Welcome!

Symbian Authors: Jack Newton, Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, Shelly Palmer, RealWire News Distribution

Related Topics: Symbian, Mobile IoT

Symbian: Article

Mobilizing Unified Communications

Taking FMC to the next level

With our dynamic business environment and fluid business models, enterprise communications is becoming increasingly focused on mobility. The associates and managers who are key to supporting customers, resolving production problems, and addressing other critical business tasks can rarely be found at their desks. In spite of this, organizations are under pressure to improve productivity while remaining responsive to customer demands. Those dual goals of responsiveness and productivity have given rise to demands for more functional and effective mobile communications.

Mobility is not a "one size fits all" endeavor. Different users require different capabilities and will need different degrees of mobility. Some users roam only within the building or campus, while others might spend the majority of their time outside the office. That wide area roaming might extend across the city, the country, or around the globe. While initial mobile solutions focused solely on voice access, the development of unified communications has increased the pressure to extend those enhanced communications capabilities to mobile users as well.

In selecting a mobile solution today it is essential that organizations look for suppliers with the widest range of capabilities. That will allow enterprises to provide the feature set required by each user and to deliver those mobile capabilities in the most cost-effective fashion.

Business Goals for Mobile Unified Communications
The earliest enterprise mobility solutions looked solely at delivering voice calls to mobile users, and typically did so with non-integrated cellular services. That approach left each user with two numbers, their office number and their cellular number, making it difficult and inconvenient to reach them. Along with improving voice accessibility, email, text messaging, and applications access have now been added to that list of required mobile services. The biggest development in enterprise networks is presence-capable unified communications (UC) systems. These solutions will allow users to see their correspondents' availability status (in/out of office, on the phone, in a meeting, etc.) in real time and establish voice calls, send emails or text messages or launch multi-point conferences through a simple, intuitive user interface. Increasingly users are looking to have this same type of functional always-on communications extended to their mobile devices.

Before embarking on a mobile product selection, it's important to get a clear understanding of the potential implementations and the business goals the solution will support. High on that list of goals would be:

  • Accessibility: A mobile UC capability can make all of the organization's key personnel available immediately via one number regardless of whether they are at their desks, down the hall, or on another continent.
  • Productivity: The integrated UC dashboard allows mobile users to better manage their time, contacts, and communications. Further, all of their voice and email messages can be consolidated in a single mailbox from which they could reply by voice, text, email, or conference call.
  • Presence: With presence, mobile users can determine in real time which resources are available for what types of communications, while allowing individual users the ability to manage and control their availability.
  • Cost Savings: Research estimates that anywhere from 40% to 60% of cellular calls are placed while the user is within a company facility. Shifting those calls onto wireless LAN facilities can have a major impact on cellular costs.
  • Security and Control: Correctly implemented, mobile UC also gives organizations the ability to control their communications access by ensuring that all incoming calls can be routed through a business number. Furthermore, it is critically important that these capabilities be extended to remote users without jeopardizing the security of sensitive corporate information.

Reviewing the Options
Mobile requirements vary with regard to range as well as functionality. Any mobile solution will involve some type of wireless network, and the two primary options are cellular and wireless LAN; as time goes on, other options such as WiMAX may be added to that list as well. Cellular service is available nationwide, and with the right service and equipment, worldwide. However, organizations are already seeing their cellular charges skyrocket, and cellular coverage may not be optimal in indoor environments. The other option is to route calls over a wireless LAN that entails no service charges. WLAN voice technology has now developed to the point where it can be as secure and reliable as wired telephone service.

The key to a successful mobile solution will be to understand the service and mobility requirements of the various user groups and determine how to provide those capabilities in the most functional and cost-effective fashion. As we analyze mobility requirements, we will typically find a range or user profiles with different mobility and application needs. IT support, production, facilities maintenance, and security personnel may be highly mobile, but only within the facility or campus. Providing voice, email, and applications access to those users represent an excellent potential for WLAN access. That option assumes the wireless LAN has the required capacity and can support the necessary security, quality of service, and battery conservation features.

There are also users such as field sales and service who will divide their time between their office, remote offices, and customer locations. Those employees must be continuously accessible for voice, email, and data access, so a dual mode Wi-Fi/cellular solution might be the perfect fit. Fully automated solutions can detect when users are available over a WLAN, and will automatically route inbound and outbound calls via that network, eliminating unnecessary cellular charges. State-of-the-art solutions can transparently handoff a connection from the WLAN to the cellular network when the user leaves the facility.

Users who spends a large portion of their time on the road or who work in facilities that do not have a voice-capable WLAN will likely have to depend primarily on cellular connectivity for their mobility. However, that cellular service can now be integrated with the wired telephone system. Using a feature called Simultaneous Ring, the user's cell phone number can be stored in the PBX along with their office phone. When a call is received, the PBX can ring the desk phone and the cell phone simultaneously, and the user can answer the call on either. Enhanced solutions can build on that capability by providing a software client that will allow mobile users to access to presence-based directory, visual voicemail (i.e., the ability to view voice message alerts on the mobile device's display), and access to PBX-type features such as hold, conference, and transfer. In some cases, these solutions can also reduce service costs as international cellular calls can be routed over wired network facilities.

Choosing a Partner
As organizations will need to support a variety of these configurations, the key to a successful mobile deployment will be to choose suppliers with the widest range of options. It is important to recognize that some suppliers will offer a range of mobility solutions, but on closer examine you find that they depend on a third-party technology partners and the level of integration varies from offering to offering. The ideal provider is one whose solutions have been developed with an eye toward a consistent look and feel regardless of whether the call is being carried over WLAN, cellular, or a combination of the two.

The ability to deliver the full range of integrated capabilities will become more and more important as presence, visual voicemail, and other productivity-enhancing UC capabilities are added to the mix. Business communication requirements are clearly shifting toward mobility, and enterprise buyers will need reliable partners to deliver the full complement of services to address the full range of business mobility requirements.

More Stories By Wayne Seifried

Wayne Seifried is director of Global Portfolio Marketing Enterprise Mobility at Siemens Communications, Inc.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...