SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Dave Michels | March 13, 2014 |

 
   

BYODE

BYODE If BYOD is a desired characteristic for mobile devices, why are desktop endpoints still an IT decision? Why not BYODE, as in Bring Your Own Desktop Endpoint?

If BYOD is a desired characteristic for mobile devices, why are desktop endpoints still an IT decision? Why not BYODE, as in Bring Your Own Desktop Endpoint?

My first corporate employer provided all employees a desktop analog push-button phone. It was a bit dated even then, but at least it wasn't rotary. It also had a little flashing-light device taped on the top that via a line cord pass-through provided voicemail indication. Voicemail was the predominant messaging solution at the time, as email clients were not yet widespread.

Being the consummate telecom professional that I was and am, I chose to raise my telephony bar and bought a nicer desktop phone from a local retailer. It was a speakerphone with 20 pre-set speed-dials. I stuck-on the voicemail light and immediately benefited with increased productivity. I could, for example, address and forward voicemails faster than anyone thanks to my 5-digit speed-dials.

This was all possible because analog endpoints are universally compatible. In hindsight I was on the forefront of what's now known as consumerization and bring your own device (BYOD). Today, we live in a mobile-first world, so BYOD refers to mobile phones instead of desktop endpoints.

If BYOD is a desired characteristic for mobile devices, why are desktop endpoints still an IT decision? Why not BYODE, as in Bring Your Own Desktop Endpoint?

Soft phones are perceived as cheaper and more powerful, but hard phones are more reliable and familiar. If IT decides against hard phones, the user doesn't really have a choice. However, users do generally have a choice when it comes to mobile clients.

Modern UC mobile apps are impressive. So impressive that in addition to choosing from among rich features, end-users can easily and independently obtain and configure them. Think about that for a moment--in most cases, a mobile client can be obtained from a third-party distributor (application store), to run on a third-party branded device, running a third-party operating system, and connected to the UC service over third-party networks. This can be done with greater installation and configuration ease than that of a purpose-built UC endpoint connecting to the same-brand UC server directly connected over a local network.

The explanation: Enterprise desktop phones come from a period when only experts could deploy them. The technology and expectations are different in the mobile space, but with only a few exceptions, desktop endpoints remain stuck in a now-obsolete model. It is one of the factors contributing to the decline of hard phones.

Typically, all that is required to install a mobile client is the telephone number and voicemail PIN. Desktops are not so easy, and they are usually installed and configured by IT. The excuses are rampant and include:

* Systems need to know the device model for proper formatting of the screen and button enablement (oddly, multiple screen sizes are supported on mobile devices)
* Hard phones need to be properly provisioned for the network (IP phones usually need basic network information, even though most mobile devices don't)
* Needs to be labeled (paper labels are still common)
* Need the MAC address (many comms servers use the esoteric MAC as an identifier)

There's no reason the local hard phone shouldn't be as easy (or easier) to install than a mobile client--without support or effort from IT. The only exceptions might be a few practical limitations, such as DHCP; also, user-based licensing needs to be in place.

What Would Need to Change for This to Become a Reality?
First, communication managers (i.e., the servers) need to be more intelligent about sensing device types. This should be simple in a proprietary mode--which is where the industry continues to thrive. The SIP alternative isn't very robust, and most enterprise SIP phones utilize proprietary extensions. Additionally, SIP endpoints are problematic when it comes to provisioning and displaying content. The protocol is fine for basic audio signaling, which is why many SIP endpoints are restricted to the very limited (analog-like) features.

Proprietary phones are more expensive due to lower manufacturing runs and closed distribution. As much as the major UC vendors love to proclaim themselves software companies, most still sell their own phones. This is lucrative revenue--for both the manufacturer and its channel partners. The margin requirements of this legacy B2B channel are much higher than Internet and mass retail B2C channels. Even if an employee wanted to buy his or her own IP endpoint, it is not a simple (or inexpensive) task.

IP phones can be plug-n-play, but they tend to use proprietary elements. For example, both Digium and Microsoft offer simplified provisioning. End users in these environments could, in theory, obtain their own phone and connect it. The challenges associated with the provisioning of PC softphones are similar to hard phones. CounterPath just announced a new enterprise solution that preconfigures deployments of its Bria client via a centralized server. However, it still requires IT administrators to initially license and preconfigure.

The idea of BYODE makes a lot of sense to me, but it may be too late. SIP evolution for endpoints seems stalled, and interest in hard phones is waning. I believe a hard phone resurgence would be possible if they were inexpensively available at the supermarket.

I will be moderating a panel on the demise (or not) of hard phones at Enterprise Connect with representatives from Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, ShoreTel, Microsoft, and Unify at 2 PM on Monday, March 17. I hope you can join me.

Follow Dave Michels on Twitter and Google+!
@DaveMichels
Dave Michels on Google+





COMMENTS



July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.