I recently moved and have been having the “What do you do for a living” conversation an awful lot lately. Almost everyone is familiar with Plantronics in one way or another. Either they have used their Bluetooth mobile headsets, or perhaps the wireless office headsets at work, or even their line of gaming headsets. I did run into one individual though that had never heard of us, and I was a little stunned. He asked me, “Well, who uses Plantronics?” That’s a good question, and the answer is quite impressive.
A little background helps set the stage. Plantronics was started by two pilots who were faced with a problem. In the early 1960’s airline headsets were monstrous in size, and so bulky that no one wanted to use them. They were so bad that most pilots switched back to handheld microphones instead of the headsets. There was a problem though, airliners were getting more complicated, and they needed a hands free device. United Airlines invited new designs for a lightweight, more efficient headset from anyone who was interested. Pilots Courtney Graham and Keith Larkin submitted their design which was accepted, and then formed Pacific Plantronics, now known as Plantronics Inc. In 1961 he FAA selected Plantronics to be the sole supplier of headsets for air traffic controllers. In the same year, Plantronics was selected to supply headsets to the operators of the Bell Telephone Company.
In 1961 NASA contacted Courtney Graham, designer of the first Plantronics headset, the MS-50) to create a design for a small lightweight headset to be used in the Mercury spacecraft. To say 1961 was a big year for Plantronics is an understatement. Pacific Plantronics created its SPENCOMM division (Space Environmental Communications), to begin designing the headset for NASA. The headsets had to be built with significant redundancy in case of failure of one or more parts, and the headsets were used in pairs in case one had a total failure. NASA continues to use Plantronics headsets, and the famous words spoken from Neil Armstrong “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” was transmitted through a Plantronics headset.
Plantronics line of office headsets has filled call centers, helpdesks, and businesses around the world. Whether you work in HR, IT, Sales, Marketing, or anywhere else, you probably have seen someone wearing one of these. They make answering calls easier, and less stressful on your wrist and neck. Risk Management loves them just as much as the employees do. They are used in health care, education, government, public and private sectors, just everywhere.
What about mobile? Now if you live in the country I’ll admit, you may not see a ton of these on people’s heads. But walk through a city and really pay attention; they are everywhere. Normally we only notice the jerk who won’t stop talking on the phone long enough to order his coffee and makes everyone else wait, but there are a lot of people out there getting great use out of these. Staying in touch with work, friends, and family while on the go has never been easier than it is right now, especially with Plantronics new Voyager Legend model. As someone who works on the road from time to time, I could never do my job without it.
Here is the fun one, the gaming headsets. I’m a big gamer (when I have the time). Nothing makes me happier than putting on my GameCom 780’s, loading up Steam, and playing whatever sounds the most fun. There are a huge group of gamers out there who use our headsets, some on PS3, some on 360, and some on PC. If you haven’t picked one up yet, you should. I highly recommend the GameCom 780, and I’m saying that as a gamer, not a Plantronics blogger. It’s the best sounding, most comfortable headset I’ve used in over a decade of gaming.
So let’s recap a little. Plantronics is used by air traffic controllers, NASA, government, health care, education, and business all around the world. Check back soon as I will being showing results of a survey to why people chose Plantronics, and maybe why you should to.