The Future of Intelligent Headsets: Avaya, Plantronics Expand Strategic Partnership

 

In the age of the Internet of Things (IOT), it’s all about intelligence: smartphones, smart watches … and, thanks to Avaya and Plantronics, smarter headsets.

The companies recently announced a co-development initiative that will accelerate intelligent interoperability. Though the pair has worked together for more than two decades, with this expanded, strategic partnership, they’ll focus on: 1) tightening integration between Plantronics headsets and Avaya software and apps, and 2) improving contextual intelligence to drive value for the customer.

The goal is simple: address the growing need for simplified communications in contact center and unified communications environments. Here’s how they’ll do it.

It Just Works

The first part of the equation is what Chris Brady, Plantronics’ senior director of strategic alliances, calls the “table stakes.”

When customers plug in Plantronics headsets, they expect them to work seamlessly and simply with Avaya technology. This partnership is a commitment to meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations for solutions that just work.

In a way, the announcement formalizes something Avaya and Plantronics have worked on since the start. The companies have collaborated to create compatible products for decades now. Historically, this started out as interoperability between Avaya desk phones and Plantronics headsets, then soft clients and headsets, and, now, web-based applications and headsets are at the forefront.

Case-in-point: one of the projects under their expanded partnership will ensure integration between select Plantronics headsets and Avaya’s Chrome-based contact center apps, including Avaya Agent for Chrome and Customer Engagement OnAvaya™ –Google Cloud Platform.

The most exciting part of the companies’ formal commitment to compatibility and integration is what it will enable … Avaya and Plantronics are teaming up to create another layer of contact center and unified communications intelligence, one in which new features and functionalities drive customer value. Brady hints at “unique, exciting and compelling things to come.”

In short, smart headsets are about to get even smarter.

Cue Contextual Intelligence

According to a 2014 market report from Futuresource Consulting, the global headphones market is rapidly increasing, and not expected to peak until 2017. This has a particularly significant impact on the enterprise.

“There’s a growing opportunity for businesses to leverage contextual intelligence in the enterprise,” Brady explained.

He points to a recent collaboration with Avaya – the Seamless Transfer Snap-In, part of the Avaya Engagement Assistant.

The solution combines Plantronics’ on-board sensor technology with the Avaya Engagement Development Platform middleware. Plantronics’ sensors can detect the headphones’ “wear state” and tell whether or not a user is wearing the headset and near a connected device. Combined with Avaya apps, this technology opens up “new avenues for workplace efficiency and streamlined workflows,” Brady noted.

Imagine driving into work, using your Plantronics headset for an audio conference. Then, once you’re at your workstation, the headset recognizes your proximity to your PC and automatically transfers the mobile audio call to a full video conference on your PC.

“We’re looking at technology that will provide richer, deeper value to the contact center too, capabilities that will allow for both real-time action and collectable analytics,” Brady added.

And this is just the beginning.