Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Desk Phones Are Toast - Right?

I just saw a UK "green" study that warns that desk phones are headed for the scrap heap as we begin to rely exclusively on our mobile handsets. Are we ready for that brave new world?According to UK telecommunications software frim OnRelay, more than half of corporate voice minutes are already mobile and "landline office phones are simply a waste." The company goes on to bemoan the environmental impact of companies buying new desk phones thgat will just end up clogging landfills around the world.

Not so fast. If you ask me, reports of the demise of the desk phone are a tad premature. The report can hardly be considered unbiased: OnRelay sells a mobile PBX for fixed/mobile convergence, so calling desk phones obsolete fits into its marketing message -- and the green message is just a bonus.

To be sure, plenty of people are dumping their home land lines to rely on their personal cell phones, and there are lots of theoretical advantages to having all our communications available in one device.

But there are also lots of reasons why our work-provided mobile phones will not soon become our exclusive telecom devices. Ownership and privacy concerns come to mind immediately. No one wants to carry a personal phone and a work phone, but do we really want to have our employers control all our telecom access? Not to mention issues of battery life, device standardization, network reliability and availability, security, and many more.

What do you think? Is there still a need for desk phones in the office? More to the point, is there anyone out there who has ditched the office phone in favor of a mobile device, with or without fixed/mobile convergence?