It’s official. I cut the cord, threw away my desk phone and moved to a hosted unified communications client. The only vestige of a telephone in my workspace is a headset plugged into the USB port of my laptop computer and there’s no looking back. Wherever my laptop goes, my phone goes and working from home just became that much easier. My desk looks a lot less cluttered and cleaner, however, I must admit to feeling somewhat naked without a traditional handset keeping me company.
I’m really enjoying video calls, presence integration, clicking on people’s names to call them and enriched on-the-fly collaboration a lot more than I thought I would. Call quality is great and moving to UC has been very positive overall, still, there are a few “gotchas” which I had not anticipated when making the transition from “dabbling in” to “relying on” UC. As a casual user certain things just don’t register, so I figured my experiences could help prepare anyone looking to take the plunge in the near future. It is in that spirit that I present to you my top 10 countdown with a UC twist.
Top 10 downsides of moving to UC
- Fumbling for the mouse and headset when the phone rings. Sure there are handsets and conferencing pods you can buy to mitigate this change in experience, but I’m going native.
- Software updates which require a re-boot (say mid-conference call) just became that much more disruptive.
- Launching that processor-intensive software application mid-call can result in a brief moment of poor call quality
- Not all public WiFi hotspots are created equal. Delay when browsing the web is a lot more tolerable than during a phone conversation.
- I can run but I can’t hide. I have not yet discovered how to make my presence invisible, so folks whose calls I was previously ignoring with impunity now know I’m ignoring them.
- I get to my desk just in time for that 8:00 AM conference call, however, my computer still needs to boot before I can join that conference call (unless I use my cell phone, that is)
- My new habit: sweeping my tongue across my teeth in hopes of catching any stow-away broccoli bits before answering a video call.
- VPN now stands for Veritable Phone Nuisance because I cannot make a phone call unless I’m logged in. Then again, previously I could not take my desk phone with me, so I have to say this is a net improvement.
- Don’t assume it works. I learned the hard way using the brand new web collaboration for the first time during a 15 person call with an external audience. Enough said. (and yes, I should have known better)
- The lighter spot on my desk where my phone used to sit (surrounded by a slightly darker dust stain) still haunts me.