversation, for example, the headset automatically informs the PC clients that the user is busy.
Users who want to mix business and pleasure will be able to stream music to the earbud whenever they're not engaged in a voice call, with the media stream automatically paused when the earbud is removed. The device also supports the streaming of podcasts and recorded webinars as well as audio turn-by-turn navigation instructions.
Equipped with an adjustable dual-microphone boom, the Voyager PRO UC integrates AudioIQ2 and Windsmart digital-processing technologies for canceling noise and otherwise enhancing voice call quality as well as minimizing wind distortion. The earbud is also equipped with a custom speaker that delivers full-spectrum audio.
The adaptive 20-band equalizer aboard the new Bluetooth headset works in tandem with AudioIQ2 to automatically adjust audio to comfortable levels based on the noise background in the user's immediate vicinity. During PC conversations, the Voyager PRO UC delivers heightened speech clarity over a wideband audio channel.
Available for $199.95, the Plantronics Voyager PRO UC began shipping in the United States on Thursday and will be available for purchase in Europe and Asia beginning next month. The product ships with software as well as a mini-USB Bluetooth adapter for enabling PC conversations to be delivered over a wideband link.