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The headphones RIG 800LX Plantronics won the Innovation Award CES 2018.

This is the tenth consecutive year that Plantronics, an audio pioneer and communications technology leader, has been recognized by the Consumer Technology Association for its innovative audio solutions. The wireless headphones RIG 800LX that recently awarded by the CES 2018 Innovation Award in the gaming category, are now available together with the RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX models. All the family of gaming headphones featuring Dolby Atmos innovative technology.
RIG 800LX will be on display in the Innovation Showcase in the Venetian Ballroom at CES Tech West 2018, which runs January 9-12, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Products entered in the prestigious CES 2018 Innovation Award are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 28 product categories.
The innovative technology Dolby Atmos of RIG 800LX, that seduced the jury, is also available with the wireless headphones RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX.
This special audio enhancement for Xbox One and Windows 10 lets gamers hear sounds with three-dimensional clarity – from above and below, in front and behind – giving them increased advantage in nearly any gaming scenario.

“I’ve never met a gamer who wasn’t looking for some sort of competitive edge- said Alessandro Laterza, Head of Consumer Sales at Plantronics Italia- Our newest RIG line with Dolby Atmos enables multi-directional, fully immersive audio cues like nothing else in the market today. Combine that with a long-lasting battery life and signature lightweight design, and the choice becomes obvious. If you want a true 360 competitive edge, Plantronics RIG with Dolby Atmos has you covered.”

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Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless Features:
Dolby Atmos for Headphones Activation: Provides gamers with full, 3-D audio by changing the way developers treat sound in-game. Instead of placing audio in a flattened 2D circle, Dolby Atmos technology creates a full sphere of sound that moves around the gamer – above and below, in front and behind.
Performance Audio: Amplified audio with matched 40 mm drivers brings the soundstage to life. Low frequency resonators reinforce bass and limit distortion. When done talking, just flip up the mic to mute it.
Precise Controls: Analog dials help you quickly adjust the balance between game and chat audio, as well as master volume. Choose an EQ setting to isolate pure highs, intensify the mid-range, enjoy seismic bass or enhance vocal focus.
Advanced Battery: Wireless headset with a 24-hour battery life that allows players to focus on gaming without worrying if the headset will lose power. When the headset needs to be charged, the enhanced quick-charging battery provides three hours of gaming per 30 minutes of charge.

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Plantronics RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX Features:
RIG 400LX and RIG 600LX also feature Dolby Atmos for Headphone activation. RIG 400LX features 40 mm drivers which deliver explosive game audio that puts you right in the middle of the action. The noise-cancelling boom mic is always ready for chat and ensures your teammates hear you loud and clear. RIG 600LX delivers a balanced soundstage with distortion-free bass that helps you immerse in the experience without masking the subtle audio cues you must hear to stay in the game. Both models include the RIG LX1 pro level amp with three audio EQ modes, dual analog control-wheels for game/chat balance and an aux input for music.

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RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX and RIG 800LX are available at plantronics.com and major retailers for $99.99, $129.99 and $149.99 respectively.

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Will technology create happy workplaces?

Augmented reality, cloud services, wearable devices, IoT: these are the four technologies that are changing our ways of working and living, and these are the tools we can use to start to build a happy office: they increase our ability to manage our time, our relationships, the environment we live in, our professional growth. These are the main findings of the research i-Enjoy by Sedus, presented with the app se:connects for agile and smart working spaces.

Technology can give a crucial support in the office, either it is “passive”, meaning as a tool for a better environmental comfort, either “active”, for an implementation of the working activities. Technology really has several advantages like a better organization of the working time and space and a better “ergonomics” of the intellectual work, leaving all the repetitive stuff to the machines and leaving to the humans the creative part”, Daniele Andriolo of Plantronics says in the main interview of the Sedus’ s study i-Enjoy. “But we have to be careful that the massive data we continuously collect, won’t let us lose the sight of what really counts”, he concludes.

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The fast development of technology in the working spaces is rapidly changing our working culture, making employees a more active part in the organizations that, on the other hand, has increasingly focused on the individual wellbeing.
If talking about happiness at work means also talking about engagement, fulfilment and empowerment, therefore technology can have a key role to turn the office in a place where a big part of our happiness can be pursued.
Already nowadays we can see augmented reality tools or cloud servers creating a faster and more transparent communication, while dedicated apps and software as Happify Health or Awesome Boss take care of the people, giving to employees tools to motivate themselves or to effectively manage the teamwork.

Space and time are very much affected by the technology and most of all architecture and design. New concepts like “environmental happiness” leads to build spaces that are easy to control in every aspect: heating, lighting, planning, scheduling,… On the other hand, IoT and wearable devices are perfect to collect useful data, intercepting and elaborating people’s preferences, and helping to design offices that are capable of satisfying employees’ needs.

A good example is the Sedus’s app se:connects, especially designed for helping to solve some of the main problems of the changing towards agile and smart ways of working: using their smartphone, employees can easily find a free workstation, register their position and be able to find their colleagues. These data are collected in a complete and updated report that gives all the information to optimize the usage of the space, making the company and the workers both happier.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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#OSW17 research: Smart Working in Italy.

