Remember the rotary phone? Depending on your age, you might be asking ‘what’s that?’. They don’t make rotary phones any more, in fact, they haven’t in years. Is your office desk phone headed in that direction?
Sure, you use your phone while you’re at work. But in this decade, an employees’ cell phones are now competent alternatives to the one-desk-with-a-hard-phone office culture that has dominated American work life for previous decades.
Why are people using their desk phone less? Reasons vary depending on the company. The obvious answer is of course cost savings. Businesses save a significant amount of money by switching over to VoIP services and softphones, and gain in utility and application integration. Softphones, while chipping away at the supremacy of the desk phone, have not completely extinguished the latter’s ubiquity.
But money aside, the social element of a desk phone may be at play. Forbes.com lamented that “the death of the desk phone is rooted in the daily voicemail clutter as well as the fear of accidentally talking to one of these [spam] callers.”
There is no question that desk phone usage has declined, and will almost certainly continue to do so. But to say that desk phones are “dead” is perhaps an extreme, and at the very least, imprecise way of labeling this downward trend. The metaphor of death has become so central to the way the viability of a technology is judged, and this black-and-white terminology often obscures the fact that the product is still being used by a sizeable portion of the population. A more accurate term, perhaps, would be the “slow but steady decline” of the desktop phone. Not a summary invalidation of its viability, but a tacit acknowledgement that it may eventually be supplanted by other technologies.
When you make the switch from landlines to VoIP, one thing that might look exactly the same to most small and medium size business users is the physical phone itself. It looks like a phone. It rings like a phone. But while VoIP phones may resemble your old traditional desk phone, they provide users with enhanced QoS and security.
While ATA adapters allow users to reuse old analogue devices,
VoIP phones are designed to work over the internet, making them the better solution over ATA adapters to keep using your oudated analog devices. Unlike softphone alternatives, VoIP phones also operate independently, so they do not require a computer to run them. The following components define VoIP devices:
VoIP devices will vary in their capability. You will find a variety of features in even the most basic VoIP hard phones and will need to decide which works best for you based on your business needs. There are some which are great for entry-level users who do not need full system access. Intermediate devices, on the other hand will incorporate more buttons, allowing further independence away from the computer. Some higher-end devices even include color displays, touch-screens, and video telephony support.
Other than wired VoIP hard phones, small and medium size businesses have a few additional options. A dialup device uses a built-in modem to connect with a remote VoIP server, meaning it requires no additional hardware or software. These phones are primarily used in environments with limited broadband infrastructure. WLAN and WiFi hard phones include built-in transceivers for connecting to networks. Although security risks increase with wireless connectivity, these devices do improve portability.
Regardless of the type of VoIP hard phone you wish to purchase, always read the device’s specifications in regard to your own network. Some devices offer better compression and encryption, while others promote more features. Weigh these offerings against your own needs and budget. If you have questions about which VoIP phone might be best for your business, contact V1 VoIP today for answers to your questions as well as recommendations.