Why can't I keep my old digital proprietary phones?

Why can't I keep my old digital proprietary phones when my company changes its phone system?

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The inability to retain your old digital proprietary phones depends on a few different factors. Maybe your vendor's kids need new shoes. Maybe your company is a large enterprise that decided one infrastructure is better and easier to maintain. Or perhaps your company is a small or medium-sized business (SMB) and the cabling costs for two different drops to every desktop are too high, which results in the company looking to save on installation costs.

Many manufacturers, but not all, have dropped their proprietary telephone sets. In fact, some manufacturers never even made a proprietary digital telephone; their endpoint solutions are made up of Internet Protocol (IP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) or they are analog and they use analog terminal adapters.

There are many reasons to retain or abandon proprietary digital telephones, and sometimes the reasoning doesn't fit the business use case.

A couple of years ago, my company installed an IP-PBX in a campus, and it was an excellent fit that met several of the facility's needs. I wish I could have insisted they invest in proprietary digital telephone sets in the school's front office. Why? Because when the IT guys are bouncing the network (rebooting switches, servers and other gear), the front office phones go down. Students may be out for a break or for the summer, but school administrators' work and the school's business continues year round. This would make digital proprietary digital phone systems a good fit if they could be more easily maintained.

This was first published in August 2012

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