For over a century, the deskphone was the primary method of communications for workers around the world, but in an era of increasing mobility and software communications tools, the deskphone isn't as dominant as it once was. That doesn't mean that the deskphone is dead, though.
This week, Alcatel-Lucent announced new deskphone hardware as well as an update of its OpenTouch unified communications suite.
"OpenTouch is a client server solution," Jean-Francois Rey, OpenTouch Solutions Director, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise, told Enterprise Networking Planet. "It can be on-premises or hosted in the cloud."
Rey explained that the OpenTouch client environment is called OpenTouch Conversation. It runs on Windows, iOS, Android, and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Smart DeskPhones. In the new OpenTouch Suite 2.1 release, Alcatel-Lucent has added enhanced visual and mobile communications capabilities. Those capabilities extend to mobile deployments as well as the deskphone.
Alcatel-Lucent isn't just updating software that can run on deskphones. It's also rolling out enhanced deskphone hardware with the new 8088 Smart DeskPhone.
"It's the evolution of our deskphones at the high end, with HD video and UC integration," Rey said.
While the OpenTouch Suite is the application that runs on the 8080, the bare metal operating system is Linux. The 8088 deskphone includes a 7-inch touch screen color display and has an HDMI interface to connect an external monitor. The 8088 deskphone includes a 5-megapixel camera with an ambient light sensor. Rounding out the 8088's capabilities are wideband audio and Bluetooth 2.1.
While deskphones might not have people lining up to buy on launch day, they still have a place in the modern enterprise. Rey commented that there was a session at the Enterprise Connect conference this week called "Deskphone: Going, going but never gone," and each vendor on the panel commented that customers do still order and are asking for phones.
"Two thirtysomethings in the audience both said they don't see them going away yet, but maybe in the next 30-40 years they might," Rey said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.