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Gartner: Businesses Don't Need Fancy IP Phones

Companies are spending big money on expensive screen-based IP phones, even though employees use them much the same way as the old phones.
Businesses migrating to Internet telephony systems over the next five years are expected to spend billions of dollars more for fancy, screen-based phones they don't need, a researcher said Thursday.

Companies today are buying the expensive IP phones, even though employees use them pretty much the same way as the old phones, Gartner Inc. said.

"Ironically, in most businesses, the IP screen phone is placed on the desk beside a PC that has a much bigger and higher-resolution screen," Gartner analyst Bob Hafner said in a statement.

During the next five years, Gartner estimates that business worldwide will buy more than 150 million IP phones. In 75 percent of the purchases, companies are expected to spend at least $150 more for a screen phone they don't need, wasting $20.3 billion, according to Gartner.

Because most of the phones would be used by people working on a PC, a better option would be to buy a low-end IP phone and tie it to the computer with unified communications applications.

These applications would cost about as much as the premium paid for screen phones, while providing far more in productivity with services such as instant messaging, unified messaging, presence, personal agent, conferencing and mobility, Gartner said.

Screen phones, however, have their place. Companies that would benefit from the devices are those with employees who do not have a PC on their desk. Those businesses would include retail, healthcare and manufacturing.

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