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Tried, true and constantly renewed: how your desk phone anchors the office

In life, only three things are constant: death, taxes and the humble desktop phone. Yet today, many question the utility of tying a communications tool to a desk in an ever-increasingly mobile world. They needn’t ponder. The desktop phone remains an essential part of the office even as communication standards shift towards an environment focused on unifying communications across devices and services.

For many, thinking about desktop phones as a part of a larger ecosystem is new, even if the technology has been around for a while. This is largely because two critical myths paint desk phones as grey slabs of plastic on a desk, even if they’re vibrant in use. Let’s dispel those myths now:

Myth 1: Desktop phones are easily replaced by mobile phones.

The desktop phone will remain essential for a variety of reasons and many of them are practical. For one, cellular reception can be spotty and unreliable, even in the most densely populated cities. For another, businesses, like restaurants, need a dedicated system shared by many users to take orders and arrange events. Additionally, some employees prefer using office phones over their own mobile devices to establish a distinct work-life balance. Finally, there’s the simple reliability of having a phone wired and ready for communication.

Still, thinking of the desktop phone as a singular device misses a larger point about modern communications. Today, we use an ecosystem of devices and services to talk and coordinate with one another in personal and professional capacities. The modern desktop phone, often connected to a cloud-based communications platform, serves as an anchor for workers jumping between chat systems, mobile phones, email, and more. It works with other communications devices and services — not independent of them.

Myth 2: Desktop phones lack functionality beyond phone calls and voicemail.

IP phones can scale with business growth and technological progress, incorporating the best new communication applications as they’re perfected. We can thank the extensible nature of cloud-based communications platforms. This also means that IP phones work with other forms of communication, like desktop clients and smartphones. This ability to interact with other devices helps ensure messages and conversations reach their intended destination, even if employees aren’t sitting at their desks.

For example, desktop units can enable call forwarding to mobile phones, call recording, voicemail to email, and more. Additionally, IP phone units can help synchronize employee information with features like voicemail forwarding and contact updates. With advanced features like CallScape, users can even use their computers to place calls, see the presence information of other users and manage most aspects of their calls without even touching their phone. This ability to integrate with other technologies will only grow as time wears on. Since the Cloud does most of the heavy-lifting, IP desk phones will be able to leverage more features, such as application integration, making the IP desk phone’s space on your desk is well deserved.

Although there may come a time when the desktop phone is transformed beyond recognition—or eliminated altogether—that time isn’t now, and it won’t be for a long while. That’s fine, considering communication hardware has always evolved with technology, infrastructure, and end user habits. For the desk phone, the future is a comfortable place.

About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Program Manager of Digital Content and Strategy at Intermedia