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Three clues to understand when it’s time to replace your IP telephone

Interview with Pietro Bertera, Global Support & Training Director, Snom Technology- Berlin

Some indicators point out when it would be a good idea to consider replacing your current telephones.

“Would you work with a PC that was made 12 years ago? With an equally outdated telephone?
What if we told you there was a PC in your telephone?”

To be able to say that IP terminals made 12 years ago, like Snom 300 telephones are still in use in tens of thousands of companies is a real record in the IP telephony industry. The well-known Berlin VoIP pioneer has always focused on the quality of the materials they use and the reliability of the technology they launch on the market and has made the longevity of their terminals a trademark. In light of the rapid obsolescence of smartphones, notebooks and PCS which become outdated after two or three years, the life cycle of Snom IP terminals are real jewels in the computer industry. Unlike a diamond, a company telephone, however indestructible it may seem does not last forever.  With the advent of new UCC platforms that are far more versatile than mere telephone systems that date back to the dawn of Voice over IP, and due to the growing need to make use of functionalities provided by desk phones immediately ,the time has come to get new generation terminals. Pietro Bertera, Global Support & Training Director at Snom Technology, reveals the three primary clues.

Inside your IP telephone there’s a real miniature computer. Would you work with a PC made 12 years ago?

A motherboard, a chipset, a memory and a RAM, an LCD display, an operating system with a web interface, hardware components to connect to the company network (Fast Ethernet ndr.), a keyboard and a jack for wired headsets. No, it’s not an old PC but elements that along with the handset were part of the majority of IP telephones a decade ago. Miniature computers in a plastic chassis, responsible for simple tasks: receive and make calls, read the selected number on the display or information relating to the caller’s number and options from the menu of the telephone itself. Modern IP telephones are required to do much more.

– The ability to use new firmware – In more than a decade technology has made great strides in terms of hardware and software. Terminals with an outdated chipset and a limited sized RAM are unlikely be able to handle new  firmware which is designed for more powerful components. It’s a bit like trying to install 64 bit applications on a 32 bit PC, wanting to update Windows 10 with a system with limited megabytes of RAM and hard disk or wanting to integrate it into a complex network architecture with incomprehensible protocols and directories because it is more advanced. In addition to providing IP terminals with new functions new firmware blocks any vulnerabilities. A point that deserves specific observations.

– Security –Again using the parallel with a PC let’s thinks about systems with Windows XP that can no longer be updated with all the ensuring security consequences. In the case of IP telephones that can no longer be updated due to a lack of computational resources it is easy to image the same type of problems. Over time it is easier to abuse an outdated IP telephone to obtain illegal access to the network. If even the old IP terminal is only used to manage phone calls the question of “security” should ring some alarm bells.

– Interoperability –Users perceive the quality and versatility of the UCC solution used in the company through the IP telephones they have on their desks. For this reason Snom in the first place and now many producers of VoIP solutions like the same operators try to ensure maximum interoperability between the terminals and the switchboard.  There are now numerous collaboration and office automation functions that go beyond mere telephony that are provided with modern telephones. What about the new automatic configuration modes and remote management of IP terminals through the switchboard? These are all usable characteristics depending on the level of interoperability between the IP telephones and the telephone platform which undoubtedly make the difference between a patchwork style implementation carried out with necessary compromises and rapid deployment of a large number of telephones (for example: one of the installations carried out in Italy at a well-known university uses more than 11,000 Snom terminals).

If you want a modern UCC solution, perhaps using a cloud, maybe it’s a good time to get rid of your old telephones.

-Design –If we compare IP telephones from a decade ago with the latest next-generation models there’s a world of difference in terms of design. Of course the appearance of terminals is not an essential criteria of choice unless in environments that are particularly careful about the style of the furnishings and accessories. What impression would a visibly obsolete telephone give in a room in a luxury five star hotel or in the executive offices of large corporations? While it’s true that you can’t always tell a book by its cover even the appearance as well as the technology plays its part, but not only. Modern terminals interact with their surroundings. Which would be impossible with old IP telephones. Let’s be honest, paper labels written in pencil to identify function keys have had their day! The time has come for easy to read colour displays.

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