In early June, we released a family of new desk phones. Yes, that’s right; phones that sit on desks. But isn’t that madness when everyone has a smart-phone and hot desks?
Well, not in our opinion…..
The forthcoming “Death of the Desk Phone” has been written about for the last 15 years and reports have of its demise has been wildly exaggerated. Customer feedback definitely points to the contrary and leading industry analyst Stephanie Watson agrees with this tweet:
In our recent “The Way We Work” study, we found that 93% of the 9000 knowledge workers surveyed believed that there was still a need for an office – but it does need to be flexible and optimised for a more mobile workforce and a more collaborative workplace.
While I would agree that the life of the personal desk phone is numbered, we believe that there is definitely a place for a desk phone in the new digital workplace – but it does have to meet certain criteria…….
- It needs to be cost conscious. This goes for both the actual list price of the phone and also the overheads of management, including stock. If you look at the overall cost of a new communications environment, devices will be a significant portion and sometimes will be the lion’s share of the overall budget.
- It needs to be easy to use. This actually goes hand in hand in hand with recent articles about millennials being “afraid” of the desk phone here. This is why we worked with leading agency Frog Design to ensure a device that is simple, clear and not at all intimidating to use. An over-engineered phone may look cool, but how many of its functions would you actually use?
- It needs to work with your smart phone and applications – not be an either or situation. I think it is pretty fair to say the majority of workers will have a smart phone, so the ability of a desk phone to interact and extract critical information from your mobile phone will be key.
- It needs to continue to provide always on, quality voice but it also needs to do more than just make phone calls. This is key and a point very well made in Zeus K’s article here
It is actually not all about the office. Over the coming weeks, we will be exploring different use cases, especially from a vertical perspective. In healthcare for example, the phone is and will remain for some time, the communications hub of a busy ward – where real estate is at a premium.
Technology hardware is now scrutinised more than ever, driven by the rise of BYOX and the desire for organizations to minimize deployment cost) and assessed for its usefulness. The desk phone is very rightly under the spotlight but by sticking to the principles outlined above – I think it will be here for many years to come.
So that’s our view of the Game of Phones – where do you stand?