Device Review: Jabra Evolve 80 UC Stereo Headset

imageIts been a while since I have done a device review and to be frank I haven’t been watching this space real close of late either. My interest was peaked a week or so ago when I saw a tweet from Jabra for the Evolve 80 and subsequently saw one in the flesh  not long after. This isn't your average UC headset that’s for sure . It is great to see Jabra blurring the boundaries between enterprise and consumer markets. With the growing popularity of the Beats by Dr. Dre (may be its just in the NFL, sorry Bose) it seemed like Jabra was just trying to get in on the bandwagon. After spending a little time with the headset I think they have done enough to offer some unique features that make it a little more cube and UC friendly versus just a great audio headset that just happens to be able to work with a UC client.
I never thought of adding some of the new trends in active noise cancelation to UC/voice headsets but its kind of obvious now that I have tried it. Only the Evolve 80 boasts active noise cancellation in the Evolve product line. The other headsets in this line have passive noise cancellation. Its been proven that ANC can have a positive effect on concentration by removing distracting noise so it makes sense that using them in a cubical environment could have some benefits to the wearer. I can’t say that I have conducted any precise experiments to see if there is any real credence to this but after being on calls both video and audio only it does seems easier to stay focused. Of course Jabra is using this with their  “Reclaim the Workspace” marketing along with some other unique features of the headset.
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One of the features of this headset I seem to be using a lot is the ability to disconnect the USB dongle and use the headset as a more straight forward audio headset with the 3.5 mm jack. It really makes the headset much more versatile. The call control functions work for both Jabber and the DX series of endpoints.
So far I have been using this headset with my DX80 and Jabber on my PC via USB and listening to music on my MAC using the 3.5 mm jack. While the DX80 has some great audio capabilities to limit distracting calls using intelligent audio technology, that technology only works for the receiver and the sender still has to deal with the noise surrounding them. The Evolve 80  really helps limit that outside noise distraction with the ANC. Finally a way to cut out my 5 barking dogs when the mail man comes to the door. That’s right, 5 dogs.
One other feature I think that is worth calling out is the call presence indicator on ear imagepiece. Although integrating a call indicator into a headset is not new the way Jabra has done it makes it much more obvious than other attempts I have seen to date. You can also manually turn this on. Sort of takes Do Not Disturb (DND) to a whole new personal level.
The only negative I have found so far is limited to the size of the headset. It does take some getting used to for sure.If your used to a super light headset then this will feel heavy in comparison. I am a big user of double ear headsets for UC so wearing a headset that covers both ears wasn’t a big change for me but others may prefer the more slender and single ear models of the Evolve series which BTW probably also weigh less. The 80 also covers the whole ear which some people may not like. I personally think its great. I can’t wait to try it out in a cube environment and make my fellow Cisco employees jealous of my inner silence:)
Lastly, keep in mind this is a super sturdy headset that is made to be high quality both of build and sound quality and the cost reflects that (around $250-300). But as a wise man once told me you get what you pay for and if your wearing a headset 4-5 hours a day the higher cost is well worth it. I have used headsets that sit on the ear versus around that after a certain amount of time can be painful to wear after prolonged use. The 80 does help with this by surrounding the ear and not on the ear.
So if you get a chance to try out the Evolve 80 it is well worth it. Just remember its not your average UC headset.
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Firefox Adds OpenH264 Support

Firefox has now added support for OpenH264 in its latest release as part of its efforts for WebRTC support. You should automatically receive the update.Congratulations to the Mozilla and Cisco teams working on the project. This should help to open up WebRTC to more us cases across the board without the need for a plugin.

See more below from Jonathon Rosenberg's blog post.

http://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/ciscos-openh264-now-part-of-firefox/

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What is CEC mode in my Cisco TC software settings?

What is CEC?

For those not familiar CEC or Consumer Electronics Control is the ability to control another device over HDMI. There are quite a few different controls that work with CEC although not every manufacture supports this protocol the same way or has their own version of it.

