I've been thinking about how the Apple iPad could really disrupt the VoIP space and become your next desktop phone
. Think about the impact to companies such as Cisco
, and others. While these companies do offer low-end IP desktop phones, they have higher margins on the high-end large color screen IP phones that sport advanced features like RSS feeds (weather, news), collaboration, and video conferencing.
Take for instance the Aastra BluStar media phone
, which sports a 13" touch screen that achieves true HD 720p video conferencing at a rate of 30 fps or the Polycom VVX 1500
, which sports a a 7" color touch-screen and 2MP camera. Both IP phones are over $650, while the latest iPad 2 can be had for $450 (16GB model). The iPad can do everything these two IP phones can and more. The iPad 2 can run hundreds of apps from the App Store, surf the Web, take pictures, capture video, join a Webex or GoToMeeting session, have a Skype
voice or video call, connect to a PC/laptop using a RDP (Remote Desktop) client, and much more. Why pay >$600 for a high-end IP phone when you can have a much more versatile iPad for the same price?
As the CTO of TMC
I am responsible for choosing the best available technology at the best price and is the most future-proof. Currently, I sign-off on traditional IP phones, mobile phones (some employees like sales personnel), laptops for many employees, and tablets (iPads) for some personnel. Why wouldn't I simply buy an iPad which can be used to replace the desktop phone? Also, an iPad tablet can replace a laptop in most instances, which is pretty obvious. But I could go a step further and have the iPad replace the mobile phone
as well. Assuming the iPad has a 3G data plan (not just WiFi), a SIP softphone, and a Bluetooth headset, an iPad user can make or receive calls to their iPad from anywhere there is 3G or WiFi coverage. I just killed three birds (laptop, mobile phone & desktop phone) with one stone (iPad).