Interviews

Published on September 21st, 2016 | by admin

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Peter Petrides Interview (Plantronics … Untangling the future of wireless headphones)

We catch-up with from Peter Petrides, National Retail Sales Manager of Plantronics (Australia and New Zealand) to discuss the latest move away from wired headphones and the future!

How do you think Apple’s decision to move away from wired headphones will influence the market

Apple generally has a unique way of making its users adapt to new technologies, and the wireless headphone push will be one of those. Whilst wireless headphones and the technology is not new, clearly battery and phone technology is more important than a headphone jack, as Apple acknowledges that there is a solution to being connected to a person without a jack. The market is also not new to wireless technology, but this move will help people accept what used to be a scary technology, to something that is second nature. The benefits of wireless are obvious to a consumer, and with this decision by Apple will only fast track people’s acceptance of finally being disconnected to wires.

Do you think other mobile developers like Samsung and Motorola will also adapt a wireless push?

The push for wireless is not new by any manufacturer, from the moment A2DP (stereo Bluetooth transmission) was implemented into devices many years ago. The move from Apple was more to do with the lightning cables ability to work as a headphone jack, and a charger simultaneously, for consumers who did not want to adapt wireless audio, however they are clearly championing the movement. Currently other devices use Micro USB, which cannot carry audio, so wireless headphones would still be a lifestyle choice to make on other devices. In saying that, the amount of room to be saved for other technologies if a manufacturer loses the headphone jack and its audio processors, are very beneficial to performance of a phone, so I see the future of the headphone jack in other manufacturers products short lived.

What about wired headphones? Do they still have a place? (e.g. batteryless vs battery)

They will to an extent because not all devices have Bluetooth enable audio out. Take airplanes for example, or a DJ’s amplifier, these still require hard wired connection, because the Bluetooth technology has been slow to adapt. We have SKU’s like BackBeat Pro and BackBeat Sense which deliver hard wire override, for such instances. In everyday life however, connecting to a device like a phone or tablet, wireless headphones will become the norm, and wired technologies will go away. The fear of battery life on headphones, is only because people are not used to charging them, but in time, it will become as common as charging your phone, and like your phone, you will simply not let them deplete battery to zero.

In relation to wireless and batteries, what are some of technologies Plantronics is looking at to extend battery life?

We championed the extension of battery on the go devices with the BackBeat Go2, which came with a charge case, giving the headphones two full charges, so you could charge your case, instead of charging your headphones when you store them out and about. These kind of technologies will be common in Plantronics headphones line up, and we are working to bring the best in class battery solutions to wireless headphones. We were the first to bring the charge case to the world for headphones, and the first to bring 24 hour Noise canceling to over ear wireless headphones – so watch this space.

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Will this include wireless charging as well?

Presently we’re focusing on improving our range of wireless headphones and naturally exploring charging options as well.

Do you think that Bluetooth is the future for wireless?

Currently it’s the most adaptable, accepted and user friendly wireless audio transference option available for devices like phones, smart watches and tablets. Bluetooth density can be an issue in crowded environments, but with advancing versions of the technology, this gets better and better.

What are some of your favourite wireless devices from Plantronics?

I enjoy my fitness, and so BackBeat FIT is by far my favorite product. I like the idea I can ride my bike and still hear the outside world, so from a safety perspective also they work really well. When I want to lounge about and hear some tunes or watch a movie on my IPad, I love my BackBeat Sense! They are light, sound phenomenal, and last for hours before I need to recharge them. Similarly when I travel on a plane, My BackBeat Pro active noise canceling headphones give me the best audio I have experienced and last an entire 24HR without a single charge!

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Tell us your three must have devices for holidays and long plane trips?

My Garmin Forerunner 235, helps me keep track of my health and wellbeing and I would be lost without that. Second is my trusty IPad because not all hotels or Planes have the shows I love to watch, and I can also knock over many emails in comfort or play a game when I’m bored. Lastly, my BackBeat Pro noise canceling headphones for the flight so I can relax with my music or a movie, with no painful inflight cabin noise.

With VR now available to the masses, how do you think wireless will effect this medium?

Transition to wireless in VR, is the next phase of this technology, and when this occurs, the user experience becomes more in tune with where we are at with other parts of console gaming, (wireless controllers etc..) The need for your audio to be wireless also, will definitely become more prominent, and expected in this space.

Lastly, what’s your favourite technological advancement of 2016?

Without a doubt the most exciting technology advancement is the consumerization of Virtual Reality. 3D glasses and TV’s tried to get us to accept more realistic viewing but failed. I believe this category is destined for success because the experience is so unlike anything we have been used to in gaming, and in business. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, and as a bonus for Plantronics, this category aligns well with our experience, as it relies on great Audio and Comfort to complete the experience for a Gamer.


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