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Tip: Use the Polycom CX300/ Plantronics P540 USB Handset With Your Favorite IP PBX


An alert reader brought my attention to the fact that the Polycom CX300/Plantronics P540 can be used used with Counterpath's Bria softphone as a USB/PC/Softphone combination. You get both the benefits of a softphone (tight pc integration like click to dial) with the ability to just pick-up a phone call. Very interesting.

Below are comments:
I am not using the unit in combination with OCS but with Bria from Counterpath. In Bria all buttons are functional and the device is a good alternative to a hardphone. I use it in combination with an open-source SIP server.

Also, consider replacing the Polycom CX300 by Plantronics P540 because the Plantronics does Echo Cancellation, the Polycom relies on software to do it. I understood from Counterpath that the equal Plantronics P540, running firmware 01.10.6.12 has no echo problems.
One of the problems with a hardware based-phone is that it is still a bit hard to interact with the desk phone from your PC. Too hard/complex in my opinion. For example click to dial and smoothly discovering phone features (phone system and phone handset features). I think something like the Plantronics P540 combined with Counterpath's Bria may help to improve this. But the problem of a rebooting PC making the phone inoperable still exists.

I think perhaps the best solution would be a computer based "desk phone helper" application that brings a layer that makes the desk phone & phone system easier to use. Also, with this method the deskphone keeps working if there is no PC running--it just looses a layer of ease of use.

We are currently working on a desk phone helper application for snom phones that makes finding and using a lot of the cool features in your IP phone system easier for all users. For example: with snom ONE IP PBX to transfer a call to another extension's voicemail you need to dial on the phone, then prefix the extension the call is headed to with <8>, then dial the extension # and finally hit . With our helper application this becomes: select extension call is going to and click . This is much easier, requires no manual to figure out the star code and ANY user from day one can remember how to do it. This is just one example: most IP PBX's have a lot of star codes combinations you need to remember that no normal phone user can remember. This project is currently a research project but if you have interest your welcome to email us. (click on contact above)



Below is my quick video review of the Polycom CX300/Plantronics P540 I did a while back:
 

Do you think phone handset makers need to do better at making phone system features discoverable? I'd like to hear you input!

2 comments:

  1. In response to an email I will answer some questions:

    #1-Does the phone interface directly with Bria, not requiring any additional software or a PBX supporting it? Answer=Yes. Basically the plantronics will "control" the bria. If you SIP trunk works with Bria, it will work with this setup.

    #2-Is Bria able to map the answer/hang-up function of the handset? Answer=Thats what our alert reader indicated. Note that I did not test it.

    #3-Is a user able to dial directly from the phone, or must they still dial from the software? I have tried some other USB phones, and not been able to have the buttons map properly to the Bria interface. Answer=The alert reader indicated that you can dial from the plantronics/polycom device. this is how it is for Lync/OCS.

    Thanks for your question.

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  2. This article it totally worthless. There is nothing of value contained here.

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