As BYOD gains acceptance within the enterprise, the desk phone is becoming a dusty box sitting in a corner on a cubicle desk. Phone numbers could follow. This is the vision that many enterprises and vendors are starting to see for the future of mobility.
But are enterprises realizing the value in leaving the desk phone behind and moving to mobile devices as the primary form of communication? During the “Mobile Vision: Breaking the habit of the desk phone” session at Interop 2012, analysts from Huawei, Extreme Networks, Cisco Systems and Avaya explored possible paths toward total mobility and mobile UC.
John Roese, SVP and GM for Huawei Technologies went so far as to pose the question as to whether phone numbers should be a part of the new UC experience. He said no, dubbing phone numbers archaic. The elimination of phone numbers may be a scary concept for many enterprises, but so was social media just a few years ago until its business value was recognized.
“Click to call is not really progress for the new UC vision, where is click to collaborate?” Roese asked. UC vendors are coming out with impressive UC solutions for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, but they aren’t simplified enough from the user perspective, he noted.
But there is a silver lining. Roese is looking at the future for UC in a very positive light. Vendors have the capabilities needed to create a “futuristic experience” for their users, noting that someday, a smartphone may have the ability to dictate a message to the user if the device realizes the user is otherwise preoccupied — like driving a car.
Roese referred to his own desk phone as an “alarm clock” or a device that tips him off that someone has tried to reach him, but it is rarely answered — unlike his mobile phone. “We need to start thinking about what helps users make the decision to answer the phone,” he said, noting that if not only the caller, but the reason for the call could be integrated into one device, a more satisfying UC experience would result.
But vendors should be driving this idea, as the enterprise may not know what is best for its own mobile UC strategy, Roese said. “I don’t anyone in the enterprise who asked for Skype right away,” he noted.
On a philosophical note that can be applied to both life and the enterprise UC strategy, Roese said,”One of the most difficult things moving forward is deciding what we should leave behind.”