Desk Phones Might Not Be Dead Yet

James AndersonDo desk phones have a place in the increasingly mobility-friendly world of business?

Analysts and a VoIP provider say yes — with a provision.

Windstream-owned Allworx has announced a new line of phones that it says will fit in well in a corporate environment where mobile devices are being used more and more for work activities.

Allworx's David PlakoshThe Allworx Verge IP phone line is “mobile-first,” the result of the company wrestling with the question of how desk phones stay relevant in the age of cellphones.

“We talked with a lot of our partners. We went out and examined usage of systems,” said David Plakosh, general manager and chief technology officer. “Bottom line is, we came up with a thesis that in order for desk phones to be relevant in the future, they must be better integrated with mobile devices and software applications.”

That integration includes real-time syncing between the IP phones and employees’ mobile devices using Allworx’ updated Reach application for iOS and Android. Workers can link the desk phone with Microsoft Outlook to obtain access to contacts. The phone line features call handoff from the mobile device to the desk phone and the ability to remotely control the Verge IP phone using a mobile device.{ad}

Plakosh says the technology must adjust so that users don’t have to pick between mobile phones and desk phones.

“Mobile phones and desk phones are in conflict,” he said. “On one hand, users have a passion for their mobile device. They love the ease of use of their mobile device. They love not being tethered to their desk. They love having access to all their contacts. But on the other hand, their desk phones have better audio quality and provide business-phone system features.”

Steve Chu, director of TeraNova Consulting Group, says VoIP desktop phones are a growing market, as customers like the cost reduction.

“I think this whole market space is exploding worldwide,” he told Channel Partners. “There’s a big market to replace your traditional analog phone systems with VoIP.”

He says only 20 percent of phone systems have gone to VoIP, meaning that there is still a massive opportunity for vendors and partners. But he added that he hasn’t seen VoIP vendors implement many new technological features in recent years.

“What they have added is sexy features like color screens, bigger screens, some graphics, touchscreens. From a system-user point of view, those are superficial functions, and I’m not quite sure how …

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