Most people have a cell phone they use for at least a few work-related calls — at least one. Of course they do much more on those devices than call, but the key application is still voice. Of course, making calls on a cell phone can become a somewhat addictive exercise — once you do it, you begin to need the satisfaction of communicating with colleagues and clients even when not in the office.
Many of those people are fortunate enough to have find me/follow me features on their PBXs, which allow them to easily route calls to their mobile devices, or even home offices or hotels, of necessary. Often, that’s enough, especially in the beginning. But, sooner or later, users begin to long for more, for a true fixed/mobile convergence solution that extends PBX (News
) functionality to their mobile devices, rather than simply turning the handsets into incoming call receivers.
At first, most users likely are thrilled just to be able to have calls routed to their cell phones while out of the office. But once they become accustomed to that feature, they start wondering about other PBX features, like call forwarding to an office extension. Or they’ll take a call in their car, get to the office, and continue to talk through choppy cellular signals (the femtocell discussion is another issue altogether). Or, they’ll start a call on their deskphone, realize they need to leave to pick up their daughter, and have to hang up and call back on a mobile phone. Soon they want more than the glorified call forwarding they loved not long ago.
Many vendors have worked on FMC solutions, but have faced challenges, particularly with cellular/WiFi (News
) handoffs. Still, the ability to use a single phone for all incoming and outgoing calls, regardless of location, and the cost savings of being able to switch from cellular to WLAN, are a combination of features and benefits too enticing to ignore — which is what has kept several vendors testing and improving their solutions, and ensuring compatibility with the various networks and endpoints in use today. Certainly, that is no simple task either, given the rate at which new handsets are delivered to the market.
One FMC solution provider that has done a seemingly good job keeping pace with the developments in the mobile space is MobileMax
, which provides an FMC client that resides on the mobile handset, extending the VoIP platform’s calling capabilities to mobile users.
At the Mobile World Congress show, MobileMax (News
) will be showcasing its latest clients for BroadSoft
’s BroadWorks platform, along with its ability to support the latest handsets — more than 800 in total. The solution allows users running any of the major mobile operating systems to route their mobile calls over a BroadWorks-based VoIP network.
Specifically, MobileMax will show its new iPhone clients and the latest enterprise features for BlackBerry (News
) and Nokia devices, including a demo that will allow attendees to download the client over the air to their handsets and use BroadWorks IP Centrex PBX features, mobile VoIP, and mobile LCR.
The demand for true FMC solutions may still be quite low, as most businesses are content to make do with the mobility aspects of their UC solutions, but even as you read, someone who has been receiving forwarded calls to his mobile phone is wondering, “If I can receive calls from the PBX, why can’t I make them through it?” The truth is, he can.
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Managing Editor of TMCnet, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to nearly 3,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erik Linask