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Tripath is also looking for a fiber-optics IC design engineer with a BSEE and experience simulating and implementing analog IC designs, and Sonet and Gigabit Ethernet standards and circuits.

FTR-123-51-S-D_Datasheet PDF

Tripath is also looking for a fiber-optics IC design engineer with a BSEE and experience simulating and implementing analog IC designs, and Sonet and Gigabit Ethernet standards and circuits.

Distribution

Paying attention to the distribution of headsets is a good way to keep tabs on what's out there and what headsets cost. The Web is making it easier to learn about headsets and related products and serves as a vehicle for ordering them. Most companies place a large initial order, which proves more economical than ordering a few headsets at a time.

FTR-123-51-S-D_Datasheet PDF

There are a few distributors, such as TRI, that sell headsets in small numbers and without limits. Other distributors include Ziehl Associates (Elmont, NY; 516-437-1300/800-654-1066) and Ahern Communications (Quincy, MA; 617-471-1100/800-451-5067). Communitech's Web site allows for electronic order fulfillment through a customized Web page tailored to each of its call center customers. Neal Shact says this eases order placement, including agreement terms and expense issues, because it allows you to place multiple orders while cutting down on the processing time and costs – something that benefits everyone.

VXI

VXI sent us a VXI Tuffset 10 and Tuffset 20 headset, VXI's basic monaural and binaural headsets with adjustable wire frame foam pads and flexible booms that could be worn on either side of the head. The oversized foam ear pads fit comfortably on the ears, although the even distribution of weight on our heads with the binaural unit felt more natural. (These sell for $92 and $112, respectively). Both of these headsets plugged directly into the VXI Tuffset Blazer amplifier, which contained a simple headset/handset switch, a volume dial and a button that muted sound.

FTR-123-51-S-D_Datasheet PDF

We had to adjust the settings on the base of the Blazer amplifier to match our phone. The Blazer didn't need batteries, but took power from the phone line. You can purchase the Blazer for $120. Other amps offered by VXI include the Versa ($101), which is similar to the Blazer but is battery-powered, as well as the Carbon unit that fits different types of carbon phone systems (the three Carbon amplifiers range from $90 to $110). VXI also offers the Console ($120), a dual plug prong connector with a training jack for supervisor monitoring, adjustable sound and volume, and a clickless mute switch on the front. All of the VXI headsets work with all of the amplifiers that it offers.

VXI also sent us a Tuffset 36 over-the-ear headset that clipped to the back of our ear and provided clear sound. There is a swiveling boom on a wire that you can adjust to either side of your face. The over-the-ear headset was lightweight and compact, but less comfortable than the others. It costs $98. All the headsets came with quick disconnect cords that allowed us to detach the headsets from the amplifier while leaving the caller on the line.

FTR-123-51-S-D_Datasheet PDF

Starkey Laboratories: Custom Ear Pieces

Starkey (Eden Prarie, MN) entered the headset field a few years ago by making custom ear molds for Plantronics' hearing aids. Soon, the company adapted its custom ear pieces for headsets. The Starkey custom fitted EarSet headset comes with a series of lucite ear pieces that mold to your ear from impressions taken by Starkey. With over-the-head headsets, the pads get warm, and agents complain about the feeling on their head,” says Starkey's David Olsen. A custom fitted ear piece insures that agents are more comfortable.” He adds that call centers with lower turnover tend to use these types of headsets.

Mentor and Quickturn have been engaged in patent infringement lawsuits for years, and as a result, Mentor's SimExpress emulator was banned from U.S. markets several years ago. SimExpress was a product of Meta Systems, a French company that Mentor acquired and that now operates as an independent subsidiary.

But SimExpress, and Meta's more recent Celaro emulator, are being sold in European and Japanese markets, and Mentor is investigating the legality of remote access to foreign-based emulators by Internet. Also, Rhines said, Mentor will introduce new emulation products in the United States as soon as the legal situation with Quickturn is resolved.

Our [emulation] business over the past five years has grown at almost 100 percent per year without ever selling in the U.S.,” Rhines said. We are clearly number one in non-U.S. sales, which includes Japan, Korea, Canada and Europe.”

They're doing great,” confirmed Gary Smith, chief EDA analyst at Dataquest. Smith said that Mentor is the number-two vendor in Dataquest's design-team emulation and acceleration” category, and it's number three in overall emulation and acceleration, with 17.4 percent market share. Smith said Mentor's emulation revenues showed 100.8 percent growth in 1999 to total $31.3 million.

Chris Tice, corporate vice-president and general manager at Quickturn, acknowledged that Mentor has had some strong growth in Japan with a few key customers.” But in Europe, he said, Mentor hasn't been as strong as Quickturn would have expected, given that Europe is Meta's home turf.

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