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Jabra Brings Lotus Sametime Unified Communications To Headsets

The plug-in integrates capabilities such as call answer, call end, volume, mute, and remote ring detection into many of the firm's corded and Bluetooth devices.

Jabra expanded its headsets' unified communications capabilities with Monday's release of the Jabra PC Suite Plug-In for IBM Lotus Sametime, a software capability designed to deliver integrated call-management capabilities to a number of the vendor's headsets.

The plug-in adds capabilities such as call answer, call end, volume, mute, and remote ring detection to many Jabra corded and Bluetooth wireless HD2 headsets. These include the Jabra PRO 9470, Jabra GO 6470 series, and Jabra BIZ 2400 USB.

"Jabra was able to work closely with IBM to leverage the built-in voice capabilities of Lotus Sametime in order to provide an easy-to-use, integrated voice experience with our wireless headsets," said Chris Briglin, VP of business development for Jabra's parent company GN Netcom. "Jabra wireless headsets can be used in the office or on the road and are easily paired with mobile and desktop devices to provide the ultimate audio experience, while maximizing portability and versatility."

The free plug-in is being shown at Lotusphere 2011 this week in Orlando, Fla.

In December, GN Netcom named Peter Fox president of Jabra. Fox, formerly general manager of Microsoft's U.S. corporate accounts and North American teleplatform, was charged with helping to drive sales of the company's products into enterprise and corporate accounts across North America, said Mogens Elsberg, president and CEO of GN Netcom, in a statement at the time.

In 2010, total shipments of Bluetooth, near-field communications (NFC), ultra-wide band (UWB), 802.15.4, and Wi-Fi Internet connection sharing devices were predicted to increase about 20% compared with 2009, ABI Research said. Although cell phones and related accessories dominated this space -- especially as more states and nations banned callers from using these devices while driving -- other segments continued to invest in headsets.

Businesses looked beyond the call center and help desk, providing headsets to a large percentage of desk-bound employees. Companies looking to tap the productivity gains of unified communications and telepresence are tapping headphones as a component of their overall UC investment. In fact, adding hands-free headsets to office telephones improves productivity by up to 43%, a study for Plantronics by H.B. Maynard & Co. found.

"Not only was a reduced error rate and improved service record noted, but workers on the phone full time with Plantronics headsets placed an average of 16 more calls per day than those using traditional handsets. Perhaps most telling of all, workers equipped with Plantronics headsets reported higher morale, lower fatigue levels, and fewer phone-related physical complaints," the study said.

Others are eschewing desk phones altogether, relying on computers to receive and generate calls. And some companies hope to cut back on workers' compensation and lost productivity associated with neck and back injuries of employees who spend uncomfortably long hours holding a phone between neck and shoulder. Headsets can reduce pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulder by up to 41%, a Santa Clara Valley Medical study found.

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