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Bet on Telephone Headsets
Posted By Michelle V. Rafter On March 1, 2008 @ 12:00 am In Printers, Copiers, and Peripherals | 1 Comment
The crew at Karen Pierce Gonzalez’s public relations firm couldn’t function without telephone headsets.
The staff of the three-person company near Santa Rosa, Calif., spends so much time on the phone during the workday that headsets are a must, and not just any will do. According to Pierce Gonzalez, cheap models aren’t worth the investment because static starts creeping into the earpieces about the time the warranty expires. Yes, over-the-head models muss their wearers’ hair every time they’re removed, and earpieces don’t always stay in place. But that’s a small price to pay for relieving the pain that comes with cradling a phone between your ear and shoulder all day. “Just thinking about it makes my neck hurt,” Pierce Gonzalez says.
As Pierce Gonzalez’s experience shows, people take their headsets seriously. If recent trends are an indication, the day is coming when wearing a telephone headset for work will be almost as ordinary as, well, using the telephone.
Not just for customer service reps anymore
Wearing a headset used to peg someone as a receptionist or customer service agent. But the era of cell phones, Internet phones, iPods, and video games has erased any stigma associated with working while something’s stuck in your ear. Industry experts say headsets could become even more commonplace after California, Washington, and New Jersey later this year join the rank of states with laws banning people from talking on hand-held cell phones.
When deciding what to buy, some things companies should consider:
Wireless — Wireless headsets are the fastest growing segment of the business, thanks in part to lightweight batteries that last longer between charges than older models. “Once you cut the cord, there’s a lot you can do to unleash it to a lot more people in the building,” says Joe McGrogan, director of business-to-business marketing at Plantronics, a leading U.S. headset maker. Some new wireless headsets can be used with multiple phones, allowing the wearer to switch between a cell phone and office phone without switching headsets. Other models let the wearer answer or hang up a call by pushing a button on the headset, McGrogan says.
Frequencies — Wireless headsets operate on multiple frequencies to transmit voice signals to and from a telephone base station, and the higher the frequency, the better the clarity and range. Today’s high-end headsets use a 1.9 GHz frequency, which the U.S. Federal Communications Commission opened up for voice-only communications in 2005. Other models use 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz.
Bluetooth — This short range wireless technology developed by a consortium of major telecommunications players including Motorola , Nokia , Microsoft , and IBM  allows someone using a Bluetooth  wireless headset to connect to other Bluetooth enabled devices like cell phones, computers and printers.
Wired — Although wireless gets all the hype, companies like Plantronics still sell as many corded headsets as they do cordless, McGrogan says.
What can you expect to pay? Prices for corded headsets range from $25 to $100. New wireless models with all the bells and whistles cost from $200 to $400, according to McGrogan and other sources.
SIDEBAR: Headset resources
Telephone headsets aren’t hard to find. Small and mid-sized businesses will see a healthy selection at office supply stores such as Office Depot  and Staples . Online specialty retailers such as Hello Direct  and Headsets.com  have a larger selection. Some small-business telecommunications vendors also carry the gear or can tell companies where to find it.
For additional information on headsets suitable for office and mobile workers, check out the following online resources:
Article printed from Inc. Technology: http://technology.inc.com
URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2008/03/01/bet-on-telephone-headsets/
URLs in this post:
 Motorola: http://www.motorola.com/
 Nokia: http://www.nokia.com/
 Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/
 IBM: http://www.ibm.com/
 Bluetooth: http://www.bluetooth.com/bluetooth/
 Office Depot: http://www.officedepot.com/
 Staples: http://www.staples.com/
 Hello Direct: http://www.hellodirect.com/hellodirect/Shop?
 Headsets.com: http://www.headsets.com/
 interactive selector: http://www.senncom.com/headsetselector
 telephone headsets page: http://www.amazon.com/Headsets-Telephone-Accessories-Supplies/b?ie=UTF8&node=229193
 this white paper: http://www.headsets.com/headsets/resources/wireless/wireless_headsets_1.html
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