NEW YORK -- Enterprise-focused fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) initiatives that integrate telephony and other communications applications across corporate, broadband, and cellular networks could have a major positive impact on wireless carriers by driving penetration and usage of mobile devices in the enterprise market, finds the latest report from the subscription research service Unstrung Insider (www.unstrung.com/insider).
The report, Enterprise Fixed/Mobile Convergence & Wireless VOIP, analyzes the drivers for enterprise FMC from the user, service provider, and corporate perspectives, and examines vendor strategies for projecting private branch exchange (PBX) telephony features, along with applications such as instant messaging and presence, into the wide-area cellular network.
A key market delineator is the extent to which enterprise FMC is controlled and managed by "mobility appliances" deployed in the enterprise itself, or hosted as software modules within the wireless carrier's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) core network architecture. With carriers and enterprises both looking to maximize the benefits of convergence, both of these scenarios set up potential conflicts of interests, finds the report.
"Wireless operators need to weigh the benefits of maximizing revenues from existing customers on price and control versus increasing the penetration of mobility services in the enterprise market," says Unstrung Insider analyst Gabriel Brown. "At the same time, enterprises don't insist on running their own telephony empires. Many would welcome the opportunity to turn responsibility over to third parties, if they could retain control over features that would help them rein in costs per user, such as policy enforcement and auditing."
Despite the potential for tension, by finding common ground businesses and carriers could both benefit from enterprise FMC. According to the report, this will likely lead to a gradual and tiered integration of services and functionality into the carrier IMS core, with cross-network mobility management hosted by the service provider, while PBX capabilities are retained by the enterprise.
Among the highlights of the report:
- IP PBX vendors will initially drive FMC in the mainstream and high-end enterprise; but watch for innovative hosted and Internet-based services, as well as potentially disruptive IT products such as Microsoft's Live Communications Server.
- Key features that enterprises want from FMC implementations are: the ability to set rules and policies about mobile services usage (whom you can call, where, when, and on which network); auditing, tracking, and accounting tools to track usage for regulatory, management, and budgeting reasons; and integration with internal billing systems to streamline cost-allocation within organizations.
- A battle is brewing between Linux, Symbian, and Windows Mobile for dominance of the handheld business device market. Geographically, Symbian looks set to dominate Europe, while Windows currently leads in North America.
- Voice over IP (VOIP) as an embedded feature in mobile corporate applications will drive uptake of enterprise FMC, as productivity gains become a bigger motivator than lower cellular bills.
Public companies featured in this report include: Avaya Inc.; Ericsson AB; Microsoft Corp.; Motorola Inc.; Nokia Corp.; Nortel Networks Ltd.; Research In Motion Ltd.; and Siemens AG.
Private companies featured in this report include: Calypso Wireless Inc.; Cicero Networks Ltd.; DiVitas Networks Inc.; FirstHand Technologies Inc.; LongBoard Inc.; and OnRelay Ltd.
The report, Enterprise Fixed/Mobile Convergence & Wireless VOIP, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900.
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Reaching a core audience of more than 917,000 enterprise IT managers and executives, Light Reading Inc. publishes www.lightreading.com, the leading global content site for the telecom industry; www.byteandswitch.com, a storage networking site; www.unstrung.com, dedicated to wireless networking; and www.darkreading.com, an IT security site. Light Reading is also affiliated with www.heavyreading.com, a market research site offering quantitative analysis of telecom technology to carriers, service providers, and vendors. Light Reading was acquired by United Business Media in August 2005, and operates as a unit of CMP Technology.
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