CloudTC Glass 1000
The Future of Office Telephones Has Arrived
Office equipment is a subject with very little sex appeal. Aside from the Herman Miller Aeron chair which was introduced in 1994, the past 30 years of office equipment have been as boring as beige wrap-around desks or the muted gray modular office partitions that form cubicle walls. The primary function of office equipment often overrides its aesthetic appeal, so devices like staplers, paper shredders, and hole punches fade into the background. Even the office computer has become a boring item one expects to find at a desk. And then there’s the CloudTC Glass 1000 – an attractive and highly-functional office phone which stands out not just because it is unlike anything you have ever seen on a desk before, but also because it makes you wonder why it has taken so long it to arrive.
The Glass 1000 is an office phone with a built-in Android tablet. The phone’s capabilities run as apps on the phone, providing the functions one would expect from an office phone: Making and receiving calls, speed-dial, selecting speakerphone or headset, forwarding and setting Do Not Disturb status, and conference calling. Additionally, since the phone runs the Android operating system, it ties in nicely to Google Gmail accounts, which makes it quite simple to add all your contacts to your phone. Additionally it has a visual calling log and the ability to send and receive messages (email), as well as a web browser. For some office personnel, this could replace the computer at their desk. For laptop users, this will be a second screen, which is especially helpful if your laptop is in the 11”-14” range.
What makes the Glass 1000 a thoroughly modern device is that it ties into CloudTC’s flexible VOIP (voice over IP) system on the back-end, which means it runs a modern messaging system that automatically saves your configuration information as you add data to your phone. Once you have configured a phone to your needs, it’s a simple three-step process to load that configuration on another handset. This makes it much easier to configure a phone system for a new office than using other VOIP systems like Asterisk Trixbox, where setups are handled on old-fashioned Cisco phones. The IP address is displayed on the home screen, which is helpful should you ever need to troubleshoot.
The Glass 1000 incorporates an Android tablet, making this phone more upgradeable than any other VOIP phone on the market.
Since the screen which is built into the Glass 1000 is Android-based, it’s already compatible with hundreds of thousands of apps available from the Google Market, the Amazon Market, and CloudTC’s upcoming CloudTC Market – which will contain hand-selected apps that may prove to be especially useful in your particular business environment. And if you’re worried that your employees might install apps that you don’t want on their phones, it’s possible for managers to lock down the environment so that the only apps they can run are ones that you have approved. A few useful apps that you might want to add to the phone are Simple In/Out, Evernote, SalesForce, and a data syncing and storage app like Google Drive, Dropbox, or SkyDrive. The Glass 1000 is a cutting-edge product, so one would expect CloudTC to add more features over time; since the Glass 1000 incorporates an Android tablet, this phone will be upgradeable to an extent that no other VOIP phone is, which is, as you might guess, another selling feature.
What are the downsides to the Glass 1000? Well, like most modern phones, if you lose power, you can’t use the phone; this is true of any IP phone, including ones from Cisco, Avaya, and Polycom. Additionally, if your Internet connection drops, you will be unable to make or receive calls – another issue that applies to any VOIP phone system. As you might guess, it is important to have your Internet router connected to a UPS (uninterruptable power supply). It is also a good idea to run a UPS at each desk as well, since you’re not just providing battery power to the phone, but also protecting any computer at the desk from surges and brownouts. The third issue is the price – the Glass 1000 costs around $500, roughly $200 more than the Polycom SoundPoint IP 560. Factoring in the benefits of the additional functionality and flexibility, as well as the reduced maintenance time required, the Glass 1000 is worth the additional cost. Finally, if your organization relies on Microsoft Exchange for messaging and shared calendars, you will want to sync your Exchange server to your Glass 1000 using a Google account (free), or run an app such as TouchDown ($20). TouchDown also integrates with Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise messaging systems.
I’m not a big fan of reading superlatives and hyperbole in product reviews, but the Glass 1000 is quite honestly the future of office telephones, and if we’re lucky, home phones as well. The reason for this is that managing traditional office phones takes considerably more time, energy, and digging around in manuals than the easy-to-use Glass 1000. Having a nearly 9” display panel thoroughly obliterates the teeny-tiny text found 3” panels found on competing phones, and since there are thousands of developers already producing high-quality apps for Android, we can expect to see more innovate apps for telephony now that they have such an exquisitely-designed phone on which to test their apps. I highly recommend you check out the Glass 1000 to see for yourself what an office phone should look like.