By: Mark Waterman, System Designer
Traditional multi-line telephones are no longer the only option in business communications. Having been in the business world for longer than I care to admit, I am, as most of us are, very familiar and comfortable with the standard multi-line telephone. As technology continues to advance, making changes within an office structure to meet the demands and new standards in communications means that answering a phone when it rings and hanging up when I am done just doesn’t cut it anymore.
I am embracing the newest development and leaving the hardphone (traditional multi-line phone) like a tumbleweed rolling from the Old West. A few years ago, I moved to the Softphone on my laptop, then to a phone client on my smart phone and now looking at a tablet or smartphone that allows me not just to do “phone calls” but to integrate video and web collaboration.
In today’s environment, I find myself trying to do much more with much less time and doing it from everywhere but my desk.
The Softphone has made my life a lot easier and after a little tug-o-war, I GET IT. I still answer it when it rings, and still hang up when I am done, but all of the in-betweens (conference calls, lots of buttons on my phone, voicemail, speed dial) is where the Softphone really shines.
For instance… conferencing is more efficient, with a cool Drag & Drop feature. I can look at my screen and see in advance if the party I need to talk to is on the phone, in DND mode, in a meeting, at lunch, at home (slacker), on vacation (lucky) and I can quickly communicate to my current caller what that status is. AND…if someone I need to TALK to is on the phone, I can still contact them via instant message chat or email to resolve an issue or communicate the best time for a follow up instead of playing the fun game of phone tag.
The Softphone provides message indication on my screen and I can receive notification through syncing to my Outlook and smartphone… that old hardphone only blinked a red light when I had a message.
The Softphone goes everywhere with me, it’s right there on my laptop, always open and ready when I am working. Even when I have the chance to work remotely, it only requires connection thru internet or VPN access. I can use a headset or dial-able phone (my own cell, a desk phone at a customer site or even in a hotel room). The directory integrates with my Outlook contacts and gives me immediate information on my screen. The tablet applications allow me to do video collaboration which in turn saves me time. There is less driving to meet with teammates or clients and I still get the face to face time that is vital in developing business plans. Less travel time equals more time for other projects.
Even though it was tough, I am accepting new technology, regardless of how well I thought my desk phone worked. The Softphone is really quite a time saver and does allow me to represent my company in a more efficient manner. Being “connected” is critical for good business and having access regardless of where I am is just as important as when I am in the office. Just another way I have been able to Control the Chaos, in my office environment.