A survey of senior IT executives by Virgin Media Business has today revealed that almost two thirds of CIOs believe that the desk telephone is the most likely office technology to become obsolete within the next five years. Russell Lux, Commercial Director of managed telephony services provider teliqo, believes that it is fundamental changes in business culture that will be key to determining the fate of the humble handset.
Lux believes the suggestion that the desk phone will quickly become an irrelevance in the face of the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets misses the point: “It is certainly true that remote working and Bring Your Own Device schemes are making it much easier for employees to work productively in or out of the office using their mobile devices. But when it comes to the future of the office phones, this tells only half the story.”
“Businesses will continue to rely on desk phone services to present a consistent and professional corporate identity to clients, and to protect employee privacy, by displaying only ‘company’ numbers rather than private contact details from a personal mobile device. Where corporate telephony will have to evolve – and fast – is in integrating desk and mobile services so that organisations can extend their office and ensure their employees can be easily ‘in when out’,” Lux continued.
“Time may be running out for the traditional physical desk phone, but employees will continue to have a desk line in the guise of a soft phone – and rapid advances in the underlying technology will ensure they are provided with a feature set above and beyond what their old landlines were capable of.”
Lux suggests that, in this updated form, the work desk phone will still have an important role to play in helping organisations address the challenges posed by clients’ escalating expectations: “With many workforces becoming increasingly mobile, and with clients increasingly expecting organisations to be constantly available, making work phones accessible – to both make and receive calls – on those devices will be crucial to maximising employee productivity and operational efficiency,” he concluded.