Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), once synonymous with mobile UC, is now defined as merely a capability that most UC platforms deliver. The ability to transfer a call from a desktop device to a mobile device is not mobile UC. Furthermore, expanding IP communications from the VLAN to Wi-Fi is not UC. The use of Wi-Fi as a transport medium is more closely related to convenience, cost reduction and technology leverage than UC.
Unified Communications (UC) offers users the ability to transition from non-real-time communications to real-time communications. With real-time communications, businesses can gain productivity improvements and offer better services and support. Because UC is based upon real-time communications, we expand the definition to include unified messaging, instant messages, presence, conferencing (video, Web, audio) and collaboration. Therefore, transferring a call from a stationary device to a mobile device, FMC, has about as much to do with UC as speed dialing.
Mobile UC is the ability to have the real-time features and capabilities available on mobile devices. It also means having those devices use Wi-Fi networks and 3G/4G networks for access. Finally, mobile UC means embracing and implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) within the business infrastructure and processes. In 2010, Forrester reported that 52 percent of enterprise IT managers expressed an interest in mobile UC; however, 66 percent had no plans for implementation. Given the explosion in smartphones and tablets, I wonder if these numbers havent shifted. Of course, there are other issues to address when mobile UC is incrementally added to a UC implementation. It is incumbent upon several departments (IT, HR, procurement, operations) to establish policy when BYOD is approved for devices introduced by employees into the UC environment.
I will address that in a separate blog on Friday along with some of the companies working on mobile UC applications/solutions.
David Byrd is vice president of marketing and sales for
, and is responsible for marketing and channel sales programs to SMBs, enterprises and carriers as well as defining the product offering. Prior to joining Broadvox, David was the vice president of Channels and Alliances for Eftia and Telcordia. As director of eBusiness Development with i2 Technologies, he developed major partnerships with many of the leaders in Internet eCommerce and supply chain management. As CEO of Planet Hollywood Online he was a pioneer in using early Internet technologies to build a branded entertainment and eCommerce website company partnered with Planet Hollywood. Having over 20 years of telecom sales and marketing experience, he has held executive positions with Hewlett-Packard, Sprint and Ericsson.