Categories: Collaboration Devices Hybrid Work Innovation

More than a desk phone | The new Desk Phone 9800 Series

When I joined the calling team at Cisco – it’s hard to believe 18 years ago – I was working on connecting mobile phones to our calling platform. Even at that time, many articles were saying “The desk phone is dead.” Fast forward 8 years, I moved to the phones team focused on adding features to integrate mobile phones and desk phones. That year we introduced the 8800 Series, our best-selling family of phones over the last 10 years.

Post-pandemic, recent research tells us that 80% of employers are mandating a full or partial return to office. We also heard challenges with open office spaces, making it clear that the phone would need to evolve to stay relevant in the hybrid office. Some of the challenges are:

  • Organizations are shifting to shared, non-dedicated desks.
  • Users want it to be easy to find a space and have a personalized experience.
  • IT is faced many technologies to create a solution such as – desk reservation devices, visual indicators, and sensors to help monitor desk utilization.

We’ve continuously been gathering insights on desk spaces to figure out what’s needed. COVID changed the playing field by bringing a new dynamic to the workplace – so we engaged customers, analysts, and partners to better understand what challenges IT and users are facing. Initially, working from home brought a massive uptick in headset and video usage.

As we assessed what to do next, we looked at our footprint in the desk market. Over 100 million Cisco desk phones out there – Regular calling users know they offer superior audio quality, while IT teams recognize they are robust, secure, and offer longevity! So, we got to work solving the biggest problems of the desk spaces.

The result is the Cisco Desk Phone 9800 Series. A newly designed line of phones built to transform desk spaces and meet the needs of the modern office.

6 Common Office Problems and How the Desk Phone 9800 Series Solves Them

Here is a look into what we heard from customers, analysts, and partners as their biggest problems. And how this new series is designed to solve them.

1) How to manage desk spaces when employees only come into the office 2-3 days a week?

To make the commute to the office worth it, people want to know they’ll be able to find a spot to make their own when they get there….The Desk Phone 9800 Series solves two problems: Desk reservations and secure login. Now, users will have 3 options to find a desk space:

  1. Via the Cisco Spaces web app before they come to the office
  2. Via Cisco Spaces once they arrive at the office
  3. At the desk, when they see a green LED as available.

Each phone comes with 2 LED lights – a 360 light on the top of the phone that can be seen from a distance, and an arch on the front of the phone. Once a desk is booked remotely, this light turns red so visually people know it’s not available. If available, you guessed it, it’s green and open for use.

Desk Phones + Cisco Spaces are removing the stress of employees wondering if desks are available in the area they want to sit plus providing a personalized space and collaboration capabilities in one device. IT doesn’t need to buy and piece together multiple devices to do this.

2) Open offices can be loud, and employees need to focus.

Employees want to come into the office to connect, collaborate, and learn – but they also need distraction-free time to get work done and focus on private calls. The Desk Phone 9800 Series provides 3 new features to support focused work.

  • Each phone has AI-powered background noise removal.
  • AI-powered background noise removal for both the send and receive sides – meaning that if the person you’re talking to has a lot of background noise, via the phone, you can remove their distractions as well. [on 9861 and 9871 models]
  • The ability to enhance audio quality by taking narrowband audio and making it wideband audio to ensure high-definition audio on every call. [on 9861 and 9871 models]

Also, the new phones ensure a reliable audio connection and now have an enhanced speaker and acoustic enclosure, so users get the absolute best sound experience. When paired with Webex you can use our new Webex companion mode so your Desk Phone and Webex App can work together as one – such as audio on your desk phone and content sharing/whiteboard on Webex App.

All these features remove distractions in your meetings – but when working in open office spaces, you need the ability to completely tune out the world. Cisco offers a complete portfolio of headsets that pair perfectly with your desk phone or laptop.

3) How do we ensure employee safety when we don’t know where they are working?

The solution to this is one of my favorite features yet! Each model of the Desk Phone 9800 Series comes with a built-in and configurable button. We are calling this the “action button” because it is designed for quick and easy access to the most critical needs of your organization. You can configure this button to work in many ways – use cases include emergency calls, security, and IT support.

This feature also exists on our wireless and DECT phones. So, IT teams can build a mixed phone environment for desk workers and mobile workers while maintaining a consistent experience.

4) How do we ensure our communications are private and secure?

With Cisco Secure Development Lifecycle (CSDL), our phones have always had unparalleled end-to-end encrypted security. We are taking a step further on the Desk Phone 9800 Series as the first phones in the industry to feature Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 hardware. Plus, the latest must-have features include TLS 1.3, Secure Boot, image authentication, built-in firewall, runtime defense, and chip protection. These phones set the standard for secure communications and are ideal for organizations that believe security is top of mind.

5) Our company has new sustainability goals. How does the technology we purchase support that mission?

Meet our most sustainable phones yet. Each model of the Desk Phone 9800 Series is comprised of more than 74% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, contains less than 2% paint, are EnergyStar certified, and includes new low-power modes that ensure optimal energy efficiency and usage. In addition, IT can get carbon emission estimates directly in Webex Control Hub. All in addition to our, take-back program that allows technology to securely and simply be reused or recycled.

6) IT teams are under-resourced. How can we make the equipment for desks easier to deploy, manage, and maintain?

Standardizing technology and consolidating vendors are one way IT teams are simplifying their strategy. This saves time and resources at every step – device selection, deployment, and ongoing management and analytics are easier. With the Desk Phone 9800 Series, you can standardize on one of four models that can be configured for both on-prem or cloud. They all run on PhoneOS which was designed to work alongside RoomOS for meeting rooms. This gives users a consistent experience from desk spaces to meeting rooms.

Deployment and management are also more efficient with an NFC tag built into each phone – provisioning can happen without even opening the box. This saves time and resources for larger customer and service provider deployments. From there configurations and troubleshooting can happen directly in Control Hub. When using ThousandEyes, it empowers users with in-depth visibility into network performance and device health – promoting quick and informed responses to any arising issues.


In summary, yes the modern office has desk phones but they have more capabilities than ever before. The Desk Phone 9800 Series is more than a phone – it is transforming desk spaces at scale, bringing the latest innovations to users, IT, and facilities. To learn more about this series, you can check out our product page.

More from Webex at Enterprise Connect 2024:

Published by
John Reeder

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