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Do you think smartphones will replace desk phones?

Learn about the future of desk phones as smartphones increase in popularity.

Do you think smartphones will replace desk phones?

Eventually, there is no reason for desk phones to survive, though the transition will take many years and vary...

between different regions and verticals. The main factors that make it logical that enterprises would eventually replace desk phones are:

  • Falling cost of "smartphones," as the definition of smartphone (phone with browser, web, high speed connection, etc.) shifts downmarket to midpriced models
  • User preference to use their mobile phones, which in the past has led to high mobile bills. When enterprises combine UC with a coordinated convergence policy from their carrier, these bills can be reduced even if the end user makes all their calls and messaging on their smartphone. This can be done with dual-mode handsets using Wi-Fi within the enterprise or homezone, or increasingly with company and home zones based on femtocells -- indoor base stations, within whose range the carrier will charge very low tariffs. Users only pay the standard mobile fees when they roam outside the area of these cells.
  • Improved integration of smartphones with enterprise infrastructure like PBXs (e.g. the Microsoft-Nortel initiative, or Cisco's work with Motorola and Nokia), and the shift of enterprises to all-IP. All smartphones support IP and the next generation of smartphones and networks will be entirely IP-based, making convergence around a single handset more practical.
  • Virtualization allows one smartphone to be divided into a business phone and a personal phone, with different access rights, applications and billing -- avoiding the security problems of using mobile phones on the corporate networks, and also allowing personal usage to be separately billed.
  • In many businesses, "desks" are being phased out in favor of flexible working, with employees sharing desks and meeting rooms on an as-needed basis or working at home/on the road. All this makes the mobile phone the logical center of communication.
This was last published in April 2009

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