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Are You Thinking Wireless?

By Ian Kieninger, CDW

I recently attended WES 2008, RIM’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES), in Orlando. My company, CDW, has been a long-time RIM partner, but this was the first time I made the trip to their North American channel conference. Like many of you, I find it difficult to allocate time to attend the many conferences and summits that always seem to fall during the spring. However, as wireless becomes a more important and complementary technology to this channel, I decided it was worth the time invested. I must say, the event exceed my expectations. This event drew more than 5,700 attendees and 400 vendors who have a strategic relationship to RIM.

RIM unveiled its new device, which they named Blackberry Bold. A new device release is always an exciting announcement for this group. Of all the 100-plus exhibits set up throughout the conference hall, no line was longer than the one to see the Bold display. RIM had a special viewing room with security that rivaled Fort Knox. The new device has all kinds of upgraded features and applications, but my favorite part is the new HD screen (480 x 320 pixel, half VGA resolution). RIM pre-loaded some movies on the devices, and we were able to demo this incredible feature.

The new keyboard design also is impressive and one of the best layouts I have touched. The design was inspired by the frets on a guitar’s neck with raised edges on the keys to provide more feedback and emphasize the spaces betweens the keys. And, the 3G data quality is not slow.

Now let’s talk about making money. If you haven’t heard of fixed mobile convergence (FMC), it is time to do your research. For all of you interconnects, this is a great value proposition that could lead to more PBX integration work, traditional wireline commissions, and maybe pull some revenue out of the wireless carriers.

FMC is on the horizon and will be a game-changer when it becomes fully adopted. A trend is emerging in the form of fixed and mobile voice convergence. The aim is to provide both services with a single phone which can switch between networks. This service relies on dual-mode handsets, which support both the cellular access and local area Wi-Fi for VoIP. Ostensibly, the transition from one network (LAN) to another (cellular) — “seamless mobility” — has been perfected.

RIM’s answer to FMC is more acronyms (MVS). MVS – Mobile Voice System – is one of RIM’s most important projects and it claims it will shape the future of enterprise telephony and unified communications. RIM still has a lot of work to ensure that the MVS supports all the PBXs from Cisco, Avaya, ShoreTel and the other top PBX vendors.

Where is the opportunity? Once this is completed, there will be very few companies that are able to successfully integrate wireline, wireless, PBX and messaging platforms to create a truly turnkey solution. These types of solutions will differentiate your company and create a real solution-selling opportunity that may gain the long-term loyalty and trust of your key customers and prospects.

Ian Kieninger oversees the voice and data specialty businesses at CDW and manages the company’s business relationships with carriers, manufacturers and other service providers. The postings on this site are his own and don’t necessarily represent CDW’s positions, strategies or opinions.


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