Headset and Camera Purchase Guide

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Introduction

From January 2018, UiB has an agreement ATEA as the provider of headsets for IP telephony.

The range of headsets can be found in ATEA's webstore. Log in via Basware PM, select "New Request", "External Directories" and Navigate to ATEA. On the front page you will find a category called "Headset and Webcam".

WHen making calls from your PC, we strongly recommend using a headset with a microphone, not the computer's built-in speaker and microphone. The sound at the receiving end will be much better, making it easier to focus on the conversation you are in. Also, there is a markedly less chance of feedback and echoing sounds during the conversation.

Webcam

There is a webcam on the list, designed primarily to mount on the monitor of a regular desktop computer. For cameras conference/meeting room environment, you should use cameras more suited for such uses. Modern laptops will have a built-in camera that is good enough for most needs so the recommended camera is to provide a communications solution for desktops.

Headset for the average user

UiB has standardized Plantronics Blackwire as a headset for employees. These are good and comfortable headset, with cable for the PC that works very well for everyday normal use. There are two models, C3110 with one clock (mono) and C3220 with two clocks and stereo sound.

These headsets are not recommended if you:

  • Have regular long duration video conferencing calls.
  • Uses the phone for more than 3-4 calls a day.
  • Works in an open office or in an environment with a lot of noise.

These are the headsets that are distributed in connection with the conversion to Skype for Business as a telephone solution and first time purchase is covered by earmarked funds. Later purchases of these or more advanced headsets must be paid by the individual department or institute.

In UiB's software center, you will find "Plantronics HUB" which we recommend that you install to your PC. This will update the built-in software so that you have full functionality at all times; It also allows you to select default audio settings.

Headset for extensive use

If you have a need for a more expensive headset, it's important to specify your particular needs. The first question is whether you want mono or stereo headset. Next, do you need a wireless headset? It's often the case that you don't know what you need until you've tried it a week or two. It may be useful to spend some time before purchasing other headphones with noise cancellation or the like.

  • A regular stereo headset are good in scenery or for those who like to listen to music while they work.
  • Mono headsets are often preferred by active telephone users with a single office or at reception where you switch a lot between the phone and meeting\talking with people. They provide better contact with you surroundings.
  • Wireless are relatively expensive. Those who primarily enjoy it are people who move a lot in their work (getting documents from drawers, going to shelves, getting up, sitting down ...) or have a cluttered desk where the cable might snag.
  • Cabled headphones are less expensive. There are also fewer sources of error when something does not work, seen from a stability and support perspective.

There are two solutions for wireless headsets, DECT phones and bluetooth. The first one is made for a traditional telephone device. DECT is not suitable for music, and UiB does not know of any models that have good sound shielding. On the other hand, they have very good reach, so they are suitable for users who travel while they are on the phone, either to get coffee or to go to quiet rooms in affiliated areas to conduct a conversation. For most needs, bluetooth is the smartest wireless solution, which allows you to easily connect to both mobile, PC and tablet, supports good quality music and works well as long as you're within 4-5 meters of your PC.

Note that with bluetooth headset it comes with a small USB dongle that can be plugged into the PC. This is recommended, especially if you are playing music, to get better bandwidth on the sound. However, it can be easy to lose and are costly to replace.

For headsets from Jabra or Plantronics, it is recommended that you install any software from the software center to keep embedded software up to date and to be able to customize the settings to your needs.