Plantronics Bets on Unified Communications

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on March 11, 2009

For the past few years companies such as Microsoft, Cisco System, IBM and others have been preaching the benefits of connecting computers, landline phones and cellular phones to one system.

These so-called unified communications would blur the lines between work and play, letting people reach you virtually anywhere—on any communications device you own. Problem is, many workers don’t have headsets and other add-on gear that make it simple to switch between the various modes of communication.

Headset maker Plantronics hopes to solve the problem and boost its own headset sales with a new line of wireless headset systems called Savi. Each of the two initial products is a single wireless headset for mixing desk phone calls with PC audio such as web conferencing, multimedia streaming and music listening. Users switch to and from both desk phone and soft phone calls at the touch of a button.

The $379 Savi Office connects the pc and desk phone, while the $199 Savi Go connects a smart phone and computer to one over-the-ear headset through a Bluetooth connection.

Plantronics CEO Ken Kannappan is counting on unified communications to boost revenues and profits. Sales of traditional Bluetooth headsets are slowing, while growth of office headsets also have reached a plateau. The headsets will be available in April and will include software (called PerSono) that manages calls and audio with one click.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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