Interview with Philip Vanhoutte, SVP and Managing Director EMEA

It was an exciting CeBIT 2012 for Plantronics, as we shared three major news announcements with the world:

Below is an interview with Philip Vanhoutte, SVP and Managing Director, EMEA after our press conference at CeBIT discussing Plantronics exciting move into contextual intelligence lead by its Voyager PRO UC with Smart Sensor technology.

Today’s Simply Smarter Applications announcement marks the first time Plantronics has incorporated its technology with ISVs software – why now?

When we started to reach out to the first set of ISVs, they immediately saw how our technology could be beneficial for them and their customers. Up until now, there has been no technology capable of bringing context, mobile and the cloud together. Our innovative Voyager PRO UC makes these impressive ISV collaborations possible thanks to its smart sensor technology.

Sococo, PGi and Five9 are all leaders in their respective industries and are companies that think outside of the box. Like us, they are keen to bring their technology to the next level. Finally we all can, thanks to our contextual intelligence and Smart Sensor technology incorporated with their intuitive software. Now that we are up and running, the sky is the limit!

What benefits does this bring for the end user? For IT Managers?

Simplicity – the essence of our technology is anticipation, so much of the technology you work with day in and day out needs YOU – the end-user – to initiate the action. By incorporating our Voyager PRO UC with Smart Sensor technology, the users’ actions are anticipated and information is being captured at hand to intuitively take the next step.

An IT’s role is tough enough. To place intuitive technology that works across platforms and devices in the hands of its employees makes for a simpler communications experience.

And can you tell me what the new partnerships with the three ISVs means for Plantronics?

This means a big change is underway! These partnerships move Plantronics from a voice company to a software and contextual intelligence provider. We are no longer just providing a communication device; we are providing advanced capabilities for software enhancement. This opens the door for Plantronics to reach out to software developers, communication providers, gaming companies… You name it, the limits are endless.

We have moved way beyond making a simple call. Similar to watches, we are in the wearable industry. We are one of the only pieces of technology that is promoted to be wearable on the human being. Our Smart Sensor technology in the Voyager PRO UC means it can sense, understand and transmit information to make communications simple, like never before.

Simply put, this is not your Grandfather’s headset!

What do you see as the biggest benefit for the enhanced speech recognition announcement with Nuance / Expressware?

Nuance and Expressware stress that if you use speech recognition; you need to be wearing a high-performance headset. Cheap headsets do not cut it – without noise cancellation and wideband audio, speech recognition and its accuracy will never work the way it should.

Nuance integrating our contextual intelligence with the Voyager PRO UC is now the point where speech recognition starts. The usability has changed, no more pushing a button, just place the headset on your ear and start chatting. This intuitive functionality allows office-based and mobile professionals to be more efficient and productive in their day-to-day tasks.

Why is TCO Edge Certification so important to Plantronics?

Personally, I have spent twenty years working with TCO, since the company started with monitors and PCs. They have always been a company that is concerned about safe products, perhaps one of the only in the IT industry.

Mobile phone growth and usage pushed the headset certification. TCO’s first certification for headsets in 2007 was extremely sophisticated stuff. The company has now added emphasis on environmental, recycling and manufacturing.

I think for us, its dedication to corporate social responsibility resonates the most. You just don’t buy a product that the same party designed and manufactured – who do you trust? The only way to be sure of good ergonomics and health, and fair and safe production process is a third party certification, which is what TCO delivers.

Being the first headset company to achieve Edge Certification is an honour, because it’s the top of the top. Companies who do business with us know that we have fair and safe operations. Not to mention, the consumers who wear our headsets are experiencing the best audio quality and enhanced audio limitations possible. Win win for all.

What’s next for Plantronics?

Stemming from our recent product launches and our CeBIT 2012 smarter applications announcement; we are primed and ready to share our wealth of knowledge and contextual intelligence with the world. We will be finding the right venues, building new relationships and establishing evangelists throughout our community to grow awareness of all that Plantronics’ headset technology has to offer.

Interested in watching the press conference as it happened? Follow the link: