When looking for a provider for your unified communications system, at some point you will be presented with some options for desktop phones or other devices. If you choose devices that can be taken with you in case you decide to go with another provider, you will get some benefits.
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When you purchase devices for use in your UC system, the service provider will most likely install some firmware and configuration files to customize the hardware for your particular deployment. While this may seem permanent, for most VoIP phones, this can be updated at a later time for another service.
Keep this is mind when you make an investment in hardware, if you even decide to go that route, as soft phones are continuing to improve in quality and reliability, as well.
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Finding devices that are not branded as the service provider itself (such as Cisco and Avaya) will generally work on multiple platforms. Investing in these provider agnostic devices will grant you a handful of benefits:
- Ability to take your phones to your next service provider, in the event you choose to leave: when signing a contract for service, you are never thinking of ending that relationship, but things can happen. It is smart to leave options open.
- Greater customizability for the device itself, often through web portals: in order to be available to the greatest number of possible systems, these devices have to be open to customization. This can manifest in many ways, from programmable line keys to uploading personalized images to the background of the phones.
- Ability to find replacement devices through sources that are not necessarily your service provider: while few UCaaS providers make a lot of money through selling phones, it is often possible to shop around for better pricing if you need replacements or add to your PBX.
Keep these things in mind as your make your buying decision, because the choices you make now can turn into key benefits down the road.