All the hype in the mobile enterprise market today surrounds data but, according to Lars Svensson, this is only half right as the biggest market with the best potential remains voice. Indeed, he suggested that mobile operators could “double the rate of mobile penetration into enterprises overnight” by installing Ericsson’s voice software.
Svensson was talking about voice services with a difference — integrated voice communications for the enterprise market in which all the services available on the fixed PBX are extended to mobile terminals. This is provided via Ericsson’s server-based software which can be added to any existing digital PBX, irrespective of vendor. Not only will this provide standard PBX functions such as call forwarding, group pick-up etc, but also allow the mobile device to be integrated with more advanced functions such as calendar, contacts and the enterprise’s internal directory. In the future, there is also the possibility to add such capabilities as listening to email, text-to-voice and voice-to-text.
For the enterprise, the benefit comes in the form of greater control over mobile costs for the IT manager, as well as operational efficiencies that can be achieved by established truly unified communications and messaging systems.
Svensson believes that the growth potential for voice in the enterprise market is compelling for mobile operators. He illustrated this by citing Telia’s experiences in Sweden where traffic has increased dramatically and, most significantly, the length of enterprise calls is noted to be six or seven times longer than average. He explained the scale of the opportunity stating, “If Telia can mobilise 10% of PBXs it would create as much traffic as currently exists on the network.” This, he suggested, was typical of the northern European market and claimed that the market was “exploding in Germany and Sweden” and Ericsson’s next target would be the UK, starting now.
In terms of the investment required by the enterprise to make this work, it depends whether the solution is provided as a managed service by the operator or direct to the customer. When brought as a service the cost can vary from UKP10–100. However, Svensson claimed, “Enterprises shouldn’t pay more over all.” He pointed to Ericsson’s own experience as proof stating, “Our experience was that overall costs fell by 22%.” This resulted for a reduction in fixed call backs etc and a better deal on mobile traffic rates.
The only requirement from the enterprise is for all handsets to be configured properly. This is something that can be aided by such products as IBM’s device management software. On the operator side, the major consideration is capacity. “It is possible that the increase in mobile traffic this delivers is too much and causes capacity issues. To avoid such problems, both Telia and Vodafone have taken deployment steadily in Sweden,” Svensson concluded.