You old softie…

If you already know how to add a softkey template to a 3905, 8961, 9951 running as a SIP phones, you get a gold star, a free pass, and an opportunity to move along, there’s really nothing to see here.

But, if you’re like me, a voice engineer that spends a good deal of time supporting older releases and older models of phones, here’s something you might not have run into as of yet.

To configure a softkey template on one of these newer phones running as SIP, your old ways are useless and will leave you feeling puzzled and shunned by devices that should obey your every whim.

Why is this?  Well, even though you can still apply a Softkey Template on the phone configuration page of these new SIP phones, the device will just ignore it, much like an insolent teenager ignores a parent telling them to get a hair cut or turn that music down.

So what’s the deal?

Let me introduce you to the concept of a Feature Control Policy.  A Feature Control Policy allows you to select options that you are traditionally used to defining on a softkey template, but because everyone *loves* change, you now get to define them here – in the place nobody bothered to tell you about.

To create a Feature Control Policy, go to Device -> Device Settings -> Feature Control Policy and Add New.

Yours will look something like this:

Only yours will be wrong if it looks like this.

You see, it isn’t enough that this process changed entirely from the old way of doing it, BUT, the process has one more trick for you to overcome.  Just checking the Enable Setting box for the feature you want to show up on your phone doesn’t cut it.  You gotta go that extra step and check the Override Default box for your option as well.  Why?  Because the interface designers have a dastardly sense of humor is my guess.  Whatever the reason, check the column on the left and the column on the right for your desired feature, otherwise the results will be rather disappointing.

To apply this beautiful gem of a Feature Control Policy you just created, you need to assign it to the phone. You can do so on the phone configuration page. Be sure to go ahead and reset your device.

So that’s it. Note that there is no re-ordering of buttons in this brave new world.  Your button order is predetermined and no you cannot bribe it to display otherwise, no matter how many beers are offered to the networking gods.

Published 11/13/2012