Can businesses kill the desk phone in 2017?

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As more and more businesses begin their digital transformation by investing in unified communications solutions that eliminate the need for traditional desk phones, we have to wonder if the time has come to leave them behind and move on.

Success, it would seem, is all about progress, and with things like UCaaS, webRTC, BYOD, Softphones and the increasing number of remote workers who no longer even require a desk, let alone a phone to go on it, the presence of… Click To Tweet

However, though many forward-thinking business people will tell you there’s no future for that old office staple, there are some who believe there’s still some life in the old dog yet and this article is written to try and determine who is right.

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Why a desk phone is no longer needed in 2017

Rise of the Remote Worker

In a recent report, it was revealed that as many as 60% of office-based employees will work from home by 2022, while 70% of managers claimed remote working increased productivity and dropped absenteeism by as much as 38% (estimated to save businesses around £58million as a result).

Remote working is proven to be hugely beneficial to both employer and employee, is much more efficient and, more importantly for the purposes of this article, very rarely requires a desktop phone. Instead, agents can work quickly and effectively through their own personal laptops, smartphones, neither of which cost the business a penny.

Evolution of Cloud UC

The Rise of BYOD thru Cloud UC

As we mentioned previously, the presence of softphone features, webRTC and BYOD support that is offered on many UC solutions mean that even the agents that still work inside an office no longer require a physical phone to communicate.

Moreover, the BYOD support that allows users to seamlessly switch between their desktop smartphone and mobile devices means they can come and go as they please and are no longer tied to making/taking calls from their desk.

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A Change in Preference

Though voice calls may still be the most dominant channel, a Forbes article revealed how many executives believe workers, particularly those under 40, have long relied on e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, or social media to reach others on the job and in their daily lives.

It’s not as simple as only having one or two channels to reach people on, we are in a world that is constantly connected and that includes when you’re on the move, having contacts on chat apps, collaboration apps, emails, and voice.

Why shouldn’t we let go?

Old Habits Die Hard

Though, as we’ve already mentioned, many people feel they no longer need a desktop phone, there are still many people in businesses all over the world who do. It’s all about preference and, at least for now, there’s still a large percentage of people that feel more comfortable with a phone on their desk.

Desk phones are adapting, too

Though the concept of a desktop phone may seem a little dated, the phones themselves are not and many new handsets on the market are rich in high-quality cutting-edge features that are fully compatible with most cloud UC solutions.

So, which is it?

After assessing the pros and cons, we believe that the role of the desk phone may change somewhat but its complete removal from businesses over the course of the year is extremely unlikely. There are still many uses for the traditional desk phone and further enhancements in the devices being launched by the big providers.
Although we still do see a need for desktop devices we are also seeing a large rise in the uptake of apps and instances without any desktop phones, the increase of mobile working and enhancements in softphones, webRTC and BYOD. The desktop phone is here to stay for the time being anyway and we don’t see that changing significantly in the years to come.

Originally published Nov 16, 2017, updated Jan 17, 2023

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