Why the Desk Phone Is Still Relevant, and How to Maximize Its Value

Researchers and industry experts have been digging the grave of the desk phone for years. Workers would rather use their smartphones. More work is done away from the desk and out of the office. All the desk phone does is collect dust and take up space – right next to that stack of paper, which was also supposed to be obsolete by now.

Take KPMG, for example. The Canadian accounting firm eliminated desk phones across the organization, leaving employees to use an app on their laptops and a headset to make phone calls. IDC estimates that more than two-thirds of Canadian organizations had replaced some of their desk phones with wireless connections by 2016, with about one-third going completely wireless.

But despite longstanding predictions of its demise, the desk phone still plays an important role in the communications of many organizations. That’s because modern IP phones have evolved to offer more flexibility and versatility than conventional phones. An IP phone can be directly connected to a LAN, Internet router or networked computer via Ethernet to ensure high call quality.

While IP phones offer many of the same features as traditional phones, such as voicemail, call forwarding, etc., many IP phone systems can also support call recording, instant messaging, Internet browsing, video conferencing and Bluetooth. Similar to smartphones, IP phone features are accessed through an intuitive, touchscreen interface on an LCD display. There are different models with different features to suit the needs of the user, from general employees to managers to receptionists.

Wireless IP phones that use an adapter to connect to Wi-Fi networks are also becoming more common. IP conference phones are similar to conventional phones but also allow you to seamlessly add participants without disrupting the meeting. There is also a softphone, which is actually an application that allows you to make calls through your computer. This is the kind of IP phone used by KPMG.

Communication preferences vary across generations, so organizations typically need a blend of features and capabilities. Millennials, who account for the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce, also represent the first digital-native generation. They only know a world with laptops and mobile devices, and they want to work in a collaborative environment. If they’re going to use a desk phone, it better have the same features as their smartphone.

While older generations tend to prefer landline phones for important business calls, Millennials and younger generations will often use their smartphones when the desk phone is within arm’s reach. Millennials are also more likely to communicate via text and instant message and are more comfortable using a phone for email, video conferencing and project management. The best desk phone for Millennials is one that mirrors their smartphone — easy to set up and use, seamless updating, a touchscreen interface, collaborative tools, multiple modes of communication, etc.

IPC helps organizations design IP phone systems and choose the right options while minimizing total cost of ownership. Let us develop a solution that delivers the performance, reliability and diverse set of features your employees and customers demand.