will your unified communications strategy fail because of end-user equipment?

If you have read a few of my blog posts you may have picked up music is a key influence in our house, especially with my son.

Now, my son goes through headphones nearly as quickly as he goes through skateboard shoes. This is mainly due to the frequent use (iPod, phone, electric drums, guitar amp, Xbox live, etc.). He uses typically expensive headphones as he requires sound quality and comfort, and you can guarantee a new set with be at the top of every birthday and Christmas list.

I hear you cry, 'so what has this to do with my unified communications strategy?'. As with my son, it doesn't matter if you are installing a Bose quality IPT system; if you use a wired or wireless yogurt pot as a hand/headset then you won't be happy with the experience. In the retail domain we use review sites such as What HiFi to get feedback on systems and devices. In the enterprise the coffee machine is typically the place where user feedback is exchanged. However, sometimes it’s in the form of, 'have you used the new UC voice system? It's rubbish, don't bother… I'm using my mobile most of the time'.

Now this has the following effect on your UC deployment:

  • slow adoption rates
  • ROI expectations not being met
  • user dissatisfaction
  • reduced productivity
  • increased mobile phone expenses through mobiles being used even when in the office

The best way to ensure your UC strategy doesn't fall into what Gartner refers to in its 'hype-cycle' as the 'trough of disillusionment' is to ensure the user experience is fulfilling.

To try this out I collected headsets from various manufacturers and, along with some colleagues, put them through their paces. The outcome of this was even though a few headsets impressed us, Plantronics stood out as they provided an extensive range of business-grade products for both fixed, mobile and hybrid users which provided outstanding sound quality, noise cancellation, durability, up to 8 hours of battery life on Bluetooth headsets and comfort.

I am now on the lookout for the ultimate headphones for my son which must have military-grade build, Beats sound quality, feather-light weight, Bluetooth connected with a 12-hour battery life and as comfortable to wear as your favorite worn out skateboard shoes. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a product that ticked all the boxes. Any suggestions?

What are your experiences with regards to UC and end user equipment? And does there seem to be a link between the quality of devices and user adoption?


Nicolas Jacquey
Andy Shuttlewood

I'm a highly respected telecoms professional with 23 years' experience and I currently manage the UK Consulting team within Orange Business.