Frost & Sullivan’s Analyst Gauntlet is a structured program wherein participating vendors and service providers give industry analysts deep dives and demonstrations of their collaboration solution. The analyst then uses the collaboration solution over a period of time and provides candid feedback based on his/her user experience with the specified tool.
This week the Connected Work research team at Frost & Sullivan is evaluating the Cisco Headset 730 cordless endpoint.
Professional headsets market revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1% from 2019 to 2026, reaching almost USD 3 billion by the end of the forecast period. Taking this opportunity into account, enterprise endpoint leader Cisco entered the space in 2018 with the launch of its line of professional headsets. Today, after a little more than two years from its first launch, Cisco possesses a growing line of professional headset models, including the corded Headset 520 and 530 Series, and the cordless 560 (DECT) and 700 (Bluetooth) Series.
With the increasing maturity of the traditional RJ9 headset market (headsets that connect only to desktop phones), the main battleground among technology vendors is in the PC USB and unified communication and collaboration (UCC) headsets market. In 2019, professional PC USB and UCC headset sales grew by 14.3%, reaching USD 969.94 million in revenue and representing 68.8% of total professional headset revenue.
One of the PC USB and UCC headset categories with the highest growth potential is the so-called advanced Bluetooth UCC headset category, where the new Cisco Headset 730 fits in. This advanced binaural stereo headset does not only integrate with a wide variety of unified communications and collaboration solutions but also offers features such as advanced active noise canceling (ANC) capabilities and multi-connectivity enablement. PC integration is via a USB dongle or directly via Bluetooth.
For a couple of months, we have tested the cordless Cisco Headset 730 on a large number of audio, video and web calls, as well as for music streaming and general concentration. Our total score for the device is 4.48 out of 5.00, which is certainly above industry average when compared to other devices in the market. What follows is how Frost & Sullivan generated this score, taking into account the average rating on 10 different criteria:
Cisco Headset 730
Cisco Headset 730 is a stylish, Red Dot 2020 award-winning device with smooth curves and well-proportioned components. It is available in carbon black and platinum color choices. The headset also comes with a professional-looking hard carrying case with useful pockets and is ideal for transportation—a differentiated component compared to cases or covers from other manufacturers.
The headset material composition has a comfortable build with a soft overall feel and an elegant form factor. It features an adjustable, over-the-head band and super soft, comfortable ear cups that rotate inward for storage. One aspect to note is that the recommended wearing time is a maximum of two hours, which is similar to most headsets with on-ear supra-aural ear cups. When wearing for longer periods, these types of devices can cause some level of discomfort due to compression against the ear lobes.
User Control: Cisco Headset 730 has practical, easy-to-identify control buttons in the ear cups, including answer/disconnect call, voice assistant activation, volume and noise control, mute, and track control. Internally, the product has built-in smart sensors to automatically play/pause music, answer calls or mute the microphone with contextual movements.
Connectivity: The primary connectivity mechanism is via Bluetooth 5.0. It comes with a USB dongle, USB-C cable and 3.5 mm cable for PC communications. Up to three simultaneous connections are supported: 2 Bluetooth and 1 USB.
Security: Cisco Headset 730 offers enterprise-grade hardware and software protection through Secure Boot and image authentication. This is a plus for industries concerned about potential threat vulnerabilities of Bluetooth devices.
UCC Service Integration: Cisco Headset 730 mainly integrates with the company’s collaboration services, including Cisco Jabber, Webex Teams and Meetings. While the headset can be used with other PC communications and collaboration services, certification and tighter integration are only within the Cisco UCC solution family.
As a boomless headset, the microphone performance of the Cisco Headset 730 is very good, with high-noise filtering for environmental sounds. The microphone solution consists of two directional electret condenser microphones (ECMs) integrated to minimize undesired noise, and enhance user voice while cancel background speakers.
Talk Time and Wireless Range
20+ hours of talk time on a full battery charge and a wireless range of 65 meters is above average when compared to other solutions in the market. Battery full charging time is 2.5 hours, which is the industry average for this type of ANC device.
Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)
This product offers splendid ANC quality, with both adaptive and manual options. Also, the headset’s ambient mode feature allows the user to interact with others and simultaneously remain aware of his/her surroundings.
Cisco Headset 730 comes with an intuitive app for audio settings adjustment, feature configuration and troubleshooting issues. The headset firmware can be easily updated via the app. The app is available today for both Android and iOS.
The retail price of the Cisco Headset 730 may be perceived as a bit high to some companies; however, the device features/capabilities plus its solid build are worth the investment. Cisco also offers flexible payment solutions via Cisco Capital, which helps companies, acquire devices with predictable payments in more than 100 countries.
Ease of Use
On-boarding for the Cisco Headset 730 is intuitive with easily recognizable call and music controls. Pairing and connectivity of the headset to Bluetooth devices/sources is simple. Also, the mobile app effortlessly walks the end user through all the device settings and adjustments needed.
Cisco delivers intuitive, intelligent headset management through Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) or Webex Control Hub, which enable IT administrators to deploy, monitor and troubleshoot issues with user endpoints. Capabilities such as device inventory management, remote configuration and diagnostics are all included as part of the management system.
The cordless Cisco Headset 730 is recommended for usage within software-based and mobile communications environments. A balance between aesthetics, functionality and multi-connectivity makes the Cisco Headset 730 an appealing option for task and knowledge workers who require an all-in-one device for multiple purposes—audio communications, concentration and listening to music.