NSW Cancer Council ditches desktop PCs, phones forever


blog ‘Mobility’ has been one of the hottest buzzwords in Australian IT departments for some time now. Smartphones, tablets, laptops — and allowing users to access their corporate data wherever they feel is the most appropriate place and time and in the most appropriate format — these are all the hallmarks of the new evolving mobility landscape inside major and minor organisations.

However, few have taken it to the extremes that the NSW Cancer Council has. iTnews reports on a landmark shift at the organisations (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“By this time next year, the NSW Cancer Council expects to have rid itself of nearly every desktop PC and desk phone in the 350-person organisation.”

The approach that the NSW Cancer Council is taking — replacing desktop PCs with laptops, tablets and hybrid laptop/tablets, and desk phones with Skype headsets and the Skype app on smartphones — doesn’t appear that radical, on the face of it.

Laptops and smartphones have become very powerful these days, and the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft has meant that the dream of pushing as much voice traffic through softphones on employees’ desktops, or through their mobile phones, is closer than ever. All the pieces of this puzzle have been in place for some time.

But rarely have we seen in Australia a situation where an organisation has pushed things as far as the NSW Cancer Council appears to have in this internal transformation. The organisation appears to have set this approach as organisation-wide policy. If employees want traditional computer and telephone infrastructure, they had better try and find somewhere else to work.

On the one hand, I feel as though this is a transformative and needed shift. I personally make most of my phone calls these days through a headset in which my iMac connects to my iPhone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. For conference calls I also use Skype. There is no desk phone in my office.

And yet, as I sit at my desk and look at my three 27″ monitors, with my stellar fixed-line cat6 Ethernet cable connecting my iMac to the rest of my home network, I also wonder whether the NSW Cancer Council’s approach would fit all. There are many workers, I suspect, who are not going to do their best work through a laptop and Skype headset.

I suspect this extreme mobility push is going to take its place as part of the corporate IT paradigm: But that it is not going to become the setup for everyone, everywhere.


  1. I haven’t had landline, telephone or desktop PC for years. Been doing quite well with mobile phones, tablets and laptop with hdmi monitors

    • I don’t think the Microsoft Display Dock is going to get anywhere in the short term. The reviews have been terrible.

      In the three to five year time frame, however … definitely. Microsoft NEVER gives up.

      • To my mind, it’s not about the hardware/design, but more the concept. I’ve been predicting something like that would come along for 5 years at least. It’ll start off “niche”, but it’s the ideal setup for busy business types on the go (maybe even busy on the go journos ;))

      • Its a generational thing

        Some people want to physical feel of talking someone on phone. Rather then digital click, Something feel good about analog touch that reliable or doesnt need recharging.

        Then you have people grew up in the 90/00’s whom grew up on the internet. They can handle a good softphone if there no alternative and the interface isnt a POS.

      • Lets not forget about the failed Ubuntu Edge Phone that was touting just this in 2013. Certainly it would have irked a lot of people back in 2013, but the evolving environment suggests that if they had another crack at it today, there possibly would be much greater acceptance.
        This will be the way of the future. Covergence of the technologies is just a matter of time.

      • “Microsoft NEVER gives up.”
        How about that Zune, Games for Windows service and ‘Plays Everywhere’, eh? Still going strong!!!

  2. Mobility for knowledge workers is definitely the way of the future, with the flattening of management structures and the off-shoring of low value work the ability for teams to work when and where they need provides opportunities for businesses to create value that was being missed through fixed work positions.

    When you look around an office today there is less paper than ever before and on-line provision of processes and source data has “never been better” enabling people to move with their sources rather than be defined by where there source material is housed.

    In my opinion it’s the choices for what an organisation makes to go mobile that will define how well it will work for them short and long term, as there needs to be consideration to ensuring that there is usability for both the worker and sustainability for the IT teams and the organisation. No one wants to invest in this only to have it fall over through underlying incompatibility between product sets.

    I say good luck to NSW Cancer Council I hope it works for you.

  3. Assuming these employees are still sitting at desks… I don’t envy them having to hunch over a laptop.

    • “I don’t envy them having to hunch over a laptop.”

      Indeed. I trust that proper attention has been paid to ergonomics with docking stations and full keyboards and monitors for desk use.

      As for Skype… well its a proprietary system. There are perfectly good standards based IPT implementations. Looks like a package from MS. Does that mean the future is bright the future is MS whenever new applications are considered?

      Now, who engineered their network to ensure that their IPT solution works well?

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