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Plantronics Unwraps New UC Products

Famed Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin highlights company's 50 year anniversary with new UC-ready handset, speakerphone and UC toolkit.

"This is a breakthrough announcement for us," said Bill Loewenthal, Plantronics' vice president of unified communications solutions.

The company also launced its Calisto 800 series of multi-device speakerphones at the event. Targeted at the millions who now telecommute at least part or all of the workweek, the hands-free system design focuses on noise cancellation and some renditions include a wireless lapel microphone.

That system, he said, is optimized for Microsoft Office Communicator and Lync and will support hard phone systems as well as soft ones from Skype, IBM, Cisco and Ayaya.

Representatives from Avaya and Cisco were in full force. Microsoft participated remotely via a pre-prepared video.

Finally, Plantronics announced the availability of its new Plantronics UC Toolkit. "Enterprises have to do this," Loewenthal said. "They have to embrace the move to unified communications and that is why we created this."

Through the two hours of products announcements and afterward, Aldrin mused about his lunar adventures and about how voice, not texting, is still the preferred way of communicating.

Could Neil Armstrong have texted "that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?" Armstrong cringed at the thought. Perhaps then the quotation would be correct. (Armstrong actually said 'a man," Aldrin said, adding that the 'a" was inadvertently dropped.

The text might've been more accurate, but "it wouldn't have been nearly as fun."

For InformationWeek and the new, I'm Gina Smith.

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