Technology is moving fast enough that it is probably a bit mind boggling that the desk phone hasn’t changed that much in the past decade.
Sure the designs have changed a bit and their are a few new features here and there.
But as a whole the business PBX still does most of the same things that it always did.
Answer calls, route calls, send to voice mail…
Rinse and repeat.
So the PBX is still doing pretty much the same thing and so is the phone.
Just prettier and newer.
In the case of the PBX we have relocated it to the data center. Either in your private cloud or in the public cloud which is the trend for most companies these days.
With Cloud being such a rapidly emerging trend, what we are seeing is computers being simplified to more or less thin clients and of course we hear almost daily about the effects of bring your own device.
So any machine anywhere serves as the gateway to all your business productivity tools.
I like it! Where do I sign up.
But as the desktop becomes more or less a thin client and the machine is merely reaching out to applications virtualized somewhere else, can the machine become a replacement for the desk phone?
Sure their are dinosaurs out their that want a phone on their desktop today.
I think that is pretty much all of us because that is the experience that we are used to.
But what if you were able to collaborate on your desktop much the way you collaborate in the social sphere on apps like Skype or Facebook.
Most of those apps now allow you to launch a voice call. Google Hangouts lets you do a free multiway video call.
And for companies that think this is a short term trend, think again!
But fortunately these tools don’t replace the need for business phones and PBX.
At this point all they do is call out and connect point to point.
But the use case has been shown and people like these kinds of tools.
If the application on your computer can allow you to have a good quality voice experience, there is nothing to stop the desktop application from supporting the call control, routing and feature set.
We know this personally…
So will the desktop phone be replaced?
Like all products, there will always be the late adopter. I wouldn’t doubt that some folks would still use a rotary phone if you could purchase them.
However, with businesses increasingly seeking to streamline their business and allow for true mobility, the tether from the phone on our desk will soon be cut and we will see individuals increasingly free from their desk phone.
It really isn’t a question of if, but when…
And when may be years away, but it is coming nonetheless.