For the purpose of Cisco’s TelePresence endpoints CEC mode is implemented in TC software as a way to control power management of displays attached to either codecs such as the SX20 as their primary display or in the case of MX series extended displays.

Enabling CEC mode

Turning on CEC mode is pretty simple. Its just a matter of accessing the web UI and enabling the feature.

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This feature, because of the variation on consumer displays may work but it carries no guarantee that it will. With new displays coming on and off the market all the time its really up to the display manufactures to support this protocol in a standard fashion which depending on the model may or may not happen.

So if you decide to head down the consumer grade display road make sure that the display will work with your AV gear and supports the protocols you need it to. That 80 incher at Costco may look good but it may not work for your conference room.

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Updated for TC 7.2: Cisco TelePresence Web Snapshots for Video and Touch Panel

This is a little tricky but plenty easy to do once you know how. The TC7 software that is used with Cisco’s TelePresence endpoints is a little different than previous versions. In TC 7.0 you can only turn on Web Snapshots using the On Screen Display (OSD) on the SX20 so you will need the remote. If you have a touch panel you may need to turn it off for a few moments to turn this feature on using the remote. Previously you could use the touch panel or remote to turn this feature on but in TC7 it is only enabled via the OSD. Other C series codecs still allow the touch panel or remote to be used to turn on this feature with TC7. In TC 7.2 this is now configurable from the Web UI. Check down towards the bottom of this post for updates on newer versions. This is a evolving feature and has some popularity for those that are creating documentation or troubleshooting TelePresence deployments.

Turning on Snapshot on the SX20 TC 7.0

Using the OSD on the SX20 go to the Advanced configuration menu, navigate to Video > AllowWebSnapshots and choose On.

Turning on Snapshot on the C40/60 Series using the Touch Panel

Open the Settings menu on the Touch controller and tap Administrator. You have to log in with an administrator user name and password to get access to the Administrator menu.

Tap Web Snapshots and choose ON

Using Snapshots

Once enabled the AllowWebSnapshots option in the Web interface will show on. Go to Configuration>System Configuration>Video in the web interface to find this setting. See below:

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Once Snapshots is enabled you should see what's being streamed from the camera and also what being presented, in this case from an SX20 in the web interface.

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To get a snapshot of the touch panel the touch panel must be connected directly to the codec over the second Ethernet port, or directly through a touch panel port such as with EX90 etc. So the SX20 as an example does not support this feature since the touch panel connects over an external Ethernet port. The screenshots below are from a Profile system that has a C90 Codec.

To get to the correct web interface screen use the following URL

https://<Your codec IP>/web/translation

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Use the “Take new snapshot of Touch Panel” button to grab a screen shot of what's being displayed on the touch panel.

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From there you can right click on the image and save as.

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Updatefor TC 5.1

For TC5.1 from the codec’s web interface you will be able to take screenshots of the Touch interface. Short description:

http://<codec ip address>/wsgi/translation

Here are the steps to take screenshots:

  1. Enable web snapshots in the menu (Touch or OSD menu). By design, enabling web snapshots is not possible on web. This is mainly a security feature to ensure that remote users can’t do this.
  2. Logon to the web interface: http://<codec ip addr>
  3. Enter /translation after the IP address i.e. http://<codec ip addr>/wsgi/translation
  4. Migrate on the Touch device to the desired menu and click the “Take snapshot of Touch Panel” button
  5. Right click on the graphic and “Save Picture as”

Update for TC 7.2

There are 3 major changes for this feature in TC 7.2:

1. The web UI can now be used to turn on this feature in TC 7.2. image

2. Access to touch panel and OSD snapshots are now available in the web UI without having to navigate to another page. Now if you go to Diagnostics>User Interface Screenshots you will have access to both onscreen OSD and also touch panel screenshots.

Screenshot 2014-09-19 15.00.23

3. This will now work form any endpoint not just those with a direct attached touch panel. So the screen shots are from a SX20 with a Touch 8 display panel.

Screenshot of the Touch panel snapshot:

Screenshot 2014-09-19 15.01.23

Touch panel shots are saved but can be removed at any time.

Screenshot 2014-09-19 15.01.01

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