Crowded with people as usual, the annual meeting entitled “Smart Working. Underneath the tip of the iceberg” (Sotto la punta dell’Iceberg) for the presentation of OSW research (by Osservatorio Smart Working, School of Management of Politecnico di Milano) Increased by 14%, smart workers are now 305.000.
Especially the big corporations (36%) already have structured projects as against 5% of Public Administration and 7% of small and medium sized companies.
All of them are pleased with the benefits: increased productivity and work-life balance, lower absenteeism, costs and pollution.
WOW! is media partner of the conference.

In Italy, Smart Working concerns the private sector in particular (large and small-medium companies), but Public Administration (17% of total smart workers) is making up for lost time, also through the new law, that aimes at making “smart at least 10% of its employees within three years.

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Once again it was found that there is no single model of smart working, every company must define the most stuitable project for its structure: flexible working time to a higher level of mobility; off-site working one day a week or, on the contrary, at least one day a week at the firm!
Fiorella Crespi, director of OSW, and Mariano Corso, scientific director, presented the results of the research 2017 and underling the benefits of the smart working with a special attention on the important role of workplace as smart working driver.

The Italian Smart Workers spend 67% of their working time at the company on average, 15% of time is spent working at different positions inside the headquarters, and 13% in other branches of the company. 33% from home, coworking spaces, or customers and suppliers offices.

50% of smart workers consider themselves satisfied and declare a better capacity to work together. even in virtual teams, and a good command of Digital Soft Skills. Only 1% is not satisfied.
Reflecting the findings of the 2017 study, the meeting brought Public Administration in progress projects to the fore and emphasized some successful experiences.
And then OSW partners got on the stage, all pioneers in smart working, who provided an all-round overview of the various issues (among them Plantronics and Sedus).

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Smart Working Award 2017

The conferences ran out with the size giving ceremony of Smart Working Award 2017 and the presentation of the winner projects:
AXA Italia project “Smart working, smart life”, presented by Pascal Bérnard.
CNH Industrial project “Lavoro da Casa”, presented by Riccardo Iessi.
Costa Crociere project “Sm@rt Working Costa – Moving Forward!”, presented by Paolo Tolle.
Generali Italia project “New Ways Of Working”, presented by Simone Viola.
Hilti project “Smart Working@Hilti”, presented by Maria Vittoria Loi and Sandra Polito.
Special mention to Benetton for the project “Stretch your Time”.

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No noise and distraction wherever you work.

According to a research by Oxford Economics, employees ranked the ability to focus on work without interruptions as their top priority, with nearly 40% taking steps to mitigate noise. Plantronics a pioneer in audio and wearable technology and smart working, designed Voyager 8200 UC a business-grade headset to answer to the needs of digital nomads and smart workers.

The premium audio quality and clarity ensure an optimal experience whether you’re taking a conference call in the middle of an open office, listening to your favourite music on the train, or working in a crowded coffee shop.
Voyager 8200 UC is designed for the connected executive who needs to be in constant communication, and for employees in an open office space who find themselves facing distractions and noise.
“When a workforce is highly mobile, a business’ ability to ensure their associates can focus while collaborating becomes a top priority,” said Gavin Sear, Global Product Marketing Manager at Plantronics.
Voyager 8200 UC will be available in the U.S. near the end of July, 2017 and worldwide by early September (at Plantronics authorised partners with an MSRP of € 349 / £ 309).

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Additional Voyager 8200 UC features and benefits include:
Four “beam-forming” microphones detect and amplify the speaker’s voice, while two additional microphones detect and block environmental noise for the Voyager family’s business-grade audio experience, which ensures crystal-clear call quality in a boomless form-factor.
Enhanced voice alerts announce caller names, mute and connection status and talk-time level.
Wireless battery life offers up to 24 hours of listening time and a 3.5 mm audio cable facilitates in-flight use.
Microsoft Skype for Business certified; compatible with Cisco Jabber and other softphones.
Using Bluetooth technology, Voyager 8200 UC can pair to Windows and Mac computers, and many IP phones through Plantronics’ BT600 USB audio processor, as well pair directly to both iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Wireless range of up to 98 ft/30 m from supported Class 1 Bluetooth® devices.
Smart sensor technology detects if the headset is worn – pausing streaming media when removed, and resuming media play when the headset is put back on.

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Bespoke furniture: fashion, new aesthetics or a real need?

“Bespoke furniture” used to be for luxury environments only, executive suites or middle-class houses. Then, the “special” alteration was necessary to adapt too rigid systems to the building, or to prevent from slipping into standardization.
Still now that industrial design has accepted the concept of the design of options, the “custom-made” furniture can be found  in coworking settings and turns into “shabby mannerism”. Is it less expensive? Or does everybody want to create their own aesthetics?

The new production systems provide for maximum product customization, yet it’s not uncommon for the major bank groups to rely on the architect for the design of their desks; how can it be that none of the hundreds of products on the market could meet with their requirements?
The beskpoke “virus” also hits the smaller workplace, that aims at a domestic mood (Plantronics, Digital Entity, Clubhouse Brera, for example).
It may be less expensive, but do the standards of quality, ergonomics and strength  match the industrial products, engineered and tested in accordance with the regulations?

