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A brief history of the headset

The humble headset has enjoyed a rise to prominence that has seen it become a widely used piece of technology in many workplaces across the world. It is now regarded by many as being a commodity that a substantial number now take for granted.

A headset

It is all a far cry from the early days of such technology. The first headset was created in 1910 by Nathaniel Baldwin, a student at Stanford University, who after repeatedly attempting to find a backer to finance his new invention, sold around 100 models to the US Army.

The enthusiasm shown by American pilots for headsets in these early days is one of the key reasons they became so popular with leading figures in the aviation industry.

By the 1960s, headsets had become lighter, with pilots becoming increasingly keen on using a more lightweight model while flying.

The decade was also a time that saw perhaps the most defining moment in the headset's history - the advent of the telephone.

Among the first workers to use headsets were Bell System’s system board machinists, who often complained of feeling lethargic due to having to use uneasy, weighty headsets. The job became so uncomfortable that many workers were forced to undergo exercises aimed at strengthening their neck to handle the demands of the position.

Subsequently, headsets were made to be more lightweight, creating a more comfortable environment for workers, many of whom were soon demanding a model that would sit around the ears rather than over the head. A large number of these designs are still in use in call centres today.

The arrival of the 1990s saw the rise of mobile phones, which gradually led to the development of hands-free technology, allowing users to enjoy the benefits of a headset while on the move.

It was this event that aided the development of Bluetooth technology, which would eventually see hands-free headsets become wireless as well.

Nowadays, headsets continue to bring a great level of technological innovation to a variety of workplaces the world over.. Mobile headsets, many of which use Bluetooth for connectivity, have coincided with a more mobile working environment. The rising use of trends such as bring-your-device (BYOD) have helped employees take the office with them wherever they go.

However, that's not to say that the advancing technology of headsets isn't continuing to have an impact on the in-office environment.

One of the latest innovations has been the rise of noise cancelling technology. The agent 200 is a great example, as it features a microphone capable of filtering out any of the excess noise that one might expect from a bustling call centre or customer service environment.

This feature helps the user to have a more natural conversation, thereby allowing them to provide a better service to customers.

Advances such as these look to be a sign of things to come for the headset, which has arguably now reached its limit in terms of size reduction. The clunky designs of the past have given way to increasingly sleek, more futuristic models.

It means that many manufacturers may have to dig deeper in order to find the next big idea, but judging on the headset's rich history, there are plenty of reasons to be excited.

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