Last week I traveled down to DuPont to the Intel campus to attend the CIPTUG Tech Forum. It really was a great event run and hosted by the NW chapter of CIPTUG. Seeing as I am no longer the president of the NW chapter I can’t take any credit for the day which is a pity because it was very successful single day event.
One interesting question that was asked during the ask the experts panel was, “what’s the future of the hard phone?” Of course seeing as this was a Cisco conference the answer was hard phones aren’t going away and why would they want one of the largest revenue drivers in the company to go any where. With VoIP hard phone sales driving switch and router upgrades it makes perfect sense to keep that momentum going.
I kind of agree that there will be hard phone requirements but only to an extent. I think the form factor of the phone will change as we move more mobile and dedicated desk space is less common to more cellular services ( that one is kind of obvious, I know). Even though a few companies have tried to bring back virtual workers back into the office I think the trend is more in the other direction. Of course information workers have slightly different work profile than that of other workers so how these other cross section of workers take up different form factors for business purposes may be more influential than just information workers alone. The person cutting your sandwich at Subway or a factory worker still has a use for a business phone of some description even if it is very seldom. So making all our assumptions based on information workers can be a false one.
The Senior Voice Architect where I used to work pushed the idea of mobile VoIP was the direction and that eventually we wouldn’t need carrier voice service. I am not sure how fast we will get there but AT&T’s recent change of heart on iphone VoIP applications over their wireless network certainly pushes the bounds on what the industry able to do. Whether voice quality will be good enough with the use of 3G when uptake increases we will see but it certainly heading in the right direction to see my former co-workers vision come true. Maybe AT&T just doesn’t see this as a threat yet and they have certainly made no guarantees on quality to date which may be the reason why they have allowed it to happen. “Poor quality, put people off early adoption, keep the cellular revenue rolling in, keep searching for new hosted markets to fill the gap when it finally happens in the advent of G4 or other cellular bandwidth break through”. I am just guessing here but they are the thoughts that come to my mind anyway.
So whether you want to believe it or not cellular VoIP is just around the corner in a big way and moving in on us fast. Lets just hope its well thought out before it explodes on enterprises everywhere.
Finally there was also plenty of talk about CUCiMOC while I was at Intel (this is still at the top of my blog hit list notching around 40% of all hits) but I will leave that subject for another post. The interest is there but I think it’s for all the wrong reasons.