Two years ago, I came across a survey where more than half of the respondents - mostly CIOs - predicted that desk phones would disappear within the next five years. These sentiments were likely due to them foreseeing an environment where BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and mobility trends would dominate. However, two years into the five, desk phones continue to play a critical role in office communications today, with its importance furthered by the rise in unified communications.
The rise of unified communications
According to Gartner, the market demand for unified communications (UC) is strong and is set to grow to $8 billion by 2016. UC is the convergence of multiple communication tools - such as IP (Internet Protocol) telephony, e-mails, SMS, video conferencing, teleconferencing, and instant messaging among others - onto a single platform. UC has been continuously reshaped through new technologies that are also helping enterprises manage the growing number of communication channels.
UC offers several significant benefits such as enhanced response times for businesses as it allows employees to have 24/7 access to various channels of communications. UC also allows for greater digital collaboration across geographies and supports a mobile work environment, with employees being able to transition seamlessly between devices and communication platforms.
Why the desk phone remains relevant to the UC ecosystem
In a world dominated by mobile technologies, the value of the desk phone lies in its importance to a well-functioning communications ecosystem. Desk phones are more than just a reliable means of communication; they are now multi-functional and offer new features that contribute to a mobile work environment.
Features that are keeping the desk phone relevant include audio that makes call participants sound like they are seated in the same room, whether they are heard through a handset or in a hands-free mode. User friendly navigation along with integrated alphabetic keyboards, dedicated function keys and backlit displays make reaching contacts even easier.
IT benefits from the new desk phones being deployed because of the security features now being offered to protect information and the flexibility in types of installations ranging from meeting room placements to reception desks and wall mounts.
Moreover, looking at the bigger picture, decision makers must take into consideration the total cost of ownership (TCO) of handheld mobile devices compared to desk phones. To facilitate communication using mobile devices, companies need to invest in items such as headsets, network readiness, and provide ample back-end support. Often, the TCO of a desk phone can be comparatively less than a mobile device as a result of the latest advances made in this space.
The most desirable desk phones are now integrated with Bluetooth technology enabling hands-free technology, such as wireless handsets and headsets, providing flexibility and mobility within the office.
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