Sure, $500 designer jeans will make you look cool, but are they worth your hard-earned cash? Many IT groups are asking the same question about high-end IP phones, such as Avaya's 9640, Cisco Systems' 7970G and Siemens' OpenStage 80, that cost several times more than conventional desk sets.
The reality is, some employees will see benefits commensurate with costs—if IT has the drive and skills to take advantage of the integrated applications that represent the biggest potential advantage of these systems. Of course, vendors want to help and are working hard to offer easy and reliable integrated application platforms, such as Citrix Application Gateway.
As for who should buy in, high-end IP phones fit like those pricey jeans in verticals, such as medical care or hospitality, where their features provide for emergency broadcasting or customizing hotel room service. Most systems include "hospitality features" in their application suites.
Nay Sayers Speak Out
Gartner created a stir last summer when it estimated that over the next five years businesses will unnecessarily spend $20.3 billion on IP telephones with screens.