Wednesday, 19 March 2014

IBM Sametime Unified Telephony and USB Headsets - SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW

So I've been a big fan of IBM's Voice-over-IP ( VoIP ) solution, Sametime Unified Telephony, especially given that I have little/no mobile coverage where I live. One of the (few) downsides of living in the UK countryside is the lack of decent communications infrastructure, either broadband (ADSL) or mobile (GSM/3G).

Normally, I use a cheap ( ~£25 ) USB-connected headset - HP Premium Digital Headset - purchased from my local supermarket, of all places :-)

However, given that I've been using a Plantronics Voyager USB headset with my iPhone and iPad, I wanted to see whether I could also use it with Sametime on the Mac.

So I hooked the headset up via Bluetooth, and made a call via SUT.

Now this is the weird bit - the call went through but the voice of the person to whom I was calling ( actually it was the AT&T teleconference service ) was running at about 25% of normal speed :-(

It was like the person to whom I was speaking ( actually a recorded announcer ) was speaking through treacle :-)

I tried a different headset - from a company called 7dayshop, bought from Amazon for about £15 !! - and got precisely the same symptom.

Thankfully, having posted the issue on an internal discussion forum, via IBM Connections, one of my correspondents suggested that the problem MIGHT be the Mac's Bluetooth stack.

He further suggested that I use the little Bluetooth adapter that comes with the Plantronics headset, the BT300, instead of the built-in OS X Bluetooth stack.

This I did, and ( going against my own make-a-change, test-a-change methodology ), also installed the Plantronics Spokes Software v2.1 for IBM Sametime as well: -

Quelle surprise, my colleague was absolutely right - the audio quality via SUT over Bluetooth via the BT300 is nice-as-pie, and the Spokes software gives me some nice additional features, which is a nice double bonus.

Bottom line, if you want to use VOIP via Bluetooth, definitely look at a dedicated Bluetooth adapter ….

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