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The Office Phone Is Dead, Long Live The Office Phone!

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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Todd Carothers, executive VP of marketing and products, CounterPath, says there could be saving grace for the telephone in the business environment

The debate has been raging for years now: Do people at work still use the office phone, or is it dying?

The arguments that suggest the imminent demise of the office telephone keep piling up. As millennials continue to enter the workforce, office phone usage continues to decline.

New platforms

The generational gap has been accentuated by the emergence of various platforms that are, effectively, replacing the hard telephone as a means of communication. Email, text messaging, instant messaging and social media are all communication tools that have provided alternatives to a good ol’ call.

office telephoneMillennials are digital natives, they grew up with interconnected communications and it has become second nature to have multiple conversations over email, text message and social media all at the same time (and sometimes with the same person).

However, there still exists a fundamental value that may prove to be the saving grace for the telephone in the business environment, as the number of satellite offices and remote workers continues to grow. According to a recent survey of decision makers working in small and medium-sized business in the UK, nine out of ten (91 percent) companies have at least one member of staff working from home, and a fifth of businesses (19 percent) said more than half of their workforce works away from their main office location.

Customer support is an area where the telephone maintains its stronghold of importance among organisations. Sales continue to be more effective and better conducted when representatives are able to have direct contact with prospective clients, so conference calling, video and screen sharing can play a paramount role in the success of an organisation.

As communication styles continue to adapt, so has the technology that facilitates enterprise collaboration and communication. While the value offered by the telephone remains relevant, its current technology is doomed to die due to its limitations and inefficiencies. What companies need now is a system that allows their teams to enjoy the seamless experience of collaborating across devices, platforms and methods of communication.

A solution that is scalable, secure and always cost-effective. A solution that combines voice and video calling, screen sharing and collaboration, instant messaging and presence management. They need the next stage of communication: an all-encompassing unified communications platform that brings Voice-as-a-Service to the table.

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