For the past few years a little USB speakerphone has been a constant fixture on my desk. This fact was initially driven by my UK-based coworkers who have a habit of using Skype. Most of the Skype traffic was simply IM, but once in a while it would escalate to a voice call. In those cases I needed a suitable audio device, but it wasn’t routine enough to merit keeping a headset immediately available.
Over time I started to see increasing value in using other soft phones as well. At first it was for the convenience of being able to effectively turn any PC I happened to be working on into a phone. The scope of this sometimes goes beyond telephony. For example, I’ve used a USB audio device to record screencast training movies. Since server class motherboards often don’t have built-in audio interfaces, using a USB attached device makes it possible to record the narrative of the training on the host system along with the screencast.