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Also, the coworking world is ever-expanding with its “raw design” aesthetics, made of shop tables, chairs found in the attic and the do-it-yourself trend to recycle  the wastes of a consumer society.
However, this vision is becoming a new form of standardization. Its rule-breaking spirit has gone.

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Some companies are also launching this kind of “garage spirit” furniture systems (Hack by Vitra,-up photo- Pakiet Zieta, PlayWood by OSB, Pixel by Bene – photo below) but, in my opinion raw wood and rusty iron are becoming really boring.

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Among the “shabby manierism” lovers there is Carlo Ratti that designed the desks and the mobile partitions of Talent Garden Calabiana Coworking;

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while another coworking, Cowo, created a project team to design his own “perfect desk”.
I can’t come to a conclusion, I have no answers, I’ll just wait for remarks and different opinions.
Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine

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Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

The sound of Smart Working.

Acoustics, technology and design: after the opening of their italian headquarters, in the offices in Hoofddorp (Netherlands) Plantronics experiments the efficacy of their own product in creating a smart working environment.  An opportunity for the company  “to bring to life our vision for the modern workplace”, as the president Joe Burton says.

Situated in the innovative Park 20|20 in Hoofddorp, the architecture firms William McDonough + Partners, N30 and Gensler, conceived the Dutch offices of Plantronics as an acoustic showcase that accommodates various employee work styles, in a symphony of sound layers that make possible for diverse activities to take place simultaneously with minimal disruption, including hallway meetings, pop-up brainstorms, quiet concentration, video conferences, even product testing.

Hoofddorp, 21th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

The noise management is based on the copany’s technology and research, from active acoustic management to headsets that help employees easily and comfortably work anywhere, and on the natural sound of the water:  three waterfalls act as a complementary visual aid to the audio overlay of a babbling brook that can be heard from the speakers. This allow to reduce the intelligibility of background noise, following a biophilic way of designing.


The building, as the entire park 20|20, is build following a “Cradle-to Cradle” design approach that allow to easily disassemble the building in case of need, and it is made entirely with recyclable materials. The attention to the environmental and energetical sustainability worth the  BREEAM certificate at Excellent level: from solar panels, designed to harvest at least a quarter of the building’s required energy, water systems that include greywater harvesting, filtration, cleansing, and reuse, and also carpets fabricated from recycled fishing nets.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen
Gensler has also created an exhibition space where the company’s innovation can be tested and shown in action with an interactive sound table that shows the impact sound has on people’s daily lives, and a sound chamber where visitors can learn how Plantronics analyzes the impact of sound levels to help create its headsets.
“In designing the Expo space, our aim was to integrate the Plantronics story with their technology innovations, to create a narrative and provide an informative journey through the space,” said Milena Jovovic, design director at Gensler. “A holistic and immersive experience, consistent with the overall design of the building.”
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Mats van Soolingen.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

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Home Sweet Office Home: Plantronics’ offices in Italy.

Plantronics will open on April 6th its new offices in Italy at the LEED Platinum Energy Park building -by Garretti Associati– in Vimercate, close to Milan: a 400 sqm space to experience smart-working now and into the future, where the concepts of “work elsewhere” and “work-life balance” lend greater comfort and harmonized mind-body ergonomics to the environment.

Plantronics, pioneer in Wearable technology, was one of the first firms to theorize and implement smart-working, but our work and life styles have changed a lot in the last few years.
I need an office, but I don’t want an office” Daniele Andriolo, Global Manager of Facilities and Workplace Services di Plantronics, asked to architect Daniela Carta, founder of MQA Metro Quadro Architetti and her team -Irene Pacioni and Marianna De Vivo architects. They accepted the challenge.

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The concepts in the lead just a few years ago are no longer relevant and the key words pinpoint the current trends of the creative jobs: Liquid Worklife, Café Co-Working, Pop-Up Workplace, Hacker Culture, Meetings Without Borders, fino a Fighting the Tech Fatigue and Wellness is the New Green.
The result is a non-office-office, designed as a welcoming and comfortable Great Place to Stay.


“We were fascinated with the idea of opening fluid spaces so that everyone feels right at home, welcome, thanks to a comfortable and flexible environment –quoted Ilaria Santambrogio, Country Manager Plantronics Italia– the Italian headquarter is today an open office, designed to host customers, partners, resellers, so that everyone feels at home, thanks to the comfort and flexibility of the spaces”.

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No more rooms specifically meant for concentration, communication, contemplation and collaboration, so the whole environment is suited to be lived in a free, at all times and in whatever manner.
The 80% of the office does not represent the standard office. There are spaces that can be experienced and exploited, in different way, with no fixed positions for the employees.
To encourage the conviviality and the welcoming atmosphere, the office includes several areas: an area with sit-stand desks, a kitchen area, a relaxation area with elegant couches of design and polished wood tables. A unique and innovative concept in the European and global context and not only, which allows to the Italian headquarter to improve the wellbeing of the team, encouraging greater productivity and pursuing its growth goals in the world of the headsets in more targeted manner.


