In May I posted about the genesis of my relationship with Jabra products (see Jabra Who? Jabra GO!). Since then (and not strictly because of them) I have changed the way I do business in a lot of ways. The Jabra devices I have in my arsenal have made a lot of those changes a lot smoother than they would have otherwise been.
I actually have four main Jabra devices that I use on a regular basis, although I actually have a couple others as well. The ones I use always are:
Although I spent a lot of time on the phone, I always found that wearing an earpiece for extended periods of time became painful so frankly a few years ago (after I accidentally ran my Jawbone 2 through the washing machine) I stopped using them. When Ben Sept (from Jabra) heard about this problem he asked if I would be willing to try one of their devices that he said was ‘designed for longer-term comfort’ than most of the devices I had tried before. Enter the Supreme.
It is worth noting that in Ontario, like many jurisdictions, has made it illegal to use a handheld device while driving. I spend a lot of time driving, and initially I figured that the integrated Bluetooth system in my car would solve that problem. Boy was I wrong. It may be fine during a nice sunny day with the windows up, but even then the ambient noise causes interference that is intolerable to the person on the other end of the line. A comfortable earpiece would make my life easier.
The Jabra SUPREME was different from the other devices I had tried in several respects, not the least of which was that rather than inserting a piece into my ear, it had a large cushion that holds the device comfortably over my ear, with a padded leather covered wire that went around my ear. It is certainly more comfortable than the other devices I had tried.
So I finally have a device that I could wear for longer periods without pain; the sound quality and noise cancellation is excellent, and the battery life is second to none. I was happy, and linked it to my phone. However because it also has a little USB dongle, I plugged it into my laptop for the odd time that I used Skype or Live Messenger. Oh, and by the way, the device talks to you. ‘Power On…. Connected.’ Just in case
Several weeks ago I heard a audio prompt from the earpiece that I hadn’t heard before. ‘Two devices connected.’ What do you… Oh, so I can be connected to my computer AND my phone at the same time? Cool. At the time I didn’t realize that this functionality would soon save me a lot of hassles.
Last month when I became a Virtual Technical Advisor at Microsoft Canada I quickly had to become a big Lync user. It’s not that I didn’t want to be before, but all of a sudden I was internal with an organization that uses it for everything – meetings, phone calls, you name it. That was when my Jabra usage went into high gear. After my first Lync meeting for which I did NOT have a UC device, I pulled out the Jabra Supreme and made sure my levels were adjusted. It was going to lose it’s new car smell in a hurry!
Earlier this week my Lync account was upgraded to have a phone number associated to it, which means that now I can not only speak with other Lync users, I can also make and receive phone calls from Lync. Aside from saving a ton on long distance charges, it has already proven useful when the battery on my cell phone is low. However last night and this morning is when the device became my best friend.
I won’t bore you with the details of the issues that we had with shipping this week, but Wednesday evening Pierre and I found ourselves waiting in the Microsoft office in Montreal until 9:30… waiting. We were scrambling to track down a shipment that was late and critical; at the same time Pierre was dealing with another critical issue, and I was dealing with a few on my end. We were two guys, four devices, and a lot of problems. Oh, and the battery on my computer was nearly dead so I had to leave it plugged in. We were both getting e-mails left and right, our smart phones were going like gangbusters, and just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I heard that dreaded tone on my smartphone that told me that my battery level was critically low.
I had to charge the phone, but I had to keep running around dealing with issues… but I had to stay tied to my phone just in case any of several pieces fell into place. The earpiece would be a temporary saviour… but could it be more?
‘Two devices connected.’
I had almost forgotten! My Jabra Supreme would not only let me answer calls on my cellphone… it would not only alert me when I got an e-mail… it would not only read my text messages to me, and then let me reply by just speaking clearly… it would also simultaneously let me participate in the Lync conference calls that were going on constantly, all while sitting nearly 50 feet from both my computer and my cell phone!
I was hyper-connected and untethered, free to do what I needed to do, where I needed to do it. To say that the Jabra Supreme was a lifesaver would be overstating it, but it is certainly safe to say that it really made my life easier yesterday.
It got better today…
This morning was going to be stressful no matter what happened. The twenty-two laptops that we use to run the IT Pro Camps for Microsoft Canada arrived at the Montreal office at 7:05am, and Pierre and I had to get them set up, plugged in, connected, and reset in time to start the Camp on time at 9:00am. Ordinarily 1:55 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to do that, but there were two problems:
- Our students don’t arrive at 9:00, they start arriving at 8:00; and
- I had an urgent conference call that could not be missed at 7:15.
I had a little under an hour to get the computers ready, and could not take time away to take a phone call that I had to take. Solution? Leave my computer plugged in at the front of the room, call in to the call from there, and participate on the call while I did the work to set up and reset the machines. Oh, and again it was important that I be alerted to incoming e-mails, and the subtle tone in my ear did that.
Don’t get me wrong… I love the Jabra SPEAK 410 (affectionately known as the Puck)… I use it not only for conference calls when several people are in the room, but also as a computer speaker for when I present to medium-sized audiences and need sound, as well as to watch movies from my laptop in hotel rooms. I use the GN2000 when I am sitting at my desk and need a simple headset to take conference calls – the wired connection is always going to have better sound quality than wireless. When I am jogging (or on an airplane) the Jabra ACTIVE let me listen to my music, podcasts, or movies comfortably.
…But none one of these has saved the day in quite the way and to the same extent as my Jabra Supreme. Thanks Ben!
Oh… and did I mention that it lets me have clear conversations when I am in the car?