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Plantronics Savi W430 and Voice Recognition Software

Savi W430

Plantronics Savi W430

The Plantronics Savi W430 is a DECT USB wireless headset with a 80-100 metre range, designed for high quality voice applications on a PC or MAC. Using it with popular speech recognition such as Nuance MacSpeech Dictate or Dragon NaturallySpeaking requires some special setup as well as training on the part of not only the person but also the machine.

First of all, when you initially set up your Savi 430, load the Plantronics software, and ensure the W430 bandwidth is set to Wideband.  Your computer may also have its own internal mic which must be turned off before you start some practice dictating. Otherwise you will get garbled translation.

Here is a link to a very useful blog by IT Enquirer titled “MacSpeech Dictate: some training required

Synopsis:

MacSpeech Dictate comes in several versions, including general speech, medical and legal applications. You have to load some language and specific applications dictionaries, and then “train” the software to recognize your speaking style.

The training sessions won’t tell you how the software will actually perform under real-world circumstances, and there can be quite a large gap between Dictate’s performance when you’re reading text out loud — with every word and sentence being correctly “understood” by MacSpeech Dictate — and your actual accuracy score when dictating. When you are dictating, you tend to pause a lot in-between words and get sloppy with pronunciation, so you have to practice speaking smoothly and “normally”, and not saying “um” a lot between thoughts.

MacSpeech Dictate comes with a set of commands which allows you to command your Mac software by voice. If you don’t speak those commands (“Delete the Word X to Y”) fast enough, the software thinks you’re dictating again, and will literally type what you commanded it to do.

Especially when used in noisy surroundings, MacSpeech Dictate will benefit greatly from superior noise canceling functionality. The Savi W430 satisfies that requirement excellently by filtering out both mechanical and background voices.

Speech recognition software doesn’t replace the keyboard, but it can help if you aren’t a great keyboarder, or if you think best on your feet when composing a document.

For more detailed product information about the Plantronics Savi 430, please visit the Comfort Telecom Canada website, or email us at calgary{at}comfortcanada{dot}com.

New Softphones and Smart Headsets

This is a reprint of part of an article in the NY Times by ANNE EISENBERG titled “With New Software, Headsets Are Outsmarting Phones”, with some additional commentary by yours truly.

HEADSETS are staples for call-center workers, travel agents and many other people who have to talk frequently on the phone. With a headset to listen and speak through, both hands are free to work, and a shoulder needn’t stiffen to cradle the phone.

Savi 430

Plantronics Savi 430 DECT Wireless Headset - up to 300 foot range

Savi Go

Plantronics Savi Go Bluetooth Wireless

Now, headsets could make many office landline phones unnecessary, as businesses decide to route calls through their office computers.

Companies can save money by installing softphones as part of their unified communications system, and providing USB headsets instead of desktop phones.

The computers common in most offices aren’t ideal for conducting a conversation, as desktop computers with built-in microphones and speakers can distract people in nearby cubicles, just like those on speaker phones.

Blackwire C620

Plantronics Blackwire C620 Corded USB Headset with Call Control

Voyager Pro UC

Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth Headset for PC Softphone and Mobile

There are various computer headsets available, ranging from the Plantronics Blackwire C620 corded headset to the Savi 430 , Savi Go, Savi Office and Voyager Pro UC.

These all connect to your PC or laptop, and are supported by Plantronics Software offering Call Control (call answer/end).

Be aware that all softphones do not necessarily interface with headset manufacturer software, which is necessary to support remote call answer/end from the buttons on the headset. Softphones such as Avaya, Cisco, IBM Sametime, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Office Communicator, ShoreTel and Skype are supported, but some other softphone applications may not be unless they have specifically incorporated the interface into their software.

Savi Office WO100

Plantronics Savi Office WO100 DECT Convertible Wireless

Savi Office WO350

Plantronics Savi Office WO350 DECT Wireless Binaural Headset

A quick survey of Plantronics PC headsets for voice/softphone applications:

Savi 430 DECT wireless headset for dedicated PC communications. Up to 300 foot range with excellent voice quality and barrier penetration.

Savi Go Bluetooth Class 1 wireless headset for PC as well as Bluetooth-enabled PDA/cell phones. Convertible headset with headband and earhook, Bluetooth-quality* voice communications, 80-100 foot range from your PC. Not great for barrier penetration.

* DECT is better.

Savi 730

**NEW in 2011** Plantronics Savi 730 DECT/Bluetooth for PC Softphone, Desk Phone and PDA

Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth wireless headset for PC and mobile communications. Features dual noise-canceling microphones on the boom, AudioIQ² technology, and three layers of WindSmart® technology.

Savi Office WO100 Wireless DECT headset for desk phone and PC softphone. Convertible headset with up to 350 foot range.

Savi Office WO300 and WO350 Wireless DECT headset for desk phone and PC softphone. Monaural and Binaural headband versions with up to 350 foot range for noisy environments.

Blackwire C600 series corded USB headsets with UC Call Control.

Savi 730 DECT/Bluetooth headset will be released in 2011, providing interface to PC softphones, desk phones as well as mobile/cell phones.

For more information on headsets for Unified Communications (UC), visit the Comfort Telecom Canada website at www.comfortcanada.com, or contact our Calgary, Alberta office at 403-239-8414.

Plantronics Savi Go vs Savi 430

Savi Go

Savi Go USB Bluetooth Wireless Headset System

Savi W430

Savi W430 PC DECT Wireless Headset System

How to choose between a Savi Go or a Savi 430 as a wireless headset device to operate with your PC softphone?

Here are some comparative features.

Savi GO .……………………………………………………. Savi 430

Bluetooth Class 1 …………………………………….      – DECT 6.0

– Dual usage – PC and mobile   ………………………    – Dedicated PC applications

– 210 ft.  max range   …………………………………..       – 300 ft. max range

– PC wideband audio …………………………………..     – Advanced wideband audio

– Convertible ear-hook/headband  ……………………     – Over-the-Ear wearing style

– MSRP (USD): ~$200   …………………………………..  – MSRP (USD): ~$280

Reference this whitepaper for some further comparisons of Bluetooth vs DECT.