News

Are the Days of Single-mode VoWLAN and DECT Phones Numbered?

With the growing hype around FMC and the continued integration of mobile phones with corporate communication networks, one would think that onsite mobility solutions are becoming an extinct species. I, personally, don’t think so. Single-mode VoWLAN and DECT devices provide productivity-enhancing mobility to individuals that do not fit the profile of potential smartphone users, and, therefore, do not compete with mobile phones for the exact same opportunity.

In the carpeted office, we expect professionals to increasingly use mobile phones connected to corporate PBX systems leveraging advanced UC clients. Such individuals are most likely users of cell phones subsidized by the company as they are expected to be able to make or receive calls anywhere, any time, in order to better serve customers, partners or internal stakeholders. Those are typically sales or marketing people or top executives. Beyond the carpeted office, maybe doctors, real-estate brokers, lawyers, technical support, and a few other professions requiring immediate and around-the-clock contact represent possible target customers for FMC solutions providing corporate communication applications on mobile devices.

Onsite mobility solutions, on the other hand, will continue to provide valuable capabilities to verticals where individuals need to communicate efficiently while on the premises, but do not need to be available for business purposes after working hours. Healthcare, retail and manufacturing continue to account for the majority of VoWLAN implementations (41%, 13% and 7%, respectively, of 2008 new users) with hospitality, education and government offering some growing opportunities. The carpeted office accounted for about 19% of all VoWLAN single-mode new users in 2008. DECT has been more successful in the carpeted office with over 40% of new users in 2008 being in this market segment.

Frost & Sullivan recently published a study, authored by my colleague Alaa Saayed, that provides an in-depth analysis of this market space. Here follows a summary of the findings:

As in the case of many other technology markets, the world enterprise DECT and VoWLAN single-mode phone market has been considerably impacted by the economic crisis. With market growth rates already showing some signs of deceleration in 2008, economic conditions in 2009 seem to be presenting even greater challenges as business customers seek to cut costs by extending the life of their existing wireless devices, curtail investment in new technologies and select the product or vendor based on pricing rather than strategic value.

Moreover, DECT and VoWLAN single-mode technologies have started to feel the pressures of other types of carpeted-office mobile devices, such as advanced smartphones with built-in enterprise FMC solutions, that, in some cases, present a compelling value proposition to IT departments seeking to provide employees with a single device offering multiple capabilities. 

Despite this challenging landscape, the world enterprise DECT and VoWLAN single-mode market is expected to gradually return to its healthy growth rates in 2011 – as more vertical industries across the world recognize the various benefits and capabilities granted by these types of on-site mobility solutions. Moreover, the potential short-term slowdown in this market may be attenuated by the fact that enterprise FMC solutions are still viewed as very nascent technologies, and enterprises wishing to avoid any possible hurdles would, in most cases, prefer the reliability of DECT devices or the maturity of single-mode handsets. It should be noted, however, that any growth may be much slower than what it could have been in a healthier economy.

In terms of handset evolution, many of the major DECT phone manufacturers have launched new advanced DECT handsets into the market. Some examples include Aastra’s new series of next-generation SIP DECT handsets (the 610d entry-level handset, the 620d business version handset, and the 630d industrial handset), Ascom’s new generation d41 and d62 IP DECT handsets and NEC-Philips’s I755 phone and advanced M155 watch phone.

On the other hand, some of the technological advancements that new DECT solutions have introduced to the market include advanced messaging and alarming systems, centralized management capabilities, location detection capabilities and central directory and presence information. Today many DECT market participants affirm that the new capabilities offered by DECT technologies equal or even surpass those offered by VoWLAN single-mode devices. Cat-iq is said to further increase the value proposition of future enterprise DECT in terms of better voice quality, Web access to applications, and lower power consumption. 

In terms of VoWLAN single-mode market evolution, most of the basic VoWLAN challenges, such as reliability, voice quality and security, have been resolved through continuous improvements and advancements in handset capabilities, adoption of wireless standards, and partnerships among device vendors, IP telephony providers and WLAN infrastructure companies.

