AS THE MOBILE WORKFORCE
continues to grow In-Stat reports there are 20-millionto- 30-million mobile workers in the United States and rely on wireless connectivity to do their jobs, dealers have an opportunity to help those companies streamline their communications and optimize their infrastructures by enabling cell phone handsets to become desksets.
Its clear that everybody today in business is carrying a cell phone. They all have cell phones at the desktop now. The question is whether they are using them at the desktop and how much. For some people that will mean all they use is their cell phone and they dont use their landline, says Carl Lopp, president of Phone Labs Technology Company Inc. In that case, they would like to have an actual telephone they can use to talk on all day long as opposed to a cell phone.
With Phone Labs new Enterprise Telephone, calls can be made and received over the cellular network using the built-in telephone handset or speakerphone.
Phone Labs is one of the companies that can make this happen. Phone Labs Dock-NTalk is a cell phone docking station that connects to a typical corded or cordless telephone, enabling users to make and receive calls over the cellular network on a regular phone handset. It also can be plugged into a key system or PBX to enable individual stations to use the cellular network.
One advantage of this functionality is the ability to take advantage of free on-net mobile minutes. The Dock-N-Talk is ideal for companies that have a mobile workforce where they are calling in all the time. They would call into the mobile line for the company instead of the fixed line. That way, it wouldnt cost them any minutes, says Lopp.
Phone Labs new Enterprise Telephone, which was released at the beginning of May, builds on the Dock-N-Talk by adding a built-in handset and speakerphone. The advantage of that is that you have a full-featured phone that you can connect up, and now you can move your cell phone directory into your desktop phone, Lopp says. Now if you change your phone, break your phone, lose your phone, you can connect up your new cell phone, press a button and load all your numbers in.
Phone Labs Dock-N-Talk allows a user to dock his cell phone and use a corded or cordless phone to make and receive calls over the cellular network.
He says the Enterprise Telephone also supports inbound and outbound text messaging as well as one-touch and voice dialing functions common to cellular handsets.
This summer, Phone Labs will release a third version of the technology, which will add in landline connectivity. Called the Unity Phone, the deskset integrates landline and cellular calling. So, for example, Lopp says you can conference a cellular caller and a wireline caller with a touch of a button.
The Phone Labs units work with POTS lines, Centrex lines and VoIP lines. Lopp, for example, has his docking station hooked up to a phone equipped with an ATA for VoIP calling.
Phone Labs Unity Phone, which will be available this summer, allows a user to merge wireless and wireline calling in one deskset.
Dealers can work directly with Phone Labs or one of its three distributors: National Cellular (NCI), CellAmericas Enterprises Inc. and Jenne Distributors. The price is the same, says Lopp, noting dealers can expect to make a 35-percent-to-40-percent margin. Retail price for Dock-N-Talk is $149.99, the Enterprise Telephone is $199.99, and the Unity Phone is $249.99. The margin is impacted by the addition of cable and Bluetooth modules that connect the cell phone to the dock. Cables retail for $19.99 while the Bluetooth connection is $79.99. The Bluetooth module detects the users presence, connecting and disconnecting as he enters and exits the office, says Lopp. But the cable connection charges the handset when its in the cradle, so many users will get both.
The cellular division of AdvanceTec Industries Inc. also is targeting the handset-turned-deskset market with its AdvanceCommunicator. The system, which has been on the market since 2004, allows users to dock their cell phones and use the built-in handset or speakerphone to make calls over the cellular network. The system supports all mobile networks using Nokia phone models and the Sprint Nextel Corp. network with Motorola Inc. iDEN models. The company is in negotiations with Samsung and Kyocera to support their phones.
AdvanceTecs AdvanceCommunicator(shown here with a Motorola i760) enables a cell phone to be used as a desktop phone and/or computer-assisted dispatch center.
Support for the Motorola phones is under license with the manufacturer, so the AdvanceCommunicator is able to support push-to-talk or socalled walkie-talkie conversations riding the Sprint Nextel network, says Mario Shirley, national sales director for AdvanceTecs cellular division. The killer application and whats most important to your VAR readers is that this is the only device that will allow a [Sprint] Nextel user to record the walkietalkie conversation, says Shirley, explaining that an analog audio port allows the base station to be hooked into an external recording device. The reason this is important, he adds, is that certain entities like first responders police and fire departments are required by the federal government to record conversations pertaining to emergencies. With the AdvanceCommunicator, these groups now can record conversations made between Sprint Nextel users and the central base station. Field users can record their conversations, too, by including a base station in the talk group, Shirley adds.
AdvanceTecs software package enables one-touch dispatch and GPS tracking for mobile workforces over the Sprint Nextel network.
Outside of the public sector, Shirley says private entities, like towing companies, appreciate the accountability that recording offers. Similarly, AdvanceTec Communicator has a software package that enables one-touch dispatch and, with a feature called AdvanceTrack, GPS tracking over the Sprint Nextel network.
The PC software is GUI-based and allows you to convert the laptop or PC into a console, says Shirley, explaining that it mirrors functions in more expensive command and control consoles like those sold by Zetron Inc. for thousands of dollars per seat. My unit is $250 and it will do pretty much the same thing.
AdvanceCommunicator allows you to control all of the calling features of the phone through the PC. You can initiate and terminate all calling, and track all calling, says Shirley, explaining that by clicking on a user name and phone number, you can initiate a phone or push-to-talk conversation. With AdvanceTrack, any GPS-enabled Sprint Nextel phone can be mapped visually with icons on a computer screen. Using the AdvanceCommunicator PC client, you can click on the icon to connect to an individual phone.
AdvanceTec sells the AdvanceCommunicator through a three-tier partner program. Authorized dealers that purchase just a few phones at a time are encouraged to buy through distributors, including Wireless Xcessories Group, TESSCO Technologies Inc. and Technocel. Authorized dealers pay $187.50 for the $250 unit.
Preferred dealers can purchase direct from the manufacturer and qualify for value-added programs as long as they purchase a minimum of four phones per month at $175 each. They can earn sales incentive points that can be redeemed for travel and merchandise. Preferred dealers also have access to co-op funds and market development funds. Gold level dealers commit to 500 units annually, and qualify for on-site training, joint sales presentations and custom sales collateral in addition to co-op and market development funds. They also receive the 500-piece price of $148 on their first order.
|AdvanceTec Industries Inc. www.advancetec.com
CellAmericas Enterprises Inc. www.cellamericas.com
Jenne Distributors www.jenne.com
Kyocera Corp. http://global.kyocera.com
Motorola Inc. www.motorola.com
National Cellular (NCI) www.ncicellular.com
Phone Labs Technology Company Inc. www.phonelabs.com
Sprint Nextel Corp. www.sprint.com
TESSCO Technologies Inc. www.tessco.com
Wireless Xcessories Group www.wirexgroup.com