Greater Range Than Bluetooth
Savi Office utilizes DECT 6.0 for transmissions between the base station and headset, promising much greater range capabilities (the documentation claims up to 350 feet) than would be possible if using Bluetooth technology. As called for by the DECT standard, wireless transmissions can be protected using 64-bit encryption. Savi Office utilizes adaptive power algorithms, allowing the device to sense proximity to the base station, dialing back power utilization when it is not needed.During my demonstration, Plantronics representatives made sure to highlight the wideband audio capabilities of the Savi Office line. With wideband support enabled, I found that music from PC-based media players sounded much deeper and richer than when in narrowband mode.However, use with telephony is a bit more of a mixed bag. Standard POTS lines or extensions from a TDM PBX only support narrowband calls, so the wideband support on the headset adds little to no benefit. But Skype users or those in companies supporting wideband IP telephony (in the core and on the desk or softphone) will notice a significant improvement in call quality. Users control the use of wideband audio from the PerSono Suite (so Mac users cannot control this feature), but they should be aware that use of wideband audio will have a significant impact on battery life. Plantronics representatives expect use of wideband audio will cut battery life approximately in half. Plantronics has partnered with several enterprise-grade communications providers (including Microsoft, Avaya, IBM and Cisco Systems) to ensure Savi Office plays nice with the leading enterprise softphone clients. However, I would prefer to see more integration to further bake the functions of the PerSono Suite into the soft client of these communication platforms. For instance, I know the Microsoft Office Communicator can be extended by third-party applications via X M L, and I presume other enterprise softphones can be similarly modified. As of Version 1.0, the PerSono Suite is not ready for enterprise deployment, as the application is only available as an .EXE executable. Nor is the application centrally configurable via enterprise management tools. Plantronics representatives claim that a centrally deployable executable will be available in the 1.1 timeframe, presumably available sometime later this year. Savi Office devices should be available in April. eWEEK Labs Senior Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at email@example.com.