The hectic world we live in today often demands employing the art of multi-tasking, and no two actions are done more often in tandem than talking while using both of your hands. Whether you’re at the office talking to a client while relaying their information into your database or at home talking to your spouse who’s trying to direct you to the Halloween decorations in the cluttered basement, being able to have a hands-free conversation is safe, convenient and time-saving. The obvious tool that’s used to accomplish this is a headset, especially in office environments where the multi-tasking of talk-and-type is the standard M.O. of day-to-day operation.
As with all technology, the capabilities of the headset have undergone an evolutionary progression. The modern headset is now wireless, offering mobility while freeing us from the aggravation of physical entanglement. The mechanism commonly used in wireless headsets that allows such freedom is called a lifter, which is a small unit that must be adhered to your phone (usually by means of glue) that automatically lifts the handset from the cradle when a call is initiated or received. Essentially, it simulates someone physically picking up the handset.
While this is an obvious advantage, the lifter is not completely free of faults. Some lifters do not attach to certain phones properly; some detach easily; over time the adhesive holding the lifter to the phone erodes and must be re-applied; sometimes the lifter will activate independently or so harshly as to jar the handset out of the cradle. While these occurrences are rare, they remain unwanted possibilities. The refinement resolving these drawbacks of the automatic lifter surfaced last year with the advent of the EHS adapter unit, the next stage in wireless headset evolution.
EHS (Electronic Hook-Switch) units render the entire lifter process obsolete by allowing headsets to electronically answer or initiate calls, bypassing the need to lift the handset in order to trigger the telephone’s hook-switch. An EHS system consists of a small wireless unit similar to a WiFi router that is placed between a phone and headset that both feature EHS-compatibility. It functions using DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications), which is a standard for wireless frequency in use with wireless communications and is a fully recognized 3G system that operates at a frequency and level comparable to WiFi. Unlike WiFi, however, DECT channels are specifically reserved for voice communication applications only. Because of this exclusive aspect, DECT devices are less prone to experiencing audible interference from other wireless devices and networks as opposed to other commonly used frequency bands. DECT-supported devices also remain functional at wide ranges and provide top-grade audio quality.
Headsets are definitely an appendage cemented in the anatomy of today’s telecommunications environment, and it’s important to realize that either forgoing or upgrading from an automatic lifter to an EHS adapter can prove very beneficial; it isn’t some small luxury but rather a tool designed and appropriate for current demands. Every call, whether it be personal or professional, is an opportunity…an opportunity to catch up with an old friend while you’re grilling, to reassure a demanding customer while you analyze their account, or to check on inventory in the warehouse and report it immediately to your supervisor a couple hundred feet away. EHS headsets offer you the ability the make the most of these opportunities. And hey, it’s also an opportunity to avoid and injury as the constant squeezing of a telephone handset between the neck and shoulder can lead to Telephone Neck Syndrome (TNS). Also, having employees choose between working one-handed or staring at a computer monitor at a 45° angle won’t improve productivity. Get a headset!
If an EHS headset system is something that appeals to you, please make certain that all of the components you either have or intend on purchasing are compatible. Multiple telephone models can be used with EHS adapters, most notably phones available from the Polycom Soundpoint IP Series (320, 330, 430, 550, 560, 650, 670 models) as well as the Aastra 675X Series ( 6753i, 6755i or 6757i). Both Plantronics and Jabra are prominent manufacturers of EHS-capable headset/base unit systems. Popular Jabra models include GN9350, GN9350E, GN 9125 and GN9120 while Plantronics offers the CS70N, CS351N and Voyager 510S model headsets.
Again, it is highly recommended that you consult your reseller or distributor in order to verify that your phone and headset possess EHS capability and are compatible with each other.