January 18, 2008
Mobile VoIP Set to Fundamentally Change the Workplace
By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief
Theron Dodson is Director of Sales and Marketing at Ascendent Systems, a subsidiary of Research In Motion. The firm provides enterprise voice mobility solutions that allow companies to be more responsive to customers and crises by giving them the power to reach anyone, anywhere, immediately. I asked Dodson some questions about the state of the industry and the future of IP
RT: What trends are you noticing in the communications market?
TD: Several trends are emerging in the communications market. From speaking with customers, the three we see the most are the need for enterprise security; the blurring of lines between personal and business communications; and, the growing demand for green technologies.
- Ascendent Systems is seeing a growing demand from its customers for being able to secure mobile devices with the corporate PBX. Telecom groups want the ability to have mobile users to authenticate their mobile device with the PBX to help identify callers and ensure that only authorized persons are calling into the system to access services. Enterprises want the ability to log and record mobile phone calls for compliance with accounting, legal or corporate regulations.
- Additionally, with the advancement of technology and the increased mobility of employees, the lines between personal and business communications are blurring. Push voice mobility is a growing trend that allows employees to extend the traditional corporate PBX to mobile devices. Employees can appear to be at their desks during the work day, ensuring customer satisfaction and business deals, while at the same time giving users the flexibility to switch to a private line during off hours.
- Green technology is a hot trend in technology, especially as employees are no longer married to their desks and are free to work from home, or virtually anywhere, with the advent of devices, such as BlackBerry (News - Alert) and other smartphones. This distributed workforce is translating into greater productivity and profitability for companies worldwide. Employers can run their offices more efficiently, reducing the power costs, infrastructure requirements and big environmental footprint.
RT: Did 2007 finish the way your company expected?
TD: 2007 proved to be just the beginning of the growing demand for voice mobility solutions.
RT: Is 2008 going to be a better year than 2007?
TD: 2008 will be a banner year for unified communications and voice mobility solutions. 2007 set the stage for growing demand for FMC, 2008 will be the tipping point of FMC, and Ascendent is at the head of the pack in delivering these solutions.
RT: What technologies have altered the market the most?
TD: IP technology has led to mixed telecom environments and hybrid markets within the telecommunications space. In addition, wireless is becoming a crucial component in overall corporate mobility strategies. More enterprises are looking to tie in mobile business devices to the corporate communications (e-mail, data, voice).
RT: What are the brightest spots in your business going forward?
Being a subsidiary of Research in Motion (News
) makes the future bright for Ascendent. RIM acquired Ascendent Systems in March of 2006, to converge the fixed office phone and the mobile phone. We’ve developed an intuitive end-user experience for BlackBerry smartphone users that makes convergence easy to use, and this convergence leverages existing cellular technology so companies can get started without waiting for other technologies to fully mature. As a part of RIM, we expect to continue our momentum as a leader in fixed mobile convergence by continuing to support heterogeneous corporate infrastructures, including IP and TDM
RT: What will conferees learn from your ITEXPO (News - Alert) conference session this month?
TD: Ascendent will be discussing enterprise Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) and will highlight how many enterprises and healthcare facilities are using FMC to help their mobile employees (executives, road warriors, corridor warriors) be more responsive and productive. Enterprise FMC is growing as organizations are trying to find better ways to communicate as their workforces becomes more mobile. FMC promises the ability for users to have one phone number and one voicemail and be able to use their mobile device as a mobile extension of their work desk phone so they can answer and place calls where they are, not where their desk is. The session will illustrate customer examples and discuss what FMC brings to the enterprise — whether it be a hospital, law enforcement agency, or educational institution, among others — including an increase in worker reachability, productivity and quality of performance.
RT: Who should attend?
TD: This presentation is intended for CXOs, telecom directors, IT directors and senior technical staff of corporations who are looking to enhance their mobility strategies and unify their companies’ communications systems.
RT: What unique perspectives will you offer?
Due to our relationships with major telecommunications carriers like Sprint (News
) and Verizon Business, and our relationship to Research In Motion we are constantly exposed to the most demanding and technically advanced enterprise customers.
RT: What is the most exciting market change we can expect in communications in technology in 2008 and beyond?
TD: Mobile technologies are fundamentally changing the concept of the workplace. The ability to be productive anywhere and the intense work and personal demands on employees is changing the traditional concept of coming to the same office space every day. The most exciting change in communications may be the fundamental change that mobility enables for employees to balance work and personal life, leading to increased productivity.