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Are deskphones dead in the enterprise setting?

Zafirah Salim | July 23, 2014
Jan Zuurbier, head of Global Sales at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, discusses how the evolving enterprise infrastructure accommodates the mobile landscape, and why deskphones are still of relevance in the corporate world.

While many organisations have yet to harness the full power or potential of advanced communications, employees are already jumping ahead and asking: What's next? Why can't I use my smart device for work?

The BYOD phenomenon is part of this role reversal that reveals a future where employees professional lives are mirrored by their consumption habits. As a result, they are driving the era of the Personal Cloud, or the new PC Era.

Can you elaborate on how unified communications is seen as the turning point of the user experience in enterprise communication?

With rapid advancements in technology, users today have a wider variety of communication channels. Additionally, with rising numbers of employees bringing their smartphones and tablets into the workplace, using personal devices for work has become an inevitable trend.

While an increase in the variety of communication platforms is to be celebrated, businesses have to deal with increased costs of ownership (TCO) that are tied to the  multiple communication devices that employees now have access to. This is where Unified Communications (UC) comes into play, helping enterprises optimise their varied communications infrastructure. UC is more than the convergence of multiple communication tools such as Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, e-mails, SMS, video conferencing, and instant messaging, among others onto a single platform. It brings real business value with its ability to promote collaboration within the business.

A recent report by IDC indicated that Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) in the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will surge to US$659 million in 2018, at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 89 percent as UCaaS service providers ramp up their sales and marketing campaigns surrounding this service.

For instance, a user will be able to bring a call instantaneously from a mobile phone to a deskphone when he or she steps into the office to enjoy better call quality and reliability. Technologies such as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's OpenTouch solutions provide the 'glue' which ties the disparate communication channels together to make this rapid session shift possible. Such new possibilities in the user experience were previously unachievable, but with the power of UC, it is now made possible - this is why it is referred to as the turning point of the user experience in enterprise communications.

How does a comparatively lower total cost of ownership (TCO) keep the deskphone in competition with its mobile counterparts? And what are some other factors that can give the deskphone a competitive advantage?

The perception that BYOD will guarantee cost-saving in the medium to long-term future may not necessarily be true of every business. A 2012 Aberdeen study found that a company with 1,000 mobile devices spends an extra $170,000 per year on average, when a BYOD approach is adopted.

 

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