Into the new offices there is not a strict division of the areas, so that employees, guests, partners, customers can experience the Smart Working space in a free way, choosing to work on the table of the kitchen, in the relaxation areas, on one of the tables , scattered in different areas, or in one of the meeting rooms.
During the planning phase, Plantronics highlighted primarily the need of ergonomics and acoustic comfort: each element is an expression of a different way, smart to work. The heigh-adjustable desks (by Sedus) can be changed from time to time.
This reflects the freedom to decide the workstation, depending on the type of activities: focusing, brainstorming, connecting to a conference call.
The whole office presents itself as an open space everywhere, with monitors in each room or blackboards glass on which to take notes during an informal meeting or during a coffee. At level of lighting design, maximum attention also to the use of natural light and use of LED 100% .


The architectural studio has used wood everywhere: in addition the use of sound-absorbing materials makes the environment already soundproofed.
In line with a sustainability choice, Plantronics has selected the Interface modular carpets, made with 100% recycled materials , it reclaims the typical pavement of the European roads.
The kitchen corner includes an authentic italian kitchen, which is also a meeting place, and point of connection thanks to the Watercooler videoconference system, an open window with the other Smart Working offices, with the purpose to favor the collaboration with the colleagues from various European Plantronics offices.
The use of natural materials and warm colors, the high acoustic comfort, the variety of furnishings of valuable finishes and the curved surfaces make the room pleasant and comfortable.
The criteria of environmental sustainability taken into consideration in the planning are most appreciated by employees and guests, whom are received in the central kitchen, where “But first… coffee!” is written in big letters.

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When the walls come down inside offices: what works and what doesn’t.

Oxford Economics in collaboration with Plantronics conducted the survey named “When the walls come down” on the effects of open workplaces on employees. The research studied what workers want from their office environments, and what managers need to do to enable the highest productivity and satisfaction from their people.
The survey supplied also good tips for the design of the new Plantronics office in Italy that will be inaugurated on April 6th.

Open-plan offices are meant to encourage collaboration and contribute to a collegial workplace culture, but they also come with serious drawbacks like noise and distraction.
The results show that threats to productivity and worker peace of mind are bigger issues than most executives realize, and most do not have the technology or strategies in place to deal with the problems.
Oxford Economics interviewed more than 1200 senior executives and non-manager employees from many industries and functional areas. These workers are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, India, China, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. The study also included detailed interviews with executives who are taking steps to deal with these business collaboration and productivity challenges in their open offices.

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Noise and distraction have a big impact on productivity,” says Edward Cone, Deputy Director of Thought Leadership and Technology Practice Lead at Oxford Economics. “These are issues that companies can address—but first they need to acknowledge the problem.”

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The key findings were:
Workers just want to work. The ability to focus without interruptions is a top priority for employees when it comes to office design; access to amenities like free food is far less important.
Smart working is a work in progress. Employees are expected to be connected to the office all the time—but only 40 percent say the devices they use at home integrate seamlessly with their work tools.
Constant connectivity breeds compulsive behavior and could lead to burnout. More than one-third of employees say they use their tech devices primarily out of habit or compulsion, fear of missing out, or social pressure.
Managers don’t see the problems. Nearly two-thirds of executives say employees are equipped with the tools they need to deal with distractions at work; less than half of employees agree.

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The report lists the following recommendations for employers, to help their employees work more productively, which is something the report says workers want to do:
Begin a dialogue with employees about what is working and what needs to change regarding office design, working remotely, and technology use.
Ensure employees have the tools and devices needed to work from anywhere
Give employees the quiet spaces, time and tools required to conduct focused work.
Encourage everyone to disconnect after hours, to find a balance between work and life.
Since employee satisfaction and productivity contribute directly to an organization’s financial success, the research concludes that a well-designed office space, integrated technology, and better work-life balance are well worth the effort.

 

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In Italy Smart Working in big corporations has doubled: #OSW16.

Smart Working is a work in progress as proved by the results coming from this most interesting meeting for the presentation of the survey 2016 by Osservatorio Smart Working of Politecnico di Milano.
It shows interesting data, shares experiences and awarded the best practices, among these the SW implementation in subito.it, winner of the Smart Working Award 2016.
WOW! is partner of Osservatorio Smart Working.

The survey 2016 shows the liveliness of a “phenomenon going now viral” in Italy, as quoted prof. Mariano Corso, scientific manager of Osservatorio Smart Working.
People ask for more flexibility , because strict rules produce a widespread frustration. 
30% of big enterprises has an organized Smart Working  activity (17% in 2015), as against just 5% in small and medium-sized enterprises, although awareness is growing, yet with some uncertainty about the introducing of Smart Working.

35% of firms are still at the experimental stage while 40% are already extending the project, and 25%  may be considered as running regularly.
However, being smart working a work in progress a constant monitoring is necessary, explained Ilaria Santambrogio of Plantronics and Alessandra Stasi of Barilla.



