Plantronics: developers will make us indispensable

Headset specialist Plantronics will spread its wings in 2014, targeting more software developers to expand the market and potential use cases for its products

Headset vendor Plantronics is courting developers and partners with software expertise in an attempt to make itself a more indispensable element of the unified communications sale.

Speaking to MicroScope, Plantronics’ Paul Dunne, head of UK and Ireland channel sales, said that the firm had undergone a major evolution in response to the changing nature of its core business and the growth in collaboration and mobile working, which centred on turning its headsets into a bridge between devices that are “dumb to one another”.

This process, he explained, first began by unifying Microsoft Lync presence features across desktop softphones and mobile, but is now beginning to expand into other aspects of what workers and consumers do during the rest of the day.

Existing examples developed alongside other vendor partners include adding mobile caller ID features to Salesforce, while Cisco has demonstrated a Plantronics headset featuring an accelerometer, which can detect what the user is looking at to provide them with more relevant information.

Plantronics is now making available a software development kit which Dunne said he hoped was set to spark more interest among developers.

“Channel partners love it because suddenly they can write software to make the headset devices that they sell far more useful,” he said.

“The reason we are so confident is that our customers and partners are saying to me ‘I left home in the morning and turned back because I forgot my headset’ … the idea of us being so indispensable is a good place to be, as a vendor. We are no longer an accessory but a full component of an ecosystem.

“This is front and centre in terms of our strategy for 2014, [while] resellers do remain key they are not all developers and not all developers are resellers,” he continued, “so we have a whole new world we are working with and as we become more indispensable our vendor partners, such as Cisco, are becoming more interested in what we are doing.”

Plantronics believes increased contact with the developer community will ultimately help its partners offer better ROI to their clients through enabling more effective, context-aware collaboration.

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