I’m naked without my telephone

I threw my phone away – literally.  It was a very nice phone as phones go, and was probably the easiest to use and most feature rich of any phone I’ve ever had, but I still threw it away.

For my whole working life I’ve had a phone on my desk.  For  more than half of those twenty years I used about 1% of the features of my deskphone because it was a) too complicated, b) there was no training on how to use it and c) no one else used the features either.  For the last 7 years I have been working with Unified Communications – IP Telephony, Video Conferencing and Collaboration.  The big difference?  The UC guys get the fact that it has to be easy.  No stupid symbols on a handset that look like a dog’s ear or the best one: two circles – what the hell does that mean Ericsson?  The smart guys, the UC guys, got the fact that the device had to be simple and elegant yet enable you to achieve more.

For the last two years I have been using Microsoft OCS as my primary communications tool.  If I look at it honestly, my usage is 80% voice, 15% Instant Messaging and 5% video.  And yet with 80% of my usage voice – I still threw my phone away.

For the whole time I’ve used OCS I have had the Office Communicator (MOC) client on my laptop.  When I travel this is what I use exclusively, but at my desk I still used my deskphone.  I realised that I worked differently when I was in another office or working from home to when I was at my desk.  The difference – it was easier when I was away from the desk!  The MOC is simple, visual and quite intuitive in that the developers seemed to think about how people work so it thinks the way I do.  I regularly conference people in, forward calls to VM, put calls on hold, transfer calls – all standard PBX functions.  But with MOC the difference is that its easy and anyone with three brain cells can drive it with little to no training.  Try doing that on an old fashioned PBX!

Living with no handset is not for everyone.  It works for me but I understand that some people will still want a handset.  OCS (now Lync 2010) allows that flexibility so you get real choice.  I love this stuff!