Plantronics may be 53 years old, but the company – which outfitted astronaut Neil Armstrong with the headset through which he uttered the famous phrase “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – was one of the original companies in the wearables space.
The company, whose name was created by marrying the words plane and electronics, got its start in the aeronautics arena. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration mandates the use of Plantronics technology.
Plantronics today also caters to consumers, contact centers, and enterprise users. Indeed, it is the world leader in headsets, says Beau Wilder, the company’s vice president of innovation waves and new products, who spoke with me earlier this week at TMC Editor’s Day Silicon Valley.
Speaking of innovation, Plantronics continues to evolve and expand its product portfolio to address new market requirements and opportunities. For example, the company’s Voyager line of lightweight headsets feature active noise cancellation, which enable knowledge workers to be productive in the more open, multiuser, (and frequently noisy) environments many businesses have created, Wilder explained. These devices also have the smarts to know whether or not the user is wearing them and how far they are from their computers or smartphones so they can, for example, automatically lock down users’ PC screens as they step away from their desks.
Plantronics headsets can also act as a liaison between their multiple devices, of which the average knowledge worker uses seven, said Wilder, and of the various unified communications tools and services people enjoy. Plantronics headsets have hooks to do call control related to popular UC applications and platforms such as Avaya one-X, Jabber, Microsoft’s Skype for Business, and Twilio.
The company’s DA70 and DA80 digital adapters, which plug into a PC and attach to any of Plantronics’ professional-grade headsets, offer another example of how the company is building intelligence into its solutions. When an agent goes on break, the headsets disconnect from the adapter (but stay on the agent’s head), and that updates the call center queue so the call center system knows the agent is gone and calls should be routed to other stations.