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Practical IP Phone Design

ip phone hot-desking ip phone roi ip phone interoperability ip phone security lesley hansen on designing an ip phonePractical Applications for Your IP Handsets

In the last of her articles on IP handset design Snom Marketing Manager Lesley Hansen talks about practical applications including ip phone hot desking.

IP phones are unique in that they were built to support IP first and telephony second. When businesses embrace the richer world of unified communications the benefits of IP phones become evident. With IP phones business users can use converged services which incorporate voice into data and video applications.  Advanced IP phones are really multimedia endpoints that bring these capabilities together with a single interface. IP phones interface with IP Telephony servers or IP PBXs and they can deliver features to your phone that are not available with more traditional office phones. Business productivity features such as Auto Attendants, Music on Hold and Automated Personal Attendant services, but also user productivity features such as caller id, voicemail, voice to email, transfer announcements and speed dial.

Beyond the elegant feature list on an IP phone there are certain practical applications that the handset needs to be designed to accommodate in order for the business to get the most from their IP handsets.

Hot Desking

In IP Telephony hot-desking can be best described as when your extension is whatever phone you’re logged onto. Hot desking means that a business can make efficient use of office space allowing workers to use available desk space rather than deploying one desk per user and having empty unused desk spaces when employees who spend time in other offices or at customer sites are not in their local office. Hot desking in an office environment can save on lighting, heating, and power and space costs and promote improved interaction between employees.  In a call centre where a desk space may be expensive because of the tailored equipment, Hot desking is an excellent way of using the resources available to best effect.

IP phone hot desking does not only save money for the business it also make the individual more productive. Any small business with multiple locations will see a great benefit in hot desking.  A person may have a number of offices and travel and work out of each of them, depending on the day of the week or week of the year.  With hot desking, they’re always connected to their voice mail, and easily accessible via their extension number.  They have all the features and functions that they are used to having on their IP phone.

Hot desking also benefits the end customer, the employee can log in on any phone in any office and be fully connected.  No more problems for the end customer searching and guessing to find out what office their contact is working out of today.

When designing an IP phone for hot desking it needs to accommodate multiple IDs simultaneously and to be able to download user profiles from the switch when a new user logs on.

Home Working

Home working is the scenario where you live and work in the same place and brings new challenges to the design of IP Telephony handsets. Enabling home working allows for a reduction in commuting charges and mobile bills. As calls on your private IP network are free you can also make savings on call costs. Home working requires an IP phone to be easy to setup and reliable to use. There is no technical resource in most homes and to keep costs down and productivity up the IP phone needs to be a plug and play device. Once a phone is plugged in needs to be fully operational with the same features and functionality as the user has when in the office. The principle behind home working is that the user is allocated a single IP extension on the IP Switch which is retained no matter whether working on a home extension or logged in to an office extension.

Moves, Adds and Changes

Moves, adds and changes (MAC) is the general term for the routine work performed on items such as Telephony handsets in an enterprise, including installations, relocations and upgrades. MACs can cost a business valuable time and can involve reconfiguration, physical relocation and testing and setup. Using an IP phone the costs for MACs can effectively be eliminated since users can log themselves onto any handset and so effectively manage the move or change themselves. Costs savings from user empowerment through IP in moves such as office relocation or re-organisations, staff rotation and data centres moves are considerable. It is important when selecting an IP phone to ensure it has been designed to easily accommodates remote deployment and remote management facilitating low cost moves, adds and changes within the business.

Support for Multiple Profiles

It is not uncommon for a business to employ people who work representing more than one role or business venture. In these situations the IP phone can be designed to allow the user to have multiple identities so that they can have calls coming in to multiple incoming numbers over multiple lines and can recognise which line the call is coming in on and answer the calls appropriately for the businesses. When making calls in this type of situation it is also important that the outgoing caller id is appropriate to the business being represented. The ability to support multiple identities is a simple feature of IP phones but one that is easiest to use when designed into the handset.

Speaker or Conference Phone

Clear communications is critical if business calls or meetings are to be productive. The audio quality achieved through a speaker-phone or a specially designed conference phone is different, they are optimised differently to handle multiple voices and background noises. Therefore understanding the use of a phone is an important consideration in phone design and selecting a phone that is optimised to the task being performed is key to experiencing good voice quality. With a High Definition voice codec in use by all conference participants, combined with decent quality microphones and speakers, you will experience much clearer audio.

This post on practical ip phone applications is the 8th and last in our series on how to design an ip phone. Other posts in the series are linked to below:

How to design an ip phone
How to design an ip phone for voice quality
IP phone design for it departments
IP Phone Security
IP Phone Interoperability
IP phone ROI
IP Phone aesthetics

Check out all our VoIP posts here.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

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