IP-enabled iPhone: The Ultimate Contact Center Handset?

| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

IP-enabled iPhone: The Ultimate Contact Center Handset?

Imagine being able to take and make calls, receive e-mails, IMs, and SMS, and at the same time manage web-enabled applications like hosted CRM and workforce management in a convenient, go-anywhere, user-friendly wireless appliance.

Imagine no more being tangled up in cords, or fiddling with multiple (and expensive) gadgets.

Imagine having at last a truly usable phone for home workers, including contact center agents and supervisors.

The hard reality is that when you are working from home you do get interrupted, like for deliveries, plumbers, other contractors, family responsibilities: which beats productivity and cost-wise having to leave early/arrive late to handle when working in a traditional office. Such a device would enable you to stay in touch and keep on the go while signing documents, giving instructions, etc.

The reality of having such a tool may be closer than you may think: in the form of an IP-enabled iPhone that acts like a mutant cordless handset.

Give the credit and kudos to Group Publisher Rich Tehrani who revealed in his blog just before ITEXPO West how the iPhone can become the ultimate (and universal) handset via IP by using the extra wire connected to the headphone jack.

This is roughly similar in concept to the Hutchison Telecom Telepoint hybrid cordless/microcellular units marketed in the UK in the early 1990s which if you were in range of one of these base stations you could make calls. I used to live and work near Manchester, England where this was launched and saw these 'points' but I never witnessed anyone using them. You could also use the devices at home as cordless sets.

What I'd like to see is someone to bring back the Tandy TRS80-T100--the first truly functional portable computer: the ultimate tablet--with 21st centry functionality.

The T100 combined word processing, BASIC, a small but readable screen, a built-in modem, and a a rugged keyboard: features that made it the journalist's best friend. You could, using an acoustic coupler, zap files over a pay phone. I used the clamshell model, the T200, when I wrote for the Manchester (N.H.) Union-Leader over 20 years ago, and it far beat most laptops I've relied on since.

I and other journalists, programmers, and other keyboard-intensive users have been reluctant to switch over to BlackBerries, etc. because the keys and pads are too small and unforgiving for us two-fingered demons, and the screens are way too small. The tablets that have come on the market in recent years lacked usability.

What are firms like Apple, and they and other practical geniuses who can box and package proven technologies waiting for?

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