Also important, the definition of places; home working is carried out just on and off , corporate hubs, third spaces and coworking are growing and offices feature hybrid space layouts, focused on , desk sharing and time and place flexibility .
“Smart Working also means to create offices where people “want” go to work, quoted Lorenzo Maresca of Sedus.
According to Doxa survey, Smart Workers in Italy are about 250,000.

What about criticalities in implementing Smart Working?
The real time survey by Twitter shows that 37% points out lack of coordination and planning, 30% lack of personal maturity and discipline and only 7% worries about work intensification.
Rules and regulations are at 99% made by mature people -quoted Alessandra Stasi- featuring soft skill and a good response to unexpected occurrences –  and the remaining 1% either takes advantage or cannot handle them.
The more people are level-headed and complete the more organizational wellbeing the company will attain.

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Design and technology: 3 Red Dot Awards for Plantronics.

“We believe that functional, attractive, high-quality design is fundamental to develope products that integrate seamlessly into today’s modern lifestyles”. Darrin Caddes’s words, company’s vice president and corporate design, were confirmed by the 3 Red Dot Awards assigned to Plantronics’s products Voyager Focus UC, Voyager 5200 and BackBeat GO 3.

“A premium design helps to convey confidence and competence during a call or while listening to music; delivering comfort and ease of use that enhances the user experience”, Darrin Caddes commented on the Red Dot Awards 2016, Design Products category, assigned to Voyager Focus UC, Voyager 5200 and BackBeat GO 3.
5200 products from 57 different countries has joined the 2016’s edition of the Red Dot Awards, one of the world largest competition organized by the german Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen.
Text by Gabriele Masi.


1. Plantronics Voyager 5200. All-day comfort and long battery life, up to 7 hours talk time: these are the key concept of Voyager 5200. Designed for stability and comfort on a wide range of ear shapes and sizes, it can fit 90 percent of people.
2. Plantronics BackBeat GO 3. The vivid, high-resolution audio delivered by BackBeat GO 3 lets users go wireless without losing audio fidelity. Six-millimeter drivers in each BackBeat GO 3 earbud result in a wider sound stage and range of frequencies, delivering natural sound and perfectly balanced highs and lows.
4. Plantronics Voyager Focus UC.  Designed for enterprise workers in an open space or other loud environments, Voyager Focus UC allows to eliminate background noise on calls or during focus time, reducing in volume high frequency noises like office sounds and voices.

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The potential of live streaming.

Can the evolution of social media have an impact on the strategy of a company? Plantronics has launched an innovative campaign with the writer Rossella Canevari, one of the most popular italian Periscoper, showing the potential of live streaming in reaching new consumers.

“Since few years ago, people used to find the cutting edge technology on the office place. Nowadays the innovation starts from the consumers. The private experience needs to be shared and turn into an instrument for the company”. With these words Ilaria Santambrogio, italian country manager of Plantronics, introduced the live streaming campaign launched by the american company with Rossella Canevari as testimonial.
The italian writer and Periscope influencer has used the latest Plantronics’s technology to promote her new book “Life Refound” in a live streaming tour of significant cultural event.
Which are the most significant benefits of this new technology?
“Live streaming is something different from other form of communication. It gives an idea of authenticity and spontaneity, while it allows an immediate interaction with the public”, Rossella Canevari said. ”The choice of the testimonial needs to be based not only on the number of the followers of his community, but on their responsiveness and engagement.”
“Our products can be an instrument for this new ways of communicating”, Ilaria Santambrogio concluded. “This campaign is a test: using social media technology to advertise our technology”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Featured image by Franco Covi.

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The audience fascinated by the pianist Giulio Cassano @WOWConcert.

Round of applause for both replicas of WOW! Concert which were held on May 21 at #pianomi2016 @PianoCityMilano. The notes by Chopin and Skrjabin played by Giulio Cassano awaked the “genius loci” of the former Teatro delle Erbe, now turn into the exclusive membership Clubhouse Brera Copernico in Milan the perfect setting for the concerts.

WOW! Concert was organized by WOW! Webmagazine and sponsored by three companies focused on the issue of sound and acoustics: Caimi, Plantronics, Universal Selecta.

WOW! Concert also demonstrated how new ways of working can transform the places; not only simple workplace, but hybrid spaces for work-life balance, designed to meet and combine work and leisure, to enjoy the city and its cultural events.
Photo by CoolCLIMAX

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Can music increase the productivity?

Music can be really an help in a working environment, lowering the stress, improving concentration, giving energy and, as it was shown by different academical studies and by the experience of Plantonics and Spotify, increasing the productivity. Anyway not all the musics are suitable for the office and not all the jobs are “music-friendly”. In general the findings say that a free and personal listening should be encourage.

Since school, music in a working environment has made always turn up someone’s nose. Today, though, thanks to different studies carried out by different academic institutions, as the british University of Sheffield and the Canadian University of Windsor from the 70s, this idea has made way to different considerations.
“The effects of the music over the mood and the motivan are indisputable”, Philip Vanhoutte, EMEA Managing Director di Plantronics, recently affirmed. “That is because music shares with life the concept of a ripetitive rhythm and has the same language of the thought”, the pianist Giulio Cassano, that will open the WOW! Concert of the 21st May, added.

