Plantronics was founded in 1961 by a pair of pilots looking for a better way to handle in-flight communications. Originally named Plane Electronics, the company name changed with the times, much like its lineup of professional communications equipment has evolved over the years.
This week, Plantronics unleashed its CS50 Wireless Headset System. Designed with office professionals in mind, the CS50 allows users to take a call up to 300 feet away from their desk phone. The lightweight headset also uses built-in digital encryption, so office professionals can hold a secure telephone conversation while completing other tasks. Furthermore, the CS50 operates at 900 MHz, so it won't interfere with wireless local area networks (WLANs) using 2.4-GHz airspace. It also won't bother Blue Tooth wireless devices.
Matt Miller, director of product marketing for Plantronics, said the use of cellular phones taught the company a lot about office professionals' communication needs.
"Cellular phones have show us the benefits of hands-free mobility," Miller said. "We've taken the benefit of hands-free mobility and moved it from the outside, back inside the office."
Peter Zan, Plantronics senior product manager, said most workspace is unoccupied for 60 percent of the workday. As a result, 70 percent of business calls are missed.
"Valuable time is lost every day playing phone tag and exchanging voicemail messages," Zan said. "The CS50 allows office professionals to roam hundreds of feet away from their desks. It's an incredibly versatile office productivity tool."
The CS50 is a plug-and-play device that works with existing office or public exchange (PBX) phone systems, whether they're analog or digital, single-line or multi-line. The CS50 amplifier simply plugs into the office phone, and after a quick charge, you're ready to go for up to eight hours of continuous talk time.
The CS50 is designed with the mobile user in mind. In addition to its digital encryption system that keeps conversations private, the built-in microphone provides advanced noise canceling capabilities to eliminate background sounds.
Weighing only 26 grams, the CS50 comes with three different earloop sizes and an over-the-head band for customizable comfort and style. And according to Zan, style is an important feature in a wireless headset.
"Out of more than 43 million office professionals, only about 13 percent of them currently use headsets," Zan said. "There are two reasons for low headset penetration in the market style and wires. Office professionals demand style and personal comfort. And they want to be untethered from their desks to be productive."
Plantronics employs "IntelliStand" technology that acts as a hook/switch control. This technology is built into the CS50 Wireless Headset System. When used in conjunction with an optional HL10 Lifter, a call is automatically picked up when the headset is removed from the base amplifier. Likewise, to end a call all a user has to do is place the headset back in its cradle. To dial out a call, users simply don their headset and punch the numbers into their office phone.
Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst for the Enderle Group, said the key to a useful wireless headset product is that it needs to be easy to use and have the capability to answer and end calls even when a user is well away from a phone.
"Plantronics' CS50 no only meets these requirements better than any other deice, I believe that is has the potential to be an indispensable new telephony product in the modern executives office," Enderle said.
Plantronics' CS50 is backed by a one-year warranty and has a suggested retail price of $299. Used in conjunction with the optional HL10 lifter, which retails for $79, office professionals can pick up their phone with the touch of a button. Both the CS50 and HL10 lifter are available now direct from Plantronics and major electronics retail outlets.
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