Fixed Mobile Convergence Handbook

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Print Version. The future "ubiquitous" mobile information society. This page provides resources on "ubiquitous" or "pervasive" mobile, relating to developments in the miniaturization of mobile wireless devices and the proliferation of always-on, everywhere communications. This phenomenon has been referred to as '"pervasive communications", invisible mobile Forrester , "ambient computing", "ubiquitous computing" USA or "ubiquitous networking" Japan. Technological convergence underlying next-generation networks NGN is set to play a key role in realizing this wireless ubiquity.

Other resource pages: General Mobile Technology Content and Applications Human and socio-political considerations Back to Home Don't forget to check out our page on trends in mobile messaging!

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Japan's Ubiquitous ID Centre. Centre for Pervasive Computing Denmark. Research project 'MobileLearner', How to support learning with ubiquitous computing. Related ITU Activities. So, while there is some opportunity for off-cellular network calling, the benefits must be examined case-by-case for each individual business, taking into consideration both the cellular rate plan as well as the types of calls made by employees, and specifically whether the calls are international or not.

Many solutions are available today for any cellular phone to enable IT to better control security and software loads. Third-party companies as well as mobile operators offer software and services that enable an IT organization to monitor and maintain their cellular devices.

Other capabilities, including single-number reach and the extension of other business collaboration tools such as IM and the corporate directory, can be accomplished, as noted earlier, on a standard cell phone. However, with an integrated wireless LAN radio, it is possible to create truly excellent, seamless voice and data coverage at every location within a building. This enables reachability in places where previously coverage was spotty or nonexistent. For many customer-facing mobile employees, the ability to be reached the first time can make or break a relationship and have direct impact on profitability.

Softer benefits for calls made among employees may include faster business decision making. Dual-Mode Phone Usage Models. Data Only. Voice Capable, but without Handoff.

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Manual Voice Handoff. Automatic Voice Handoff.

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Deploying Dual-Mode Solutions Today. The Outside-In Roaming Problem. Unlicensed Mobile Access. IP Multimedia Subsystem. The term fixed mobile convergence is used increasingly by industry press, service providers, and vendors.

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Unfortunately, the term is not well defined and is often used loosely. This paper will define fixed mobile convergence. It will then focus on solutions that provide fixed mobile convergence for voice and unified communications applications. It will discuss the challenges a business may face and the associated benefits to be gained, as well as the technologies and deployment options that exist to implement solutions today.

What exactly is fixed mobile convergence, and what does it mean for the enterprise? The dictionary defines convergence as the act of moving towards union or uniformity. Fixed mobile convergence , then, is the coming together of wired and wireless technologies. There are three separate aspects to this convergence: the networks, the device, and the applications.

At the network level, much of this convergence is driven by the build out of IP networks, which enables the unification of multiple services on a common network platform. Outside the enterprise, increasingly there is also a movement towards IP-based networks. Both incumbent and new service providers are looking to deliver more powerful, personalized services to stay ahead of the competition, both over cellular and new WiMAX networks.

At the device layer, our anytime, anywhere world demands ubiquitous connectivity and device manufacturers are heeding that desire with new innovations. In terms of network access, manufacturers continue to incorporate more and more capability by incorporating multiple wired and wireless connectivity options.

As an example, increasingly cellular phones now come with wireless LAN connectivity as an option as well. In addition, manufacturers are responding to the convergence in applications by delivering powerful processing and display capabilities. Collaborative applications are on the rise, in particular. While the underlying technology trends are clear, the case for implementing fixed mobile convergence-and what to implement-for the enterprise is much less so. What is known is that the workforce is increasingly mobile, now verging on 40 percent of the total workforce population worldwide, as reported by analyst firm IDC.

When you start with the fact that close to a majority of the employee population do not remain at a fixed location during their work day, you can begin to see the benefits of fixed mobile convergence. Employees are mobile in a variety of locations-both within the business but away from their desks, as well as outside the office at various locations, including client and partner sites, hotels, airports, and at home.

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In all of these locations, the network used and the preferred device may vary based on the environment. As an example, it may be easier to use a smartphone in the airport to check e-mail before boarding a flight, but preferable to use the larger keypad and a laptop display after reaching the hotel. Thus, a benefit of fixed mobile convergence is to come as close as possible to providing the same services in any environment.

Making applications context-aware-knowledgeable of the location, network type, and even device type-will improve the user's experience. By far the most widely used mobile application today is voice telephony.

