I build IP phones for a living (among a few other things). The design and craftsmanship our engineers apply to them make me proud. The high quality construction of our flagship Cisco IP Phone 8800 Series stands out among our competitors.
I will keep building great IP phones. Why? Because customers keep telling us the value they deliver is important to them. More than that, customers keep buying them in growing numbers.
Yes, I did say growing numbers. What we achieved in Cisco’s last fiscal year was good, but we could not have imagined that orders would increase by more than 30% this past quarter. Wow. This is a huge amount of trust customers and partners are placing on us and the future of this technology.
I see several reasons for the growth we see in our IP Phone business:
- Security concerns: newer hardware is required to support stronger cryptography with TLS1.2 and AES-256 SRTP. Over the last year, we have seen several organizations place orders of over 50,000 phones to be compliant with the latest Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS).
- Cloud readiness: new Cisco phones can be deployed on-premises with Cisco Unified Communications Manager, as well as with cloud services from Cisco and third parties.
- Demand for new features: smartphone integration, accessibility enablement, click-to-call from Jabber, WiFi support, and many more.
- Diverse work spaces: different office environments and demand for mobile, always-on communication have led to new IP Phone models such as the new 6825 wireless DECT model – we’ll share more details on the 6825 in early 2019.
- Failed softphone-only deployments: after attempting to be “IP phone free,” many companies learn softphones alone can be inconvenient and hard to use – they’re not always available, they compromise on audio quality, and users get lost among multiple desktop applications.
Hey, I read the same blogs you do. More than a couple of them have been saying the IP Phone was going to die as soft phones and unified communications become widespread. They have been saying this for ten years. For example:
“The rumors of the demise of the traditional desk phone have been somewhat exaggerated but, within the next 2 years, the market for these devices will probably only exist on eBay,” UC Insights, November 2011.
On the other hand, for some people, the constant distractions of smartphones and social media are counter-productive. The IP Phone is essentially a purpose-built tool that’s optimized to get its job done. As IT leaders, our customers need to equip their end-users in different job-roles with a set of tools that enable them to get their job done to the best of their abilities.
New mobile-first team collaboration apps, like Cisco Webex Teams, with voice and video calling, messaging, and content sharing and creation are compelling. It’s true that the IP Phone is no longer for everyone. But I think all of the above suggests the humble phone will be around for a long time yet.
So long live the IP Phone. We will keep investing and make them more intelligent, more integrated to our collaboration applications, more cloud-friendly, and more beautiful. I am sure our users are going to love them.
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