[This is a sponsored article with Jabra.]
Today, there is a phrase so pervasive globally that it’s a meme unto itself and lives in a class of its own. With remote working made a necessity by many workplaces, you’ll inescapably say these words in every single online meeting and I’m sure you know it by now.
“Can you hear me? How about now? And now?
It’s been two years since remote or hybrid working started due to the pandemic, can we finally stop with the mic check?
You can’t just keep blaming bad internet connection
When remote working became a requirement, many of us resorted to the tools that we have: earphones included in-the-box, mics, and webcams on laptops, and whatever communications tools we had lying around.
In response to this shift in work, sound solutionist Jabra carried out a study which sampled 5,017 knowledge workers from over 10 countries.
It found that while on virtual calls, over 51% of respondents have experienced sound issues from their counterparts’ side, as well as from their own side (48%).
The study’s sample group included those who use Unified Communications (UC) platforms for work. Jabra found that more than half (58%) of those respondents don’t actually use UC certified devices.
Dictionary Time: Unified Communication is a system that allows collaboration with multiple functions including chat, video, voice, and conferencing. UC platforms include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
This is a significant finding because non-UC certified devices aren’t fully compatible with UC platforms.
Therefore, having the right audio and video equipment can dramatically improve working experiences, whether from home, the office, or anywhere in between.
Mic checks aside, check if your device is UC certified
UC certified devices are professional grade products that have undergone rigorous testing and are certified to work optimally with UC platforms.
This means they have dedicated software and hardware that enables them to connect to those platforms seamlessly.
For example, companies that use Microsoft Teams could benefit from the Microsoft Teams variant of the Jabra Evolve2 75 headset, which meets the platform’s UC certification requirements.
The variant is designed with shortcut buttons meant to make your meetings on Microsoft Teams simple, such as for quick muting/unmuting, pickup/ending a call, and even a flashing light for message notifications.
These features help workers concentrate at home or in the office, and their strengths lie in the attention to detail.
If you’re curious: Jabra offers a free 14-day trial for organisations to hear the difference for themselves with the Jabra Evolve2 range. They have various models in that range for you to test out so you can hear every word during calls for optimised productivity. Terms and conditions apply.
For example, there’s active noise cancellation (ANC), a feature that has saved many remote meetings from noisy cafes, chit-chatting family members, or even whiny pets.
In our brief testing at a busy cafe, the fully adjustable ANC muffled outside noise while directly channelling our recipient’s voice into our ears, which really helped with clarity.
With all calls, this leads to better concentration on the conversation, and directly translates to improved productivity without external distractions.
As we were testing out the headset, we also noticed that the distinctive busylight feature, a red light indicator, became activated during our call.
This simple but distinctive feature signals that you’re busy on a call and should not be disturbed.
Interestingly, the indicator would only activate when the headset is worn too.
Here’s another familiar scenario: you’re chatting away on a virtual call and suddenly your recipient’s voice volume raises uncomfortably in your ear.
That’s known as audio peaking, and it hurts. Keeping this in mind, Jabra’s professional lineup of products boasts technology that provides hearing protection via speech volume normalisation and the elimination of audio peaking.
Although features like ANC, mute/unmute button, or the busylight aren’t new in the market, it should be noted that there aren’t many headsets with all these basic and additional features in the same, single gadget.
That’s the Jabra Evolve2 lineup’s advantage as a UC certified device.
Best of all, these features work seamlessly out of the box with UC platforms.
An invisible benefit that a certified product brings is its direct relationship with UC partners. If your device is certified by Microsoft for example, your product will always be optimised with system updates via Jabra Direct, meaning you don’t have to manually do checkups.
You can hear me now, right?
Hybrid work is here to stay and teams that are not optimised for seamless connectivity are primed to lag behind.
Who knows, maybe once we’re all on UC certified devices, the first few minutes of meetings don’t have to be rounds of, “Hello?? I can’t hear you. Hold on, let me call you back.”