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And with more and more employees relying on their cell phones as a primary voice communications tool, the ability for the enterprise to have some control over its use-for both regulatory compliance including HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley, and Basel II and cost reasons-is a good place to start. From a user perspective, the need to simplify communications in a world where multiple devices and multiple voice mailboxes are now common is increasingly important. For example, users want to have the same contact list on the desktop and on the mobile phone, without having to enter or remember to synch them.

They also want common deskset capabilities, such as four-digit dialing. To address both business and employee concerns, voice-and the broader area of business communications-is a practical place where many businesses are beginning their first fixed mobile convergence solution deployments. Starting with voice as the first application, following is a list of fixed mobile convergence solutions from simplest through more feature-rich, and complex. One of the largest challenges for any mobile employee-and the business as well-is being responsive to customers, colleagues, and partners alike.

In today's fast-paced world, often the people who respond quickest win the business. With many employees away from their desks much of the day, missing a phone call can have a measurable negative impact on profitability. Single-number reach solutions address this problem by enabling calls coming into the business line to be redirected to one or more additional phones.

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These might be cell phones, home office phones, or remote office phones. This feature provides a single business number for the caller and increases enterprise control by helping to ensure that if the employee leaves, customers are calling the business, not the employee's personal phone. Single-number reach solutions may also have the desirable feature of enabling single-button transfer from the employee's desk phone to any cell phone, whether it's a standard phone, smartphone, or dual-mode phone. Often, during an extended conversation, the employee may need to leave the office. However, using the cell phone for the entire call is undesirable both from a comfort and a minute-usage perspective.

With single-button transfer, the user can use the speaker phone capabilities of the desk set for when in the office, yet seamlessly transition the call to the cell phone when the time arrives to leave. Building on the above solution, many businesses want to go a step further by creating a single voice mailbox that minimizes communications complexity. Instead of employees having to manage multiple voice mailboxes with different numbers and passwords for both a business desktop phone and their mobile phone , more advanced single number reach solutions also incorporate the ability to have a single voice mailbox.

Calls sent to the alternative phone lines-home office, mobile, and remote office-that go unanswered are directed to a single business voicemail system, so that all messages can be picked up in one place. What's more, because single-number reach calls are anchored through the business IP private branch exchange PBX , there is no requirement for a special agreement with the cellular carrier. Beyond voice calls and voicemail, many mobile employees use instant messaging with presence and a corporate directory to look up and dial contacts within the organization.

Presence is the ability to see the availability status of colleagues who have indicated in their own instant messaging application that they are available, in a meeting, not available, or some other state. Integrating these capabilities into the devices that are used on-the-go within and outside the business is critical to maintaining collaboration and productivity with other colleagues.

Applications are now available for both mobile phones and laptops to extend these key collaboration tools in addition to enabling single-number reach and single-number voicemail. In addition, depending upon the device and the application, video conferencing, a shared workspace environment, and visual voicemail may also be supported.

Multiple mobile device options are available for enabling mobile collaboration across fixed and wireless networks. Appropriate device choice depends upon the types of applications, environments and roles the different members of the workforce require. Readily available options today include:. Much of the current focus of fixed mobile convergence discussion is on a relatively new device-a cell phone that is also equipped with a wireless LAN radio, commonly called a dual-mode phone.

The irony is that hand-off of services between cellular networks and wireless LAN networks is not fixed to mobile convergence, but instead is mobile to mobile convergence. That being said, dual mode phones are an increasingly important example of the trend toward the convergence of services across different network types. As discussed earlier, single-number reach, single-number voicemail, and the extension of business communications can all be accomplished today with existing technologies.

These solutions converge voice and other business communications to any cellular phone, whether with or without a wireless LAN radio. The presence of a wireless LAN radio in the cell phone adds a new twist to the discussion by potentially off-loading calls from the cellular network to a wireless LAN network when the phone is in-building. Thus, dual-mode phones are not a replacement for other fixed mobile convergence solutions, but can be used in conjunction with single-number reach or mobile unified communications to deliver additional benefits.

In other words, a mobile unified communications application can be used either on a standard smartphone or a dual-mode phone with a wireless LAN radio in it. If used on a dual-mode phone, the application capabilities do not change, but rather, there is a new transport option for voice calls available over the wireless LAN radio when inside the business. Let's examine each of the commonly discussed benefits.