Wednesday, 04 February 2015 17:03

Australia is a key market, says Jabra executive


Australia is a key market for headset maker Jabra, and the company is seeking to differentiate its products by applying its expertise in other areas of audio and by concentrating on the user experience.

Jabra's experience with hearing aids and music products gives it an advantage over other vendors when it comes to producing commercial headsets, Asia Pacific head of marketing and alliances Saurabh Singhal (pictured) told iTWire.

In our region, the company focusses mainly on headsets for enterprise unified communication and general office use, including VoIP and smartphones.

This is a fast growing segment due in part for the desire for mobility, whether that's just moving around a building, working at multiple locations, or a truly nomadic working life.

"Australia is really at the forefront" in this regard, he said, making it a key market for Jabra.

Knowledge workers face several challenges, Singhal told iTWire. To start with, they work in a variety of environments where noise can often be a problem, and they often need to communicate and collaborate with people that can be anywhere in the world.

And because they increasingly expect to work with their own devices, not just those an employer provides, multi-device connectivity and ease of use are important.

Furthermore, poor user experience has adversely affected the adoption of unified communications. According to a Jabra survey, 70% of IT managers said a poor user experience was a key reason for people not using the unified communications products they had installed - if a system isn't used, you won't get a return on the investment.

Jabra has addressed these issues by incorporating features such as noise cancellation, automatic volume adjustment, lightweight batteries, and seamless connectivity between multiple devices such as smartphones and PCs.

It has also made provision for people who want to use the same headset for telephony in the office and for listening to music while commuting with ideas like a foldaway boom microphone and audio quality that Singhal said was regarded as superior to Beats and Bose products by some reviewers.

Jabra's range includes what he said was the world's first sports headset - the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless. This device combines wireless earbuds with an in-ear heart rate monitor.

"We do understand customers have a budget," he said, so Jabra offers a range of products at different price points. "It depends on the use case."

Jabra has strategic partnerships with several big players in the unified communication space, including Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya and Genesys, he said.

"We have one big competitor," he said (presumably referring to Plantronics), adding that the two companies share about 80% of the market.

While he was unable to provide details at this time, Singhal said the company's local plans for 2015 include the introduction of more new products and the appointment of additional channel partners (the company has a 100% channel strategy).

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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