Physical handset for softphones?
May 22, 2008 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Handset that works with softphones? As universal as possible.

I'm starting to look at options for a business that wants to move to VOIP of one kind or another someday. Which vendor, protocol, etc to go with is not even close to decided yet.
What has been decided:
1) We don't want a VOIP system with complicated Cisco handsets or the like that require everyone to re-learn how to make a phone call. We already have problems with most people refusing to learn how to do simple things like transfer a call using their existing PBX, so we're definitely not willing to have to learn seven new steps to make a phone call on a mini-computer masquerading as a phone.

2) Hearing that, I suggested softphones with headsets. Reply to that was although there were a few people who were on the phone behind their desk all day and would happy to wear headsets, most users would want some kind of device that they could "pick up and answer/dial" instead of wearing a headset or fumbling to get one on every time the softphone rang.

So it seems I'm now looking for either an adapter for their existing paid-for desk handsets (RJ11 at phone, USB at PC, mystery box in between?) that would control a softphone client - OR some kind of replacement handset that would act as a physical accessory for a softphone client.

I've used a Philips VOIP 080 myself, and liked it, but it fails in that it is Skype-specific and also too flimsy/lightweight to really be a replacement for a "real" phone. But some kind of more universal USB phone peripheral should exist out there somewhere.

My first research for this, and the fact that they are a pretty loyal MS shop makes me think that they may go with MS Unified Communications blah blah in the end, with the simplest "Tanjay" phone made. But it seems that that product isn't quite done cooking yet; I'd also prefer that whatever USB phone peripheral not "marry" them to one particular software/client/VOIP protocol.

So does anyone know of a fairly universal USB "phone" peripheral?
Or something that will connect a standard PBX-type phone in such a way that it could control a softphone, without specificying which softphone client is used?
posted by bartleby to Computers & Internet
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