PBX Vendor SpliceCom has taken issue with some of the findings in a recent Gartner Group press release relating to IP Screen Phones.
Research house Gartner have predicted a “needless” spend of $5bn by EMEA businesses alone on screen based IP phones between 2005 and 2010. Gartner’s Managing VP, Bob Hafner, believes that money saved through the purchase of lower-cost IP Phones can be used on Universal Communication (UC) applications, which Gartner argues are far more productive than the screen of an IP phone and of a comparable cost.
Having commenced shipment of the worlds first “keyless” IP Phone, PCS 400, which utilises a full-colour, 640 x 480 pixel, VGA touch screen for all telephony and UC tasks in early 2003, it’s an area in which UK based SpliceCom has experience in depth. “The Gartner Group appears to view this particular hot topic in black and white,” says SpliceCom’s CEO/Managing Director Sean Harding, “whereas, in reality, it’s actually in full colour! An IP screen phone is a “sealed unit” providing valuable real estate on which business critical information and applications – and only business critical information and applications – can be displayed. The PC is a multi-purpose business tool, with a desktop that will dynamically change in-line with the tasks or applications that are being used on it at any particular time. To give just two examples, Walters Microsystems link their operator’s IP Screen Phone to a web cam which gives a view of their unattended reception area, whilst Sir William Perkins’s School use one in the staff room to display the voicemail status of all their teaching staff. We ourselves push our updated month to date sales figures to the IP Screen Phones of all our employees at the end of each day.”
SpliceCom provide their customers with the choice to decide what’s right for their business, where they want to run their converged applications; on a screen phone or on the PC. In addition to the ability to view more directory entries, missed call list and last numbers dialled then ever before, their top of the range PCS 400 delivers “out-of-the-box” convergence with any web-based content. From a simple HTML text page to web enabled applications, from information held on the World Wide Web or Intranet, to images from web cams or IP Video Servers. “If it can be viewed through a standard web browser it can be “pushed” to the screen of the PCS 400. Gartner seem to have overlooked the fact that not all IP screen phones are created equal,” states Harding.
SpliceCom have also “un-bundled” the application running on the PCS 400 allowing it to provide identical functionality when running as an IP Softphone or a “Phone Partner” to SpliceCom’s PCS 100 IP System Phone on Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X or Linux PCs. This application, which SpliceCom call PCS 50, can also be used to deliver exactly the same benefits when used in conjunction with SpliceCom’s PCS 10 and PCS 5 analogue phones, or any existing analogue phones the customer might already be using.
“Gartner would have everyone running all aspects of UC on the PC,” states Harding. “Our findings, based on nearly four years of real implementations to businesses of all sizes, shows that when the information that needs to be displayed is important, it needs to be shown in isolation rather than fighting to be seen on an already crowded screen. Using an IP Screen Phone for this task offers both convenience and control when compared to a PC, which will invariably be in use for another task. It’s rather like a calculator. Every PC is supplied with this application, yet most people still choose to use a conventional calculator to save them opening up yet another window on their desktop.”
“Ironically we developed maximiser, our IP PBX, with the needs of what Gartner termed The Real Time Enterprise in mind,’ continues Harding. ‘We believe that by giving our customers’ the means to deliver the right information, to the right people, at the right time, through web-based technologies, we are equipping them with the business tools needed to increase their competitiveness by enhancing the efficiency of their business processes. By providing these facilities on IP Screen Phones and PCs, totally independent of telephone type and computer operating system, in addition to LAN infrastructure, network service delivery and company type, size and geography, we are delivering true customer choice,” concludes Harding.