TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community




Designing the Mobile Enterprise — A Look at Agito Networks

By: Richard “Zippy” Grigonis

Billing itself as “the mobile enterprise experts,” Agito Networks of Santa Clara, California has done extensive work in the enterprise Fixed Mobile Convergence (News - Alert) (eFMC) space. For example, Agito’s RoamAnywhere Mobility Router enables enterprises to extend voice and unified communications to cell phones. It’s a network appliance that brings together enterprise wireless LANs, carrier cellular networks, IP telephony and location technology to mobilize voice and data applications, while remaining agnostic to whatever carrier and equipment vendors are used by the customer. The goal here is to bring about low-cost in-building voice coverage, reduced cellular costs, improved enterprise visibility and control over cellular usage, and better accessibility and responsiveness for mobile workers.

Pejman Roshan (News - Alert), Agito’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing, says, “Our product has two primary functions: First, our goal is to enable enterprises to mobilize voice, from deskphones and the PBX (News - Alert), to mobile phones, so that your mobile device effectively becomes a portable desk phone, and to be able to allow you to use it anywhere, whether you’re at home, on the road, or in the office, using any available types of wireless networks, whether it’s cellular or WiFi (News - Alert). What makes our solution unique in a manner that extends the capabilities in which the enterprise has already invested for their wireline support. For example, if someone has invested in Cisco Call Manager and Microsoft (News - Alert) Office Communications server for voice and unified communications, respectively, our product basically mobilizes the protocols that those systems support and offers a streamlines integration on the mobile phone. It may surprise some people, but we can make this work phenomenally well on mobile handsets.”

“It’s quite impressive to use,” says Roshan. “For example, if you start a call on WiFi in your home, and you outside to jump in your car and you’re still are on the call, our technology can move the call from WiFi to cellular seamlessly and automatically so that you as a user on the phone are unaware that this handover has happened. Continuing with that, let’s say you drive into the office. Now we can move that call from cellular back to your corporate WiFi automatically and again, seamlessly. The same thing happens in the case of data sessions. We support the notion of ‘session persistence’ so we do the same thing for unified communications. We have the fixed-mobile convergence on the back end and then we have the unified communications clients — we also provide the client component to the UC system for the mobile devices, and for the PBX for the mobile devices.”

“As for what trends we see out there,” says Roshan, “there are some things we hoped would happen, as opposed to what is actually happening in the market. Our company was designed to provide a means for taking advantage of WiFi for better coverage when you’re in-building, because many people, such as knowledge workers and task workers in the enterprise – be they working in a general enterprise, healthcare, higher education, you name it – are starting to rely on their mobile phones as the primary device that they’re always carrying with them that they’re using and placing calls on, and they’re accessing email and so on. So the goal of our product was to be able to simplify how people communicate on their mobile phones because now there’s this glut of different applications that you have on your phone and it makes it difficult on the non-technical end user. We set out to simplify much of the mess, enhance collaboration and communications. That’s appealing, but in the current downward state of the economy, unless you’re providing a meaningful cost savings, it’s actually very difficult for enterprises to justify the cost of implementing such a system. That is, the enterprises are not moved or motivated by soft ROI value propositions. They’re really driven by hard ROI.”

“But the good news for us and for our enterprise customers is that one of the values that we offer is that we have a policy engine,” says Roshan. “With it, administrators can create rules to provide least cost routing and significant reduction of overall cellular expense. For example, we try to use WiFi wherever possible, so you’re minimizing the number of minutes that you burn. If you’re making international calls from your mobile phone, those can be billed at a couple dollars per minute. So if you’re calling the U.K. from your mobile, a 10-minute call would cost about $20. But that same call made from your deskphone will probably cost 50 cents. So we can intelligently re-route those calls with our policy engine, so the user just dials the numbers, but they’re still getting ‘fixed-line rates’, to use the FMC vernacular. By the same token, take international roaming. When someone from the U.S. roams to Europe or Asia, or when someone in the U.K. roams into Belgium, they pay about $2 per minute or a 1.5 Euros per minute, for the ability to do international roaming. A Vodafone (News - Alert) user who’s now using Proximus/Belgacom Mobile pays a significant premium for that privilege. Again, however, we’re able to use our least cost routing engine, and take advantage of WiFi – amongst a host of other tools – to reduce those costs by a factor of 5 to 10, depending on usage patterns. It’s a significant cost savings, on average, just as a data point. You’ve got enterprise employees paying $600 to $1,000 per week in mobile costs when they travel internationally, but we can reduce that to anywhere from $100 to $200 per week, given the typical 300 to 400 minutes per week of usage. These are some pretty substantial cost savings that enterprises find exciting. Now imagine combining that with the productivity benefits of being able to have one device that you can use for corporate unified communications, plus voice. You can have One Number access, a single integrated voicemail box, and you don’t have to launch 15 different applications just in order to dial a phone number, which means that there’s now a lot of ease-of-use for the end user. All of this is very compelling, and that’s why we’ve been very successful over the past quarter, combining the cost savings that make the CFO happy, and the productivity benefits, which makes the line of business managers and directors very happy as well.” IT

Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC (News - Alert)’s IP Communications Group

» Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents

Today @ TMC
Upcoming Events
ITEXPO West 2012
October 2- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
The World's Premier Managed Services and Cloud Computing Event
Click for Dates and Locations
Mobility Tech Conference & Expo
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
Cloud Communications Summit
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas