The recent news that Cisco shipped its 22 millionth Unified IP Phone to Foster’s Group Ltd.seems a good indication that recent media reports projecting the imminent decline of the desk phone are at minimum premature in their predictions. Is it possible that the desk phone has a role in business communications for the foreseeable future? What role does the phone play as organizations move to collaborative work spaces?
Industry analysts offer differing views on the outlook for the desk phone. My observation is that customers continue to have a healthy interest in having deskphones. A similar review is reflected in these reports with respect for IP phones:
• The Dataquest team of Gartner published a worldwide business IP Telephone forecast in July 2009 projecting shipments of IP Phones worldwide to exceed 36.5 million in 2013 with an annual compound growth rate of 16%. Fairly healthy growth – when compared to a projection of worldwide shipments in 2009 of 20.3 million.
• In-Stat also published a report in February 2009 noting the business market for IP Phones is “thriving”, projecting 31 million business IP Phones to ship in 2012.
Vice President, IPCBU at Cisco
Customers have always indicated a requirement for a variety of endpoints and communications methods to meet their user requirement: Deskphones, softphones, mobile phones and other endpoints. I expect this requirement to extend into the foreseeable future.
As for the role a phone can play in a collaborative workspace, some insight can be drawn from Fosters. A premium global drinks company, they made the decision to invest now in Cisco Unified IP Phone 7900 Series endpoints across their offices, production locations and contact centers worldwide, as part of an overall Cisco Unified Communications and Collaboration solution. Fosters sought out solutions that would encourage collaboration, improve company efficiency and productivity, while reducing operating costs. They plan to deploy business video to their employee’s desktops worldwide, pairing Cisco Unified Video Advantage for support of face-to-face collaboration with the always-on, real-time communication and video call capabilities delivered by the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7900 Series and Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
Fosters deployed the Cisco Unified IP Phone as part of the solution set to drive collaboration and productivity to meet their specific corporate objectives. With implementation, Fosters also gains access to a host of IP endpoint applications beyond business video. One example is visual voicemail, a free application which takes advantage of 7900 Series graphical displays solutions to elevate user productivity when accessing and listening to voice messages. Visual voicemail is one of several Cisco Unified Communications Widgets which enhances the collaboration experience across multiple environments. Fosters also has access to third party and custom-developed applications through Cisco Unified Application Environment to further enhance address their productivity goals.
For Fosters, the Cisco Unified IP Phone is part of their “Collaboration Toolkit” to drive productivity and organizational efficiency. Seems to me that Fosters got it right: the deskphone has a role in business communications and role in the collaborative workspace. What’s your view on the value of the IP Phone in your environment?