Headset-maker Plantronics has geared its marketing message towards remote workrs for a little while now, but at this year's MWC it showed-off a Bluetooth headset with new technology that fundamentally enhances the functionality of the device.
The Voyager Pro UC offers a clue about its intended market in the name - unified communications. In essence this means aggregating all your various forms of communication: voice, text and video, through one set of devices. Plantronics wants its headsets to be the medium through which we interact with this UC environment.
Most of the new functionality in the Voyager Pro UC hinges on a new set of sensors that use a similar technology to capacitive touchscreens in order to detect when you're wearing the headset. But I know when I'm wearing my headset, we hear you cry. Good point, but there's some unique functionality enabled by your headset knowing it too.
The most overtly UC thing is you availability status, as indicated in software like Exchange and Windows Live Messenger. You can use the headset to tell these programmes you're unavailable whenever you take it off.
But the coolest bit of functionality concerns where you pick up a call. How many times have you made a fool of yourself by forgetting you have Bluetooth turned on and trying to answer a call on your handset? We have, often, and felt like a complete noob every time. Now, if you're not wearing the headset, an incoming call is automatically routed to the handset.
Furthermore, if you decide you still want to answer a call on the headset, you merely put in on when a call comes in and the call is not only automatically switched, but answered as soon as the headset detects you're wearing it.
Product manager Ian Gould can be seen below modelling the headset, as well as his other big launch of the show: the Calisto multi-device smartspeaker. This is a desktop UC device designed for home-workers. As well as standard UC functionality it has a speaker and a lapel microphone to allow easy conference calling as well as providing a hands-free alternative for people who still think walking around with a headset on makes you look a bit sad.
The Voyager UC is available now for roughly £140-£150, while the Calisto 800 series will be available for around £190-£300 starting next month.