Post by Nader Nanjiani, product and systems marketing manager in Cisco’s Unified Communications business unitAt a recent event, while lamenting how the phone on his desk did about the same it did years ago, a senior executive from an email company cried out: “Teach your old phone new tricks.” Well, it’s about time that the executive not only upgrade his desk telephone, but also update his knowledge about the unified communications industry before venturing in. The old phone has already learned a trick or two since the arrival of IP phones. For instance you can dial by clicking a name within a customer relationship management (CRM) application like Salesforce.com and have the call originate over your desk phone or soft-phone. You can look up your daily calendar, stock quotes and weather on your desk phone – much like you can on an iPhone -without the need to turn on your desktop PC. Some users are ordering food, making reservations, and even looking up Google maps on their IP phones. Others are conducting time and attendance applications or checking up inventory using IP phone screens. What’s more: Corridor cruisers now pick up calls directed to their IP phones anywhere on their cell phones and seamlessly switch it back in between to their IP phone upon arrival – without ever tipping off that they have long cut the chains to their desktops.The same executive and some of his colleagues will share results of a study with audiences at conferences that suggest that voice over IP delivers substandard quality. Interestingly, they never specify whether the tests were conducted over a public or a private network. Reality check: New high-fidelity IP phones put”toll quality” of the mid-1990’s to shame. The vendor with the largest market share, Cisco, ships only IP phones. A question left unanswered each time by this company is that while a network can understandably be engineered for organizations to manage reliable quality of service or security, how a desktop can do that. As a result of the information shared by the speaker, the industry is left wondering which to believe: The executive who is not up on the industry himself or the incoherent study that he cites. Speaking of tricks, maybe it’s time the company stopped playing them on room full of audiences.