Roam hands-free in the house!
Wireless telephone headsets are moving from the call centre to the home.
IT'S NOT just mobile phone users these days, who have the option of a "hands-free" mode. Even bystanders as they walk past, startle you by what seems like talking to themselves. Untethered wireless communication is now poised to creep into the home, using technologies that were created primarily for the call centre market. That is why a market leader in communication headsets , like Plantronics, is quietly encouraging use in the home or small office, of wireless headsets which are the main stay of the Business Process Outsourcing industry.
In a typical call centre, dozens of call agents work at consoles with telephone headsets and attached mouthpiece strapped to their heads. There is usually a supervisor who roams all over the centre, sporting a wireless headset with software, which allows him or her to eavesdrop on any of the live conversations going on. While dozens of solutions are available to make this happen, one of the most popular is the range of products from Plantronics, which allow hands-free operation up to 100 meters away from the source, and for about nine hours without recharge.
An important lifestyle shift has persuaded the company to offer the same equipment for a small office or home environment. To make this happen, the wireless headset is complimented by a phone lifter so that a person wearing the headset can, with a single click, wirelessly `lift' the hand-set of a fixed line telephone from its cradle and take the call wherever he or she happens to be in kitchen, bedroom or bathroom. This writer had the opportunity to evaluate the Plantronics CS60 wireless telephone headset system for a few days in the home environment. One can see why a product like this can have an appeal. Particularly for busy housewives who are hassled by having to stop whatever they are doing, to answer the phone.
The headset is feather-weight (27.5 gm) and fastens snugly over one's ear. Some clever noise-cancelling technology ensures that the incoming call is heard crystal clear, above the noise of whistling pressure cookers, churning washing machines. Since this was made primarily for enterprise use, there is also some digital encryption technology that prevents unauthorised over hearing.
The handset lifter is a piece of mechanical hardware that has to be stuck on the side of your main landline telephone. If you want to take the call from your wireless headset, you have to press a button near the mouthpiece and the lifter physically pulls up the handset and routes the call to your headpiece. The system works well as one walks all over the house on different floors or even on the terrace or in the garden. When not in use, the headset sits in its cradle, which recharges it for eight to nine hours of wireless operations.
This convenience does not exactly come cheap. The entire kit costs around Rs. 19, 000. . Plantronics as well as other telecom product companies are known to be busy right now, creating hands free headset solutions, which are more sharply oriented for home use and will probably be more wallet-friendly.
The time may come when that classic cry of a youngster to his mother, as he rides his first bike: "Look Ma, no hands!" will be answered by Mom saying, "Same here, son!" as she clicks on her fashionable wireless headset.
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