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DISA Officials Eye ‘soft phones’ to Reduce Costs

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

FORT MEADE, Md., Aug. 9, 2013 – Officials from the Defense Information Systems Agency today described plans to reduce operating costs through the use of expanded voice-over internet protocol.

DISA official Cindy Moran called the proposed changes a milestone toward enhancing the joint information environment connecting war fighters. Users long tethered to desk phones and computer screens would instead receive tablets or laptops with telephone applications as part of their software.

“It just becomes an application on your computer instead of handing you a suitcase full of different devices to do work that can all be done on your computer,” Moran said.

Cost as well as convenience and practicality play a significant role in the shift, officials said. 

“An IP telephone to sit on a desktop today can cost anywhere from $300-500 a telephone, depending on capabilities … directories and what the features are,” Moran explained. “A soft phone is $50 – from the same vendor.”

For telecommuters who only need a headset and a $50 licensing fee for the software, the decision makes financial sense to DISA officials.

“The savings to the department for that person who may not need a desktop telephone is significant,” Moran said.

DISA officials described their plans at a Forecast to Industry Day event here, and say they intend to roll out the pilot of unified capabilities, including Outlook Exchange, desktop and phone switches in the coming months.


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