Telephones still have a Place in the Modern Office?
This entry was posted on August 9, 2013.
The office, throughout history has been a communications hub, a place where a layered hierarchy of workers sort, sift and transmit information to management and external sources such as customers, branches or management.
An interesting article we read recently on the BBC website ( also aired on radio ) was about the way in which the office environment had changed over the last few decades. Of particular interest was a quote from George Pake, then head of research at Xerox who said in 1975 :
...there will be a revolution over the next 20 years....a television display on his desk...."I'll be able to call up documents from my files on the screen, or by pressing a button," he said. "I can get my mail or any messages. ...
Well, he turned out to have been very right in his assumptions - furthermore we can trace several additional elements which came to change the face of the office over the years such as the Filing Cabinet, The Telegraph and finally the Telephone.
The telephone completely changed the face of business - allowing immediate, real time and affordable communications - they, unlike the telex, the telegraph and the fax machine continue to be the mainstay of this communications centre up until today.
Will Telephones keep their place as the centre of office communications?
In many modern day offices the main medium of communications has now become the PC/ Mac interface, through this we send and receive information, quotes, images, demands and, of course, trivia.
However, with all this silent media, social media and CRM systems there still exists the very deep necessity for human contact. Sales teams establish long term relationships with clients over the telephone - there really is no substitute in many arenas for human contact, though the way in which an office telephone is deployed is changing of course.
For a start the actual system telephones themselves have become more and more complex, functional and integrated. A desktop office telephone can now actually house its own screen, contain a formidable telephone directory and encompass a range of call handling features. An office phone also may connect directly to the Internet to allow VoIP ( the transmission of the voice calls over broadband ) - this solution can allow for much cheaper and manageable calling. Further to these functionality improvements there are a myriad of headsets which can be set up with these telephones, allowing freedom of movement as well as ease of operation - these include Bluetooth™ and DECT Wireless headsets and a variety of headset connections for wired such as USB, Ethernet and RJ11.
So what next then? How will business communications evolve in forthcoming years?
Well, we have seen that in spite of the huge amount of information transmitted over computer screens in the modern office there still is an increasing need for real human contact - we need to hear each other's voices and interact. Although there are a huge number of ways to share information in the 21st Century Office we, like all animals, have to hear each other's voices, as BT said - its good to talk - in essence major improvement in telephony and communications are merely new conduits for voice.