Service Providers and the Smartphone Culture

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  July 01, 2011

It seems like only yesterday that I got my first cell phone. It was big, clunky, shaped like a brick – and probably weighed that much – with terrible reception and voice quality. But, boy, was it cool. Waxing nostalgic like this makes me realize just how much I have come to rely on my cell phone for survival. It has become more than just a convenience; it is now an integral part of my work environment. It is no longer my cell phone, it is now my smartphone. I recently sat down with Pascal Doré, the mobility product manager at Media5 Corp., to discuss how mobility has changed the way we work today.  

So much has changed with the way we look at smartphones. Are we moving too fast?

Doré: Smartphones are providing consumers with the ability to modify and repurpose technology for their own specific use. I don’t believe that it is a question of moving too fast or slow, but rather using technology to enable new ways of living, working and socializing. With global smartphone adoption expected to surpass $1.6 billion by 2017 and nearly 70 million Americans currently owning these devices, this market is here to stay.

I work in an office, at home, and in countless airports and hotels around the world, and I can do this more and more effectively because of my smartphone and because of the technology surrounding it. The software within the phone, the apps, and the growing number of Wi-Fi hotspots are evolving to meet the challenges in the ways in which people work today and will want to work tomorrow.    

How are service providers to deal with this new way of communicating?

Doré: We have worked closely with a variety of service providers for over 10 years and feel that we understand the unique needs that they face. They need to differentiate and offer the latest technology in packages that support their market. More and more, smartphones can create tremendous opportunities for new service offerings, and by teaming up with companies like Media5 that keep in synch with the latest mobile platform development and technology ensures the mobile offering always reflects the market needs.

Can you tell us about the Media5-fone for mobility?

Doré: The Media5-fone is a mobile SIP application designed to be part of an overall mobility portfolio for service providers targeting businesses and enterprises with hosted communication services, such as IP Centrex. Media5-fone supports all the basic telephony features but also supports specific and differentiating features, such as Visual Voice Mail and Corporate Directory Access, which may be added through Media5 customization services. These customized features allow service providers to expand their brand recognition into the mobile space and offer a comprehensive mobile solution portfolio for enterprises and businesses. Another example is the Shared Call Appearance feature, which allows business end users to manage their communications at the office or while abroad in a seamless manner.

What do you think the future holds for mobility and for Media5 in the service provider market?

Doré: The smartphone market continues to grow exponentially, and all indications are that this will continue to be a dominant market segment. To continue to be a key player in this area we have just introduced the Media5-fone for Android (News - Alert). As a complement to our other versions of the Media5-fone, the new Android edition features High Voice quality through Wideband & HD Voice, and is highly interoperable and customizable. Also in tune with the evolving market place, we have stopped supporting the Symbian (News - Alert) platform, as Nokia is currently in transition to Windows Phone 7.

We are also working to add additional platforms support, including an iPad-specific edition, as well as developing Video Call support for both iOS and Android platforms.

Finally, we are accelerating our roadmap to add Presence and Instant Messaging based on Rich Communication Suite (News - Alert) (RCS) and MMTEL standards to our portfolio providing a clear alternative for service providers. With the new mobile portfolio, our objective is to offer service providers and operators a set of solutions to counter over-the-top offerings such as Skype (News - Alert), Google Talk, Apple FaceTime, Fring, Nimbuzz, and the like. The main advantage with RCS/MMTEL is that it is based on SIP standards and thus, will allow inter-operators interoperability, which is key for service adoption.

We can make a parallel with SMS. SMS was really adopted by end customers when it became possible to send text messages to anyone, whoever their service provider is. We expect to showcase our new solution at the next MWC in early 2012.

To learn more about the Media5-fone, please visit http://www.media5corp.com/en/softphones/media5 (News - Alert)-fone-iphone  or [email protected].

Edited by Rich Steeves