No matter where you go these days, headsets are ubiquitous. Everybody walking down the street or, for that matter, driving a car has on a headset. Most of the time they are using the headset to listen to music or watch a video, but increasingly the headset is now an integral component of the smartphone experience.
The degree to which this is healthy is debatable, but it's certainly about to become more prevalent inside and outside the office. Outside the office the use cases are obvious, but inside the office it's becoming increasingly difficult to balance multiple modes of communications. There's the office phone, mobile phone and any number of Web services such as Skype that turn your PC or tablet into a video phone.
What's needed, of course, are headsets that make it easier to switch between all these various forms of content. The headsets capable of doing this already exist, but it's only recently that they have begun to approach a price point that is affordable for most all. For example, Plantronics has a $99 Voyager Pro series of headsets that uses multipoint Bluetooth wireless technologies to allow you to switch between, for example, your smartphone and PC with the touch of a button.
Lars Ahntholz, product marketing manager for Plantronics, says it's becoming more socially acceptable to wear headsets both inside and outside the office as the devices themselves become smaller and the number of states that have hands-free driving laws increases.
That may all be true, but it has some interesting implications for how we all interact with others in an age where the lines between work and play are blurring beyond recognition. In fact, the way things are heading, most people will spend far more time communicating with people remotely than anybody that's actually within range of their voice.
You might also have to start assuming that the person you're looking at is engaged in an activity that may not be readily apparent, which means when you want to talk to them, you will most likely be interrupting them. It may be hard for older folks to accept these new social conventions that many see are being driven primarily by so-called "millennials." But it's too late to turn back the clock.
It'll be interesting to see the impact these digital accessories not only have on the future of fashion, but also the way we all wind up interacting with one another.