Jawbone puts focus on enterprise share with Cisco tie-up

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Cisco deal to bring range for business, as US premium accessories brand Jawbone plays up innovation

US Bluetooth headset manufacturer Jawbone is looking to drive sales in the SME channel with its new products in partnership with Cisco.

Jawbone launched its ICON headset earlier this year, its best-selling range to date. It said last week it intends to increase its sales in UK channels, and in enterprise channels specifically on the back of its Cisco deal.

Jawbone uses Micro-P, 20:20 Mobile and Kondor within the UK distribution channel to get to business markets. It also has direct relationships with Carphone Warehouse, Orange, T-Mobile, Amazon, Play.com, Harrods, Micro Fun, John Lewis, Selfridges and Three.

Jawbone agreed a partnership with US firm Cisco Systems to launch its first enterprise headset, the  Jawbone ‘ICON for Cisco.’ The device allows users to make and receive calls from either an IP, fixed line or mobile phone. It can be connected to multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously.

Cisco is expected to launch its own office tablet device, the Cius, in the UK next year, which will connect directly to the headset via Bluetooth for fixed line and IP calls. Headsets will be able to carry calls by Bluetooth between multiple Cius devices, removing the 10-metre Bluetooth restriction. The tablet allows video calling too.

Jawbone founder and chief executive officer Hosain Rahman (pictured) told Mobile News: “Really, we just want as many people as possible to get value from what we do. We have been fortunate with the ICON line, and indeed all our Jawbone products, since we first launched. We have grown to be one of the largest privately held electronics companies in the world.

“So far, we’ve been primarily focused on the consumer market; the business sector is relatively new for us. But the boundary between the things you do in the office and the things you do out of the office is dead.

“It comes back to this notion of what people want in their lives today; they want things that are productive and functional, which they feel an emotional connection to, in the office and out of the office, at home and in the car.”

He said: “We were the ones who created a premium category in this market; it didn’t exist before we came in.”

Rahman claims Jawbone was chosen by Cisco as a partner for its innovation in the Bluetooth market, specifically its ability to personalise the user experience using desktop computer software. Jawbone said no other manufacturer makes available such customisation tools.

Its MyTalk website, launched this year, provides users with the ability to connect and download new software to personalise functions such as the language or accent of voice notifications. It also allows for third party developers to create applications for users to listen to texts messages, emails and social networking alerts on their phones through their headsets.

In addition, users will have the ability to write and listen to emails texts and update social network accounts using speech recognition.

From a business perspective, it said companies can control many headset applications or software functions at once. Rahman said: “To be able to do that from a centrally controlled web interface is unique; no one else has that capability and platform. No one has that level of intelligence.

“You can plug in and centrally update 10,000 devices at the same time. I can determine the software on each of them. Each device has its own ID. That’s never been available in this category before. No one is even close to that kind of functionality.

“These are some of the reasons Cisco chose to work with us rather than  another, longer-established player in this space. We are far ahead from a technology and innovation perspective. No one else has a platform where you can plug in a device and get applications.

“The ability to update the device all the time is great for the end user, and is an experience that will get richer all the time. It’s not a dead technology. With other products, once you leave the store, that’s it. If you want an updated version, you have to buy new hardware.

“We have continued to innovate and we play in a dfferent space to these other headset brands; a premium platform space if you will. There’s a big gap between us and the rest.”

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