Brian Riggs
Brian is a member of Ovum's Enterprise team, tracking emerging trends, technologies, and market dynamics in the unified communications and...
Read Full Bio >>

Brian Riggs | January 19, 2010 |


Lotusphere: Laying Down Some Hate on Handsets

Lotusphere: Laying Down Some Hate on Handsets IBM talking smack about desksets is so surprising because of the stress the company places on partnering with, not displacing, the PBX developers who are still very much in the business of selling phones.

IBM talking smack about desksets is so surprising because of the stress the company places on partnering with, not displacing, the PBX developers who are still very much in the business of selling phones.

The desk phone is dead. I'm used to hearing Microsoft hating on handsets, but IBM? The obsolesce of the desk phone was by no means among the overarching themes at the Lotusphere 2010 conference this week, nor did session and keynote speakers drone on about it. But the message was there, and frankly it took me by surprise.I first picked up on it in David Marshak's Sametime Unified Telephony break-out session. In it he described the Cisco IP phone on his desk as "lonely" since the majority of incoming calls get routed to his mobile. David went on to note that in most companies there exists an easily defined set of end users who are either highly mobile (and therefore live by their cell phone) or spend precious little of their workday away from PCs perfectly capable of running a soft phone client. In fact, according to David, IBM is currently identifying employees who don't really need their desk phones--probably among the 3,500 employees connected to Sametime Unified Telephony, a number that is supposed to increase to a startling 30,000 by the end of the year. A couple hours later Software Architect Chris Price briefly echoed the who-needs-a-desk-set sentiment in his Sametime Unified Telephony deep-dive, and during his UC keynote Vice President Bruce Morse played a video of an IBM customer who hailed the decommissioning of handsets as a key benefit as they consider deploying Sametime Unified Telephony.

IBM talking smack about desksets is so surprising because of the stress the company places on partnering with, not displacing, the PBX developers who are still very much in the business of selling IP phones to SMBs and enterprises. After all, Sametime Unified Telephony has no inherent call control software. Rather, it relies on integration with third-party PBXs--systems from Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Mitel, NEC, and Siemens Enterprise are currently supported--to process calls. This is fundamentally different from Microsoft's approach since OCS can integrate with PBXs but possesses the call control software that allows it to replace them at the heart of a company's voice network. For a number of years now Microsoft has been very aggressive in positioning the Microsoft Office Communicator client as a viable alternative to a PBX-attached desk set.

The Sametime client can of course provide the same click-to-call and other telephony features. And with the release of SameTime Unified Telephony last year, IBM can now deliver a soft phone that combines instant messaging presence, telephony presence, and the ability to initiate and receive calls in a multivendor PBX environment. So while IBM has stayed out of the PBX business, it is quite capable of delivering a UC-enriched soft phone that works with a variety of voice systems. Until now I've only heard of these telephony-capable IBM clients positioned as alternatives to the soft phones and UC clients that PBX developers themselves sell. IBM now seems to be comfortable talking to customers about completely replacing digital and IP handsets.

I can certainly see why certain businesses would want to consider decommissioning either some or all desk phones. Why bother investing hundreds of dollars in an IP phone when a UC client or mobile phone can provide a richer communications experience? As UC clients proliferate it will make perfect sense to begin using them as replacements for, rather than adjuncts to, traditional desk phones. But this is all crazy talk if you're in the business of selling IP phones, and in the unified communications market IBM remains closely allied on companies with just such as business. With the sale of IP phones such a lucrative business for IBM's many PBX partners, I wonder if they will try to put the kibosh on all this no-need-for-desk-phones crazy talk.IBM talking smack about desksets is so surprising because of the stress the company places on partnering with, not displacing, the PBX developers who are still very much in the business of selling phones.


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
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 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.