Music, of course, has a wide spectrum of different kinds, and not all of these are suitable for working: classical and ambient electronica music, for its constant rhythmic patterns, along with video game music and natural soundscape are perfect for repetitive kind of jobs.
Music helps to lower the stress, evoking positive sensations and, as Teresa Lesiuk of the University of Windsor demonstrates, if the employees are free to listen to it “when they want as they want”, it helps to promote the happiness in the workplace.
The jobs the music have a better impact on are the ones where a good capacity of focusing is required, as computer designer, or creative or ripetitive ones, while it can have a negative effects on roles which have to deal with people, as directors, making managers or secretaries.
Lastly it is worths to underline that lyrics, high volume and excessive guitar riffs are detrimental, but a medium volume helps also to isolate himself from a noisy working environment.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Music at the workplace: #WOWConcert @PianoCityMilano.

Music at the most elegant and exclusive coworking space in Milan thanks to WOW! Concert. The pianist Giulio Cassano, will play pieces by Chopin e Skrjabin at Clubhouse Brera, the Copernico’s membership club. A free Concert organized by WOW! Webmagazine on the occasion of Piano City Milano sponsored by Caimi Brevetti, Plantronics, Universal Selecta.

WOW!, wanted to give its contribution to the rich programme of Piano City Milano: 400 concerts, International guests expected, 50 hours non-stop of music will invade Milan and its hinterland for a whole wonderful weekend, on May 20 to 22, 2016, an actual urban soundtrack.
The notes of Piano City Milano 
will be spreading even at the most unusual times and all kinds of places: museums, parks, private apartments and also Piano Tram and Piano Boat!
Why not a Piano Office? Thanks to the hospitality of Clubhouse Brera, WOW! Concert will invade a workplace with piano songs.
WOW! Concert was made possible by three companies working in the field of acoustics and sensitive to the quality of sound, although each in its own way.
Caimi Brevetti, the Italian company producer of the innovative and multi awarded sound absorbing tecnology Snowsound.
Plantronics, multinational company headquartered in Santa Cruz, California with offices in 20 countries, producer of digital technology and the human need to communicate and high quality headsets for entertainment ad work.
Universal Selecta, Italian company producer of glass partition walls with high sound insulation performance, supplier of the partitions of the meeting rooms at Clubhouse Brera, the amazing place “Where Things Happen“.

Title: WOW! Concert, all’interno del programma di Piano City Milano 2016.
When: May 21st, 2016, 11 am and 16pm
Where: Clubhouse Brera, Foro Buonaparte 22, Milan.

Hashtag:
#WowConcert
#pianomi2016

80 numbered seats are available. Obligatory reservation at info@wow-webmagazine.com

Program WOW! Concert:
F. Chopin: 

Improvviso in la bemolle maggiore Op 29 n. 1
Ballata in sol minore Op 23
Studio in do minore Op 10 n. 12
A. Skrjabin:
Sonata-fantasia in sol diesis minore n. 2 Op 19
Studio in do diesis minore Op 24 n. 5

Giulio Cassano
Giulio Cassano was born in 1990 in Milan. He began to study piano with Andrea Nodari when he was 10 years old. In 2012 he graduated from the L. Marenzio Conservatory in Brescia, where he studied under the guidance of Lucia Pittau and Pinuccia Giarmanà.
Since he combined musical education with degree in Medicine and Surgery, he has been fascinated by the neurophysiological aspects of piano technique and the connections between structures of thought and musical forms.
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Better meetings for smarter workers: tips and rules.

Collaboration made possible by mobile and cloud technologies means you never have to miss a meeting. It’s all about working smarter, from wherever you happen to be. Now it’s time to build a better meeting. That’s why Plantronics released the free e-book “Better Meeting Blueprint”: how to build smarter communications with practical advice on how to make every meeting productive. A great guide for business decision makers and IT professionals.

We live in the “Communication Era” and everyone need to be able to communicate anywhere and anytime with anyone. But meetings can provoke trouble and frustration, as the e-book “Better Meeting Bluprint” demonstrates.
It was derived from a global research pooling more than 1000 full time employees from large companies (over 1000 staff members).The results show that meetings can be a source of stress, discomfort and frustration for employees.

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Different issues have been described.
Meeting Overload: over half of respondents spend 5 – 10 hours in meetings per week and nearly half (46%) felt that they spent too much time in meetings.
Technical Problems for remote participants:
42.5% of meetings have a remote participant present in most meetings and technical issues such as dial in doesn’t work, network issues and taking too long to join/dial in were common frustrations.
Attention Issues: Multitasking whilst on conference calls are common place with 67.2% either emailing or working on other projects.
Background Noise:
is challenging on conference calls with 52% moving to a private room to concentrate the majority of the time. 56% heard side conversations whilst on a conference call.

