Excellence in Software Engineering
The Existence of the Desk Phones
11 August 2021

Author: Tolga DEMİR, Team Leader – Embedded Systems

Although the worldwide spread of smartphones and UC applications raise some question marks about the future of desk phones, it is certain that this negative change will not occur overnight, and desk phones will continue to a long way ahead, despite some challenges. At this point, the existence of desk phones, the barriers to their development, and the conditions for existing in the future will be questioned as below.

Why do users, companies still prefer desk phones in their daily life?

The following are the key reasons why desk phones are still preferred.

  • Its primary goal is to serve as a professional voice communication tool and does it correctly.
  • It is always on and ready to use.
  • It provides secure communication.
  • It provides good voice quality and a pleasant loudspeaker experience despite the bad signal strength and poor sound quality problems encountered on mobile phones from time to time.
  • Although covid-19 has significantly affected some established approaches, the accepted working order in the world is still working in an office environment.
  • There is still the need for a fixed telephone that associates employees and institutions together in daily business life.
  • There is a fact that UC applications are not widespread enough in all business lines.
  • Even though organizations are actively using a UC application that they choose within their structure, different companies use different UC applications and as a result, the need for desk phones that offer a common communication channel continues.
  • Although the cost of a mobile phone call is decreasing, desk phone call costs are still lower.
  • IP-based desk phones offer their users video call, conference, HD voice, Bluetooth, and user-friendly enhanced functionality.
  • Unlike desk phones, PC-based solutions require a PC that is always ready (logged in, standing LAN connection).
  • Organizations that have a widespread communication ecosystem such as hotels, shopping malls, and government institutions cannot easily give up desk phones to replace them with mobile phones or UC applications. In this type of business, there may not be a need for well-equipped, high-cost phones, but the demand for low-cost desk phones will continue.
  • Considering the amortization costs, the organizations will be willing to use their established communication infrastructures until their present usage period expires.


What barriers are standing in the way of the progress of desk phones?

  • With the widespread use of mobile phones worldwide, according to Gartner’s report, smartphone sales are expected to increase by 11% worldwide in 2021. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-02-03-gartner-says-worldwide-smartphone-sales-to-grow-11-percent-in-2021 
  • With the new world order caused by the Covid-19, the popularity of UC applications has increased even more. In its 2020 study, Gartner forecasted a 25% increase in UC-based solutions, and this trend is expected to continue in the following years. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-06-02-gartner-says-worldwide-end-user-spending-on-cloud-based-web-conferencing-solutions-will-grow-nearly-25-percent-in-2020 
  • Softphone applications are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Apart from voice calls, UC applications provide users with additional features such as video calls, screen sharing, dynamic meeting environments with large participants, etc.
  • PC-based communication costs are lower considering the infrastructure requirement, all you need is an internet connection.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic showed that desk phones are not as flexible as PC-based communication solutions due to fixed infrastructure requirements in working from home.
  • Videophone costs are higher compared to PC and offer limited screen resolution to its users.
  • Trend on shifting from real-time communication (phone calls) to non-real-time communication (text messages, planned meetings).
  • New communication protocols have a small footprint such as Web RTC. 
  • With decreasing demand on high-cost desk phones that offer the same features for institutions that interact primarily through UC apps and mobile phones. Therefore, they start to choose cheaper phones, and mostly a basic phone call is enough for them. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why TDM phones are still in use.
  • Decrease in mobile phone call costs day by day
  • The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is gaining traction around the world.


Which features should desktop phones support to keep their position in the market?

  • Successful integration of desk phones into UC applications to continue their role as a part of communication in business life.
  • Offering video call features to their users as an option.
  • Secure and quality sound experience with better audio codecs.
  • The messaging feature for non-real-time communication. It may be a feature welcomed by the younger generation.
  • Wi-fi support to reduce installation costs.
  • Bluetooth integration with mobile phones.
  • User-friendly UI designs and enhanced FPK features.
  • Apart from their fundamental features, desk phones can be used as gateways in the IoT concept and offer other features to its customers, such as remotely operating an IoT device. For instance, it can be a part of emergency alert, patient monitoring, or smart building applications.

Apart from the features listed above, desk phone vendors will also need to diversify their portfolios with different products such as media phones, mobile phones, and softphones to protect their market share and stay in the future, and they may use various cooperation models to do so.

When we consider the superior sides of desk phones and their lacking/improvable aspects in terms of other technologies, it seems that with the decreasing demand, it will continue to exist in the market for many years to meet the needs of the institutions.

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