Steve BrockSeptember 16, 2019

The Gear You Need to Compete

Recently I have spent far too much time watching videos of people that run very long distance “ultramarathons.”  I’m fascinated and awestruck by these ultrarunners.  One thing that is clear is that having the right gear -- equipment that will provide a mix of performance and endurance -- is essential to compete in this sport. 

Employees are engaged in a race of sorts on a daily basis – only their challenges don’t end at 100 miles or 100 kilometers.  To ensure employees can compete, and not fall behind the competition, having the right business communications gear is essential.   It enables them to connect with their teams to develop solutions and then to connect with customers to deliver these solutions. 

Avaya’s State of the Desktop report is unique in the industry – providing a view into the needs and desires of employees when it comes to their business communication gear.   In this blog, we will discuss five important take-aways from this year’s report, and highlight the communications tools that it points to as essential gear for today’s employees – tools that also provide a mix of performance and durability.     

This report is provided free to you from Avaya and can be downloaded here.

#1 – The Business Desk Phone Still Rules

The business desktop phone continues to be the primary communications tool used by over half of today’s business communicators.  Most of this workforce use dedicated phones which offers the opportunity to personalize these devices to fit the needs and desires of each user.

Avaya IX™ IP Phones and the Avaya Vantage™ line of multimedia desktop devices are designed to deliver a highly personalized communications experience.  According to this report, this personalization can significantly enhance employee productivity, satisfaction, and the ability to serve customers

One interesting aspect to ultramarathons is that it is often the work of a team to get the one individual across the finish line.  This is the same when it comes to achieving business goals.  It should be noted that while Avaya phones and devices are designed to work with many UC platforms, combining Avaya phone and device capabilities with Avaya IX™ Workplace software also enables a powerful and frictionless team communications experience. See the related Avaya blog “Sheila’s Business Increases “Flow” to Unlock Their Business Potential”.

#2 – Employees Are Ready for AI on their Desktop

This report offers proof that employees are ready to enjoy the benefits of Artificial Intelligence. They are most interested in the potential for AI technology to automatically enhance the audio or video quality – with over one in three employees wanting this.

The second highest area of interest is to have a Smart Assistant. In some ultramarathons, the runner is allowed to have a “pacer” to assist toward the end of the race.  This person assists in keeping the runner on track toward their end goal.  How many of us have come to rely on Siri or Alexa as part of our daily personal experience?  Employees want to have this same capability in their offices. 

Number three is to be able to automatically translate speech into another language. Face recognition and the prioritization of communications also have high appeal – with one in four employees interested in these.

Avaya Vantage™ is designed to deliver the latest Artificial Intelligence applications to the business desktop. The Avaya IX™ Collaboration Unit brings AI capabilities into the Huddle Room. Take a look at the Avaya Blog “The Rise of the Machines” for more information on how AI capabilities can significantly enhance the business communications experience in each of these areas.

#3 – Your Conference Room is an Obstacle Course

The report indicates that today’s business conference room is actually an “obstacle course” that employees must conquer as they attempt to use technology to support remote collaboration. Today’s meeting room solutions are not meeting the need for simplicity.  To connect back to the marathon analogy, entering a conference call is an “uphill climb” for many employees. It is apparent that employees want solutions that are easier to set-up, start and enter and that work seamlessly with other conferencing applications. They want solutions to provide better sound and video quality and to be more reliable. They also want to be able to share non-verbal information more easily.

Avaya’s Huddle Room solutions, including the Avaya IX™ Collaboration Unit CU360, add easy, instant, seamless collaboration to existing business spaces. Be sure to read the Avaya Blog “It’s Time to Move Your Huddle Rooms to the Cloud”.

For the 30% of employees that prefer audio over video conferencing, Avaya has a complete line of audioconferencing devices, including the newly introduced Avaya IX™ Conference Phone B199.  These devices use Avaya’s unique Omnisound® technology to maximize the audio experience. 

#4 – Your Employees Want Better Headsets

When most people think of marathons, they likely only think about starting, running and finishing.  However, when you take a closer look, there is much more to it – there is training, nutrition, course landscape, and many other aspects including weather conditions.  Similarly, when it comes to using headsets, most people think only of audio clarity -- but this report shows that headset experience extends well beyond this.  One of the highest concerns for employees is that their co-workers may not know that they are in an active call and may attempt to interact with them. The second highest identified concern is the situation where an employee may talk without knowing that they are muted. About one in three employees share these first two concerns.

Another top concern is the need to keep their headset battery charged. About one in four employees also have concerns about potential for hearing damage, not being able to use the headset with all of their many devices, and not being able to easily connect or disconnect the headset.

Avaya IX™ Headsets are designed to deliver professional audio quality to every employee with a wide range of options to suit individual employee preferences. Corded options are available that remove the concern with having to charge the headset battery. Avaya’s unique AcousticEdge™ technology prevents the potential for hearing damage due to long term usage. Avaya headsets also use LEDs to show whether the headset user is in an active call (reducing the potential for co-workers to interrupt) and whether the headset user is muted. In addition, Avaya IX™ headsets provide a Quick Connect feature that makes it easy to connect or disconnect from the associated device. And many connectivity options are available to be used with all the employee’s various devices.

#5 – Smart Devices Can Dramatically Improve the Customer Experience

This report indicates there is significant potential for smart devices to transform the customer experience.  In particular, hotels can use IP Media Devices to turn the in-room phone that has historically been a cost center into a profit center and to differentiate their customer experience. Avaya hospitality customers are using Avaya Vantage™ today to take advantage of this opportunity with the Avaya Intelligent Hotel Room Experience.

More Info on this is available in the blog “AI is Travelling to a Hotel Room Near You!”.

These are just a few of the many findings in this year's report. 

Year over year survey result comparisons show continued shifts toward:

  • open floor plans
  • employees working from home
  • more softphone usage
  • shared business phone usage
  • mobile phone usage

Expectations that the business communications experience will be more like the employee’s personal smart phone also continue to grow.  And this is where Avaya’s vision to bring the smart phone experience to the employee desktop in a way that makes sense for any size of business can make a huge difference in your employee productivity and their ability to serve your customers. 

So to better understand the essential gear that will maximize your business communications potential, be sure to download this report and then check out Avaya’s full line of award-winning innovative phones and devices at www.avaya.com/devices.  Then you can ensure your business will be able to compete in the daily race to increase productivity and customer satisfaction.

State of the Desktop Report

Steve Brock

Steve has broad industry experience that includes the design, engineering and global deployment of innovative communications solutions. Steve has worked with customers all over the world to solve complex consumer and business communication problems. You can follow Steve at @SteveBrockRTP.

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