Philip Vanhoutte, Plantronics E and A Senior VP and Managing Director, quotes “Our research revealed some interesting findings when people are dialing into meetings, there is a lot of frustration with technical problems, background noise and attention issues.Plantronics technology enables better meetings, regardless of where the participants are and the free E-book is a great guide for business decision makers and IT professionals.”
The four chapters in the book cover the following areas:
The business of meetings: the economics that drive better meetings;
The people in meetings: the human dynamics that drive successful meetings;
The technology of meetings: the tools that drive communication, collaboration and productivity;
Next Steps and resources: tactics and tools that can help create a culture of better meetings.

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Voyager Focus UC: headset for smarter workspaces.

Designed for working people who want to eliminate background noise on calls or during focus time, Voyager Focus UC by Plantronics is the industry’s first wireless Bluetooth stereo headset with active noise-cancellation (ANC) technology designed to reduce noises and distractions in open, collaborative and remote workspaces or just to enjoy your favourite music.

Voyager Focus UC, in order to reduce the noise that is transmitted and overheard by others, was designed with three precisely-tuned microphones and noise-cancelling algorithms, providing a better audio experience on both sides of the call. The on-the-ear design allows to reduce many peculiar high frequency noises like office sounds and voices, while the low frequency sounds, like air conditioners, are reduced through the active noise-cancellation (ANC) system. The headset provides all day comfort and includes intuitive smart sensor technology, audio alerts, wideband audio and hi-fi stereo sound for a high-level calling/music experience.
The product is available online, at  249 euro (without basis), at 299 euro (with basis).
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Smart Working isn’t a fashion.

Despite a “legislative vacuum”, in Italy nearly 50% of the big companies has adopted flexibility-oriented policies (hours and work space, technological equipment, review of the office layout, changes in leadership styles). The big companies, who have started Smart Working projects have increased by 17 % (over 8% in 2014). A further 14% is getting ready for future projects and another 17% has started flexibility polices concerning special roles or requirements. Instead, just a 5% of small-sized enterprises is concerned.

Smart Working isn’t a fashion, but a cultural change requiring a long and deep evolution path. “It means to go beyond the introduction of single tools to create a result-oriented organization, based on trust, assumption of responsibilities, flexibility and collaboration” as explained by Mariano Corso, in charge of Scientific Research of Osservatorio Smart Working.
On the occasion of the conference named “Smart Working: scopriamo le carte!” at Centro Servizi of Banca Popolare di Milano, were presented the results of the study by Osservatorio Smart Working of School of Management of Politecnico di Milano (www.osservatori.net); a survey carried out on over 240 public and private organizations.

The impassioned speeches of those who told their experience prove that there is not just one formula of smart working, as Fiorella Crespi, Director of Osservatorio Smart Working explains “… it’s necessary to consider one’s specificities and try a consistence with objectives and business strategy to find balances. The subject of the middle management ‘s resistance was repeatedly broached, Philip Vanhoutte of Plantronicsauthor of Smarter Working Manifesto– declares that managers should go back school to learn the instruments of the new leadership modes.
Dynamism and Flexibility are keywords of Smart Working,
in all its possible applications, including also the need for an office layout that can be reconfigured according to the standards of the Activity-Based Office. Ergonomic and comfort-conscious spaces designed to make people want to change. Even the posture, for instance with height-adjustable desks, that have shown considerable benefits in terms of health and prevention, as quoted Ernst Holzapfel of Sedus.
71% of managers think that Coworking is also an opportunity for organized companies, owing to the time/cost reduction of the home-office commuting and the feeling of isolation given by home working. Yet, just 36% of companies considers the Coworking space as one of the possible options. For the employees, the chief barriers to the use of Coworking concern the worry about the security measures of the corporate data (58% of interviewees).
Smart Working Award
The companies in nomination for were: ABB Italia for the project “Lavoro Agile @ABB”, Banca Intesa Sanpaolo for the project “Lavoro Flessibile in Intesa Sanpaolo”, BNL – Gruppo BNP Paribas for the project “Smart Bank”, L’Oréal Italia for the project “Be Smart! Work Smart!” and Siemens for the project “Siemens Office”) the Smart Working Award 2015 the winners are: Intesa San Paolo and Siemens.

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Plantronics’ office in Paris.

The new office in Paris is the latest smarter working environment specifically designed by Plantronics for today’s office worker. The goal of the company – global leader in audio communications- is to create the most effective working environment enabling staff to be comfortable and productive.

The workplace in Paris features state of the art design and soundscaping, including a waterfall feature, allowing noise to be masked with soothing running water sounds. As with the other offices, the space includes different workspaces designed to support a range of identified working styles and activities while at work. The new office also includes a gym with equipment connected to other Plantronics offices, so workers can jog and challenge colleagues based in other countries. Also featured is a brainstorm room with walls on which workers can write, meeting rooms and a room for resting to ensuring proper relaxation at times.

“The traditional office and 9-5 workday is long gone. Today’s worker deserves the right environment and right tools to be successful,” said Philip Vanhoutte, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director E&A, Plantronics. “At Plantronics, we are proud to stay on the forefront of this movement and drive home our Smarter Working motto – to allow employees to work where and when they are most productive, cost-effective and environmentally respectful.”

