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Plugged in or out?

We are a nation reliant on immediacy and fewer words thanks to phone trends. While shopping at Nordstrom, an employee approached me asking if I’d like to buy a pair of shoes I was holding. I politely answered with “probably so,” and before I could contemplate a firm and final decision, she captured the moment by unloading the heavy shoes from my arms as though she was assisting me and started scanning them with her smartphone right in the aisle!

Fast forward to dinner later that evening. The waitress arrived at the table asking if I had any questions about the menu. I did, and in lieu of answering verbally, she pulled out a tablet, and my question about the size of the entrée was answered via a beautiful image in seconds.

Plugging in has never been easier, and it’s no wonder retailers and restaurants are catching on to this fast-moving consumer-engagement trend of instant scanning!

This trend leads me to another phone-related trend: landlines. It’s a basic question, but one many families have been asking for quite some time. Should you cut your ties to your home or office landlines?

One of the most common problems faced by those contemplating this is the question of safety should there be an emergency. When you dial 911 on traditional home phones, your call is routed to a local response center. Via a cellular phone, you are connected to a law enforcement agency in your area, but minus the capability of a call from a landline, where the emergency response center instantly receives your current location, which is obviously a serious concern if you are injured or can’t speak.

It’s for this location-detecting reason law enforcement agencies advise people to call from a landline whenever possible. Another consideration: What if your cell phone needs a charge in the midst of an emergency and you’re without a backup? Also, home security systems often rely on hardwired connections to allow communication to their monitoring centers. Many services are capable of using your broadband Internet connection, but lack of a phone line could be a deal breaker if for some reason you haven’t opted for a high-speed cable or fiber optic connection.

This leads me to corporations, such as Ford’s Detroit headquarters, that have almost completely removed landlines, claiming a major savings and opportunities to free up their staff from being bound to desks. College professors are chiming in too, stating their student interaction is up because they are reaching students on the devices they use most, while most dorms have removed landlines altogether.

Last week, while summarizing his 2013 goals and resolutions, a prominent chain president shared he was expecting his staff to remove landlines at their headquarters. Why? He would simply like to see the office follow his staff instead of the staff following the office. Think about it. Light-bulb moment?

What are your plans during the next phone generation movement? Have landlines outstayed their welcome thanks to cellular options, VoIP or a combination of both? Feel free to chime in on what the pulse of this trend means to you!

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