Gigaset is not a well-known brand name among consumers in the Americas, but the company is working on changing that through a combination of social media outreach and Hollywood product placement deals. It will also continue to promote new technologies such as a DECT (News - Alert) clip phone and firmware support for analog HD voice in its line of IP phones.
Trying to catch the eye of the “typical” consumer is a tough job due such factors as the fall of print and declining effectiveness of traditional television ad spots. In Europe, Gigaset built a campaign around a talking bird on Facebook (News - Alert). Users were able to "Talk to the Bird" live via two-way videoconference and ask the Gigaset spokesbird a question. The spokesbird then "replied" in real time (with human technical assistance) in some cute fashion either with a sound bite or word picture.
Gigaset’s spokesbird is the focus of a number of YouTube spots featuring the company’s new L410 hands free clip phone. Currently shipping in Germany and coming to the States real soon, the small device (79 x 36 x20 millimeters, 36 grams) has been specifically designed for hands-free simplicity when doing work around the house or in other situations where you need to be a phone call and need both hands.
A single push on the flat front of the "wearable speakerphone" answers the phone and another push hangs it up; you can also do a single click pickup of a call on another DECT-GAP phone. The microphone has been engineered to pick up a “bubble” of sound from the wearer when worn on the hip or shirt. Gigaset is offering the phone as a stand-alone device and also offers it in a bundle with the C610 handset.
Speaking of Hollywood tie-ins, "Star Trek" actress Marina Sirtis was talking up the L410 at Fedcon XX -- the German version of ComicCon. If you are a Trekkie, you can guess what device the L410 was compared with, due to its shirt clip on and one-touch answering.
You'll start to see more Gigaset appearances in television shows going forward. The company's handsets and products have already appeared on "The Talk" talkshow and "Weeds," with upcoming appearances scheduled for "True Blood," "White Collar," "The Price is Right," "Rizolli & Isles," "CSI:NY," "Bones," "Harry's Law," "Big Bang (News - Alert) Theory," "Two and a Half Men," and "Dexter." Movie product placements are also in the works, but such deals take time (and plenty of cash) to work out.
While I like the idea of Gigaset getting more aggressive in brand awareness, I love the fact that Gigaset's IP phones can be firmware upgraded to support analog HD voice. Tony Stankus, these days Product & Marketing Director for Gigaset USA, said any Gigaset IP phone with an Ethernet interface could get a firmware upgrade to support analog 7 kHz through the FXO port, but the emphasis would be on phones such as the C610 and newer models.
Enabling analog 7 kHz means you can take a Gigaset IP phone -- well, more importantly, the DECT base station, so you get cordless functionality -- plug it into a cable MTA box that supports 7 kHz and G.722, and you get a phone that supports analog HD voice with existing cable hardware. Two firmware upgrades -- one for the cable gear for the Intel Puma 5 chipset so support G.722 and 7 kHz out of the FXO ports, one for the Gigaset hardware -- and you have an end-to-end cordless HD voice solution for the home. There's some buzz this configuration is already being demonstrated/tested out at a CableLabs event this week with Arris (News - Alert) hardware, but I haven't been able to get confirmation.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.
Doug Mohney is a contributing editor for TMCnet and a 20-year veteran of the ICT space. To read more of his articles, please visit columnist page.
Edited by Stefanie Mosca