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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.

With BYOD, businesses will have to be prepared to channel investment into administrative and financial processes such as expense reporting, optimisation of billing and mobile device management, which costs about an additional $24 an employee per month. If a business is not prepared for this extra cost, a deskphone deployment would provide for a more viable option.

What makes the deskphone still an indispensable entity in the enterprise infrastructure? What are some of its features that supersede mobile devices like smartphones and tablets?

The value of the deskphone lies in its importance to a well-functioning communications ecosystem. Deskphones 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 deskphone 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 deskphones 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 TCO of handheld mobile devices compared to deskphones. 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 deskphone can be comparatively less than a mobile device as a result of the latest advances made in this space.

Deskphones today are also now integrated with Bluetooth technology enabling hands-free technology, such as wireless handsets and headsets, providing flexibility and mobility within the office.

A 2011 Broadsoft report revealed that bigger businesses are more likely to trade in deskphones for mobile phones. Do you agree that smaller companies are less susceptible to this mobile trend; and do you expect the trend to change anytime soon?

While BYOD presents benefits such as increased productivity, not all large businesses are quick to jump the gun in going fully mobile. There are numerous costs and considerations associated with BYOD, such as the implementation of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, the development of BYOD policy development and program management, the upgrading of the IT department and resources, as well as the training of employees.

Additionally, a majority of worldwide office workers are desk-bound; this means that converting to a completely mobile solution may not be a practical solution. We are however, seeing many enterprises adopt a hybrid approach in deploying both mobile and desktop devices. Either way, it seems that deskphones are not going away anytime soon and will continue to constitute a crucial component in the enterprise communications ecosystem. And far often than not, the quality of a call on a deskphone still exceeds that of a mobile phone.


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