“Today’s office worker is not confined by four walls and a punch-clock. -said Philippe Tessier, Marketing & Inside Sales Manager France, Plantronics– While our new office provides a large variety of spaces to Collaborate, Communicate, Concentrate and Contemplate, workers only need to come into the environment when necessary. The aim is to stimulate creativity, wellbeing and mutual respect when workers are here, not keep them at work longer.”
On the occasion of the office opening, Philip Vanhoutte’s “The Smarter Working Manifesto” co-written with Guy Clapperton, was presented in French (also currently in English, Italian, German and Spanish) and a new entry-level product of Blackwire Family was launched, too.5-smart working-Paris-wow-webmagazine
The Plantronics Blackwire family.
The Plantronics Blackwire family delivers outstanding UC audio quality and reliability, with price points to meet any budget and features sets that increase as you go up the line. Announced today is the new entry-level Blackwire 315/325 corded USB headsets which are easy to use, simple to deploy, and offer the choice of USB or 3.5mm connectivity. Also included in the family is the recently announced top-of-the-line Blackwire 725, a premium USB headset that features Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology, which combined with an immersive design helps block out distractive background noise in work environments. 

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Noise is an obstacle to working perfomance.

The noise in the office in a serious problem. A research commissioned by Plantronics in the UK, France and Germany, revealed that office noise has an adverse effect on office workers and the quality of their work (UK 89.9%; Germany 96.5%; France 93.5%). The findings highlight also the growing difficulty for office environments to keep noise distractions at bay and for employees to focus on work.

Today’s office environments are showing serious noise challenges for individuals and their colleagues, undermining productivity gains. On a survey of more than 1000 companies per country with more then 250 workers, the majority of the employees listed decreased productivity as a common effect of noise and believe they would be a lot more productive in a less noisy environment (UK 54.1%; Germany 65.1%; France 65.5%). An oversight of noise at work issues could potentially cost a UK organization nearly £15,000 per year in lost productivity per senior manager employed. Disruptive noise in an open office environment can manifest itself into stress and physical ailments, such as headaches and migraines, and both were listed amongst chief complaints across all countries. Three quarters of workers in all regions reported that their company has taken no action to address their noise issues or the actions have failed.

The smart working’s noise pollution.
The dynamics of the office workplace are constantly evolving.
As flexible working grows in popularity, office design has also radically changed with open plan office environments becoming the norm and less people working from a traditional fixed desk. This new way of work can create serious acoustic difficulties without the correct soundscaping measures. As a result, office workers in Germany, UK and France all listed noisy colleagues as the biggest noise complaint in their office environment.
“Acoustics play a huge role in the contentment and productivity of a workforce,” says Philip Vanhoutte, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Europe and Africa, Plantronics. “In today’s environment, it is extremely important for companies to understand how sound affects its bottom line and to take appropriate action to soundscape their workplace. We are passionate about ensuring workers have the right solutions necessary for a high-quality communication experience. No matter if work is being done in an traditional open plan office, an airport, coffee shop or at home.”

Plantronic’s headset solutions for noisy environments.
Survey results showed the truth of the matter with telephone calls unanimously coming in as the toughest task to complete in a noisy environment.
Plantronics tried to answer to this problem with four new products.
These new offerings are comprised of the Blackwire 725, the company’s first UC stereo headset with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) for those people who want to stay focused in noisy office environments; the Voyager Edge UC, the latest product in the Voyager family of Bluetooth headsets aimed at workers constantly on the road; the Calisto 610, a portable speakerphone for instant anywhere conferencing, and the Clarity 340, designed for those who face vision, hearing, or dexterity challenges.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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Acoustic Intelligence: Smarter Customer Interaction.

In today’s Contact Center, the calls are more complex, making each and every communication between the customer and the customer interactions associate crucial as it can either strengthen or weaken an organization’s brand: companies become “customer-centric”. To create positive customer experiences and a collaborative way of working, Plantronics designed new solutions focused on a Smarter Customer Interaction.

To Enable Smarter Customer Interactions, Plantronics created the new headset series EncorePro 500, specifically designed to create positive customer experiences.
“With the rise of social media, smartphones and self-service, customer interactions are now in the public domain. Engaged and prepared customer interaction associates are vital to making every dialogue matter and end in a positive resolution,” said Philip Vanhoutte, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Europe & Africa, Plantronics. “With our new portfolio, organizations will immediately see the value of Plantronics professional audio instruments and their acoustic intelligence, which enables operations to be more effective, not to mention creating a positive experience for both the customer interactions associate and the customer.”

The Plantronics EncorePro® 500 headset series ushers in a new generation of ergonomic headsets for customer interactions that deliver greater comfort for all-day wearing, superior noise cancelling for clearer calls, and increased reliability to help manage costs. In addition, the company announced their next-generation USB audio processors for Plantronics headsets that allows for a more complete audio experience by providing contextual information that contact centre managers can leverage to improve their customer interactions operations.
The family includes dedicated over-the-head (EncorePro 510 and 520), over-the-ear (EncorePro 530) and convertible models (EncorePro 540), the latter unique in its simple design and high-performance audio no matter what the preferred wearing style. All models support wideband audio.