Our district began the process of selecting a new telephone system yesterday by inviting three vendors of popular VOIP (OK, Voice Over Internet Protocol) products into visit about what we should be looking for in a new system.
The conclusion was made that we need a consultant to help us make this choice.
I've long yearned for products that are "simple." Those that do one thing well and take just moments to learn. I am dismayed when my new electric toothbrush comes with a 14 page instruction manual. When my wristwatch's instruction booklet is three times bigger than the watch. That the instruction tomes for appliances and tools now take up a full shelf in the laundry room at home. When I feel guilty looking at the five remote controls that sit in my family because I know what only a fraction of the buttons are for.
After hearing the "feature sets" of tomorrow's today's telephone - interface with one's e-mail, automatic call routing to cell phones, "who's available" notification, caller ID, BlueTooth hand/head sets, etc. - I worry that we will taking a friendly, useful technology - the POT (Plain Old Telephone) - and turning it into something so confusing it will be used only reluctantly by our staff.
I am already imagining reaction to the six hour workshop on how to place a simple telephone call.
Maybe it is just me, but I'd trade a lot of functionality for a lot less manual reading every time.
The Shakers had it right - 'tis a joy to be simple.