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META Group Says Renewed Interest In PC And Telephone Integration

[December 16, 2003]

META Group Says Renewed Interest In PC And Telephone Integration

The traditional business PC is changing to reflect the demands of the business, according to META Group, Inc. Some of the major changes will be in the design and type of systems used to outfit end users. One area that continues to be contentious is the integration of the personal computer with end-user telephony. For most users, the telephone and computing infrastructures remain disconnected. However, there is a renewed interest in combining both of these end-user communication points, partly due to the growing interest in voice over IP and desktop conferencing.

"Although we are skeptical that most users will actually end up combining their trusty telephones with their PCs, there are definite areas for synergy ? particularly in the access to complex voice mail and conferencing features," said Steve Kleynhans, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services. "We expect PC access to dialing -- as well as integration of voice mail -- and e-mail inboxes to become commonplace by 2006."

User environments are growing increasingly complex. Unified inboxes, real-time information feeds, and instant messaging require information displays that are continually available, which drives a need for more screen real estate. Increasing screen real estate through multiple monitors has been common in high-value environments such as traders' desks or operations consoles.

"Web conferencing is an example where multiple monitors could be immediately beneficial to a large number of users," said Kleynhans. "A user often has a presentation displayed on one screen, while taking notes or chatting with participants on another screen. Arranging multiple windows on a single monitor is awkward and limiting, whereas having dual monitors would make it much easier. By 2006, we expect 40% of new information worker environments to include dual monitors."

IT organizations will need to extend beyond focusing solely on device considerations and become more involved in the overall space-planning activities concerning end-user workspaces. Organizational productivity will be advanced by enabling users to more efficiently access a broader range of information and more effectively communicate with others.

"Organizations must begin to take a more holistic view that puts an increased emphasis on the items that surround the PC," said Kleynhans. "They need to look beyond traditional desktop configurations and embrace new options to enable a rich information worker platform."

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