It’s often said that it takes only 20 days to form a new habit. And if we have learned anything in the past five months working from home, it’s that new habits form much faster than we could ever have imagined.
If you had told me six months ago—weeks before the world shut down due to a global pandemic—that I’d be conducting every meeting I had on video chat, I would have thought you were out of your mind. After all, how could in-person meetings, productivity, creativity, and collaboration ever happen without face-to-face interaction? Well, here we all are.
Just half a year into a pandemic and I and everyone I know is happy to log into a video call—it seems commonplace now and offers every bit as much productivity and collaboration as the old face-to-face way.
But with all of this new adaptation of technology and subsequent new habits comes commonplace challenges that many are trying to overcome. Whether you are in the private or public sector, when you moved to a home office environment there was a very good chance you were given a laptop and a phone, and nothing more.
And although that may sound fine (or at least normal), having only one device—to work with, host calls with, use to connect via video, and so on—is not nearly enough. The screen clutter alone during a basic Microsoft Teams call takes up an entire screen, rendering your laptop useless for any other task for the duration of the call. While this may seem like a quintessential first-world problem—one pillow being too little but two pillows being too much—it’s actually a very real and common plight.
The absence of screen real estate means a lack of productivity, and whether it’s just meeting notes or reviewing documents in a multi-person screen share, one screen just doesn’t cut it. This is where Lenovo comes in with its new ThinkSmart View device, touted as a fully dedicated Microsoft Teams device that’s voice-ready right out of the box. I have to say, after buying one, they are not wrong.
Interestingly enough, this small device seems at first to be a one-trick pony, but it actually has many tricks. This smart office device handles videoconferencing, content viewing, and more—none of which has to be on your laptop or desktop, ever again. Oh, and the sound and video quality is stellar.
Furthermore, due to its integration with Microsoft Teams, you can also connect it to your IP phone system, enabling phone system features such as answering and initiating calls via an integrated dial pad, call holding and retrieving, call forwarding and simultaneous ringing, call history, voicemail, and emergency calling. (This requires a calling plan license from Microsoft.)
So it begs the question: did Lenovo just render the desk phone extinct? Many may argue that nothing will ever replace the desk phone and, for some, I’m sure that’s true. But is that not the same thing as the argument that working from home isn’t productive, yet studies now show the productivity of people working from their home office is up 25%+.
The world is evolving, adapting and forming brand-new habits. The fact that the majority of office workers abandoned their desk phones five months ago is proof that the aforementioned evolution is now happening in real time. I personally don’t miss my desk phone; it did nothing that my mobile device couldn’t replace. But with video calls being the new normal, and a laptop often being the sole device on a desk, Lenovo’s ThinkSmart View may very well be the final nail in the coffin of the old-school phone, as users opt for a device that does everything a phone can, and so much more.