snom is asking channel partners and customers "What is future of deskphone?". It is no secret that snom has a serious vested interest in this question. My guess this is some what of a rhetorical question when Microsoft and others are highly promoting "software" as opposed to hardware. But, it might be noted as well that snom has the intellectual property (but perhaps not the company history, focus and culture?) to pivot to software based endpoints. (IP: snom has a complete SIP and LYNC/OCS stack to make soft client if desired; actually they already have the softphone)
What are my thoughts on the future of deskphones?
A plain old phone call is still (at the moment) the standard, lowest common denominator that almost everyone has. Old and young, rich or poor--it is a protocol all can work on. This is also the choice of companies that have a work force that does not "live" in front of a PC or even have access to one. These companies have no other choice. Since they don't have a "terminal" the phone provides a single use "terminal". Is it correct to say this is one of the most expensive forms of communication (as as alternative to a well managed web portal, Instant Message, email--since both people need to basically drop all else and be there at the appointed time and it is almost impossible to automate?) I see the plunging cost of Android-based tablet PC form factor could possibly challenge purpose built deskphones...
Below is what Gurdeep Pall of Microsoft UC said about hardware endpoint maker Polycom on June 6, 2011 at the Polycom "UC Vision Webcast":
What is the long term outlook for the Polycom Microsoft Lync relationship, how critical will Polycom be to Microsoft Lync in the next three to five years?Mobile Device
>> Gudeep: As I said earlier, the industry is going through a rapid transformation to this new way of working, new way of communicating and collaborating, and in this, with Lync, we are really focused on the software platform that enables that. And for customers to really get the value out of the UC solutions, they need to have -- they need to have other PCs like the room systems from Polycom, the variety of devices that Polycom and Microsoft work on together. So we really -- it's like two hands for clapping, you can't really clap with one hand. That's how I see the Polycom and the Microsoft partnership. So it's really not a few years, I see this as an enduring partnership, which is really going to deliver lots for our customers.
It is very telling what happens when the "phone system" is down. Guess what happens? Yes, your right, there is always a "highly available, self-healing, disaster recovery plan" that employees throw into place with no technical difficulty at all: mobile phones. What happens when a serious problem developes in the workplace or home? (Think fire, 9/11, earthquake, etc) People call the mobile device of trusted people. Since mobile operators have no vested interest in tightly integrating the PBX or UC solution and mobile phones, UC/PBX vendors are going to need to do it before the operators find a way to make a business PBX/UC solution using cell phones as endpoints.
I spend more time on email than I do on the phone. How does this tie in?
This is an incredibly effecient way to communicate with vendors and customers.
The deskphone will likely be around for some time. But growing companies need more than just a deskphone. Alternate modalities of communication: IM, email, mobility, Presence, desktop sharing and more needs to be seamlessly integrated to the deskphone experience of the future. It seems to me the handset makers have the biggest vested interest in "getting this right".
-Seamless integration of deskphone and PC is absolutely essential for "information worker" type businesses
-Smooth end user experience of this integration is not optional
-Features such as IM, mobility, presence and desktop sharing integrated into this experience is essential