Deskphones are ubiquitous. They’ve been a part of the office arsenal for generations and a view of a desk without one leaves one with the sense that something’s missing. But how have desk phones changed since they were first introduced? And how much do we really need them in the 2020s?
VoIP Desk Phones
Compared to early models of desk phones, modern units bear little resemblance under the hood. On the surface, even, the differences are immediately obvious, especially with high-end models. VoIP desk phones like the Yealink T58A are dominated by a huge touchscreen; something certainly not commonplace twenty years ago.
Indeed, this represents one of the principal differences between the desk phones of today and those of yesteryear. Android OS-powered with launchable apps, today’s desk phones are essentially smartphones with a larger chassis.
So in what ways do they differ from your smartphone?
Well, firstly and most importantly, if you’re with a VoIP provider that supplies VoIP apps (aka softphones) that underperform relative to your needs and expectations, you’ll actually need to use a desk phone if you want to use a VoIP service. What’s more, since a VoIP phone system represents the best infrastructure a team can have for handling internal and external voice communications, desk phones commonly represent the only option for businesses.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Desk phones are what a lot of office workers are used to and, in conjunction with a powerful business phone system, they’ve a lot of functionality to brag about. Full phone books of contacts can be imported to your VoIP desk phone quickly and easily with just a .csv file and your phone’s browser-based GUI. Expected features like call forwarding, monitoring and multi-line parking are available on your desk phone, in addition to a range of as are quick and easy shortcodes to access these features.
Desk Phone Positives
The pros of using desk phones for your business.
- Workers are familiar with physical desk phones in the office
- A dedicated physical work phone separates business from personal life
- A wide variety of models are available, including corded and cordless phones
- Large enterprises can benefit from multi-line extension modules and hardware
- Desk phone buttons, shortcuts and soft keys can be easily customised
Desk Phone Negatives
The cons of using desk phones for your business.
- Desk phones can work out more expensive than soft phones
- Desk phones can lack mobility and flexibility
- No access to SMS or business messaging features
VoIP Apps and Softphones
But what if your VoIP provider actually offered VoIP softphone apps that could hold their own? Would desk phones still be necessary?
Yay.com’s VoIP apps are one of its crowning achievements. Like many of you, we experienced first-hand the frustrations of calls dropping out while crossing from one cell mast’s catchment area to another; of supposedly “HD call quality” becoming spotty (at best) the minute someone started streaming a video in 480p in the next room. We made it our mission to solve these problems and are pleased to offer the best VoIP apps on the market.
Just one technological advantage held by our VoIP apps is that they support the Opus codec, which is capable of delivering the highest quality calls of any codec out there, all whilst demanding the least bandwidth. This is like getting a free side with your meal and discovering when you get the bill that you’re getting the whole lot half price. You get more for less - and there’s no catch.
All the things you love to do with your VoIP desk phone are possible with Yay.com’s softphones and with the same handy (configurable) shortcodes you use with your desk phone to communicate and collaborate effectively and efficiently with colleagues and clients.
What’s more, with our enterprise chat features, communication with your team is even easier, with the flexibility to pivot from text to voice at the tap of a button.
VoIP Softphone App Positives
The pros of using VoIP apps for your business.
- VoIP apps are portable and very flexible
- VoIP apps are quick and easy to set up
- Can be used on the device of your choice and existing technology such as smartphones and laptops
- VoIP softphone apps are low cost
- VoIP apps are ideal for distributed teams and remote working
- Easy to maintain and will always include the latest features
VoIP Softphone App Negatives
The cons of using VoIP apps for your business.
- Some workers may prefer a dedicated device for their business calls
- If using with a computer, a headset and mic may be required
- Mastering the depth of VoIP app features may require a bit of time
VoIP Phones vs VoIP Apps
If the primary argument for using VoIP desk phones, then, is that they’re (i) what most office workers are used to and (ii) have long been the only viable option, with Yay.com’s VoIP apps having solved the latter problem, then only the former remains to be dealt with.
However, it would be fair to say that some are more comfortable using a desk phone than their personal smartphone to make calls.
Since our VoIP apps live on your smartphone, there really are only a few edge cases where VoIP desk phones might still be used.
There are bound to be those, for example, whose personal preference remains a desk phone. Plus, there are bound to be those who prefer not to mix business with leisure and so do not want business calls on their personal device.
Even those who feel strongly about the latter point, however, should have their fears calmed by learning that your Yay.com app can be set to Do Not Disturb (DND) without affecting your smartphone’s native DND function. What’s more, you can choose to not log your Yay.com business calls on your device’s call history, meaning there’s no chance of a reminder of work interrupting letting your hair down on a Saturday night.
For those that do prefer them, VoIP desk phones are available as a luxury item. But, with the cheapest competent VoIP phones coming in at around £50 and running up into the hundreds, it might soon be difficult to justify their purchase. Especially when more and more studies are showing that employees are happier and more productive following a BYOD (bring your own device) framework.
Luckily the flexibility offered by our Cloud-based phone system means that you can pick the right desk phone or softphone for each of your employee's needs. So whether your reception team feels more comfortable with a 12 line desk phone, or your sales force are happier working on the fly with a VoIP app on their smartphone, the choice is yours to make.
If you’re interested in learning more about what makes Yay.com’s VoIP apps different from others on the market, you can sign up for a free VoIP trial and download our softphone apps to try at no cost or obligation for 14 days.