02-Mar-2015

A tech executive I know was fond of saying "technology is successful when it is invisible."

Most users don’t think much about their deskphones.  They just use them. The deskphone is so maligned in some circles, its demise seems imminent. Let’s consider the alternatives.

The Smartphone

I’m a nomophobic; I am truly addicted to my mobile.  I admit it; I am one of the 66% of Americans who sleep with my smartphone.  It is not just a device, but a way of life for me.  I remind my husband to pick up a birthday card; I have an app that tells me what my nanny fed my kids for lunch.  I keep up with old friends on Facebook.  Almost every morning I look at my phone before peeling back the covers to check the weather and peak at work email.  The one thing I almost never do with it is make a call.  The sound quality and comfort are good enough for a five minute chat, but it’s not ideal for anything more, even when the cellular coverage is good.

The Softphone

As a virtual office employee, I’m a softphone user and fan. My peers however don’t share my enthusiasm for my softphone. I have more than adequate bandwidth and my audio is consistently good, but every conversation has at least two parties, and my softphone conversations are often interrupted with, “You’re on a softphone aren’t you?”  It’s clear from the tone of the question that it is not an endorsement of my communication device. And of course, unless the softphone app is running, there are no calls.  Though I sometimes see this is as a blessing.

Visual Conversations - more than video

Visual communications has many advantages over a traditional desk phone. As a remote employee working from home, I may not always be well ‘suited’ to be on a videoconference.  But visual conversation is not only about video; it’s about multi-sensory interactions. It is more immersive and effective for participants who are not in the same room and enables more collaborative conversations.  Many have leveraged web-based screen sharing like WebEx or OpenTouch Conference, but these same capabilities to integrate video and visual sharing, the web, and high-definition audio are capabilities of a new generation of IP desk phones. Not every employee needs such a complete toolset on their desk, but it will improve communication-enabled business processes for many.

So how do you make communication options invisible?

Conversation is a core business function. Users need to be able to use the device that best suits the moment, location and circumstance. There is good reason the desk phone is still a top communication tool – because it remains the invisible technology.  When was the last time you heard someone explain “Oh sorry, I’m on my desk phone?”.  Hear more viewpoints at Enterprise Connect including Deskphones: Going, Going, But Never Gone? on  Monday, March 16 10:00am - 10:45am in Sun B.  If you still need your conference pass save $500 on registration with code "ALCATEL".

Tags - Digital Collaboration, Business Telephony

invisible deskphone
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Jem Janik

Jem Janik

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