New handsets capabilities include enhanced interfaces, additional software functions, new form factors (smartphone looking devices), improved device durability, and integration with advanced messaging, push-to-talk, and location-based features and applications – among others. Evolving wireless standards that are either being implemented or considered for future implementation include 802.11n, 802.11r, 802.11e and WPA2 security certifications. Finally, the market has witnessed the partnership of two of the major VoWLAN single-mode participants: Motorola and Vocera – that is expected to further increase the adoption and implementation of VoWLAN single-mode devices in the healthcare and retail industry.

Growth Rate Comparison

Growth Rate Comparison

Some Ideas for Enhancing Communications in Healthcare Organizations

Following up on my previous post requesting feedback on implementing UC technologies in the healthcare space, I reviewed some case studies (thanks for the links, everyone) and spoke with some vendors and end users. We are still finalizing our study and plan to talk to more people and review further sources, but I thought I would share some interesting insight that I received from a company called Software Advice.

Having recently installed a new IP-PBX system in their own office, Software Advice got thinking about ways medical practices could combine electronic health records with IP-PBXs. By combinging the two technologies, they think there is a great opportunity for medical practices to reduce telephony costs, improve office efficiency and potentially improve patient care.
They found out that, surprisingly, there are few medical-specific IP-PBX applications. So to spark some interest in the Asterisk development community, they decided to compile a list of seven applications that could be developed, including:

Find me, follow me – The system would prioritize an after-hours call based on the urgency of the situation. Emergencies could be immediately forwarded to 911. Calls from patients that recently had an ambulatory procedure might be forwarded to the physician’s mobile phone. All others might receive voicemail or the answering service. Urgency could be assessed not only by patient responses (e.g. pressing 1 for an emergency), but also by the content of recent encounters (e.g. yesterday’s botox injection).

Dunning Voicemails – If a patient hasn’t paid their balance after a given time period, this module automatically calls and leaves a voice message: “Dear [INSERT FIRST NAME], we recently noticed your balance of [INSERT OVERDUE BALANCE] has yet to be paid. If you’d like to pay now over the phone, press one. If you think you have received this message in error, press two.”

To read more, visit: Seven Great Applications for IP-PBXs in the Medical Practice

Mitel Enhances its UC and Collaboration Portfolio

Today, September 23, 2009, Mitel announced significant enhancements to its Unified Communicator Advanced (its core UC application) and TeleCollaboration solutions (see press release here).  

Unified Communicator Advanced (UC Advanced) release 3.0 features capabilities such as dynamic status, integration flexibility, a launchpad for Web and applications access, knowledge management and context-driven communications, among other new or enhanced functionalities. 

The dynamic status capability allows users to dynamically manage their extension in terms of specifying a user’s status with regard to various messages, presence and call routing. It also enables users to treat certain communications preferentially based on user-selected criteria. Finally, it allows users to remotely manage their status. 

Further, Mitel’s UC Advanced solution now integrates with Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus Notes and UCA APIs. Calls can be launched from Internet Explorer, Word, Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes or the user’s calendar.  

The knowledge management capability provides call recipients with information about callers such as recent emails, contact entries and exchanged documents. 

The launchpad allows users to launch Mitel applications from a single access point. Individual contacts can be called with a single mouse click, including creating speed dials that navigate voicemail and conference service menus. 

Context-driven communications is another valuable addition. It enables screen pops providing the called party with information about the subject and call priority. It also displays a picture of the caller and allows the user to respond via IM.

Mitel Series X Context-driven Communications

Mitel Series X Context-driven Communications

 Source: Mitel

Some other UC Advanced enhancements include visual voicemail, secure instant  messaging, RSS feeds, easy audio and web conference initiation through the desktop, etc. 

The UC Advanced solution scales from small to very large enterprise and can support up to 5,000 users on a single server.  

Mitel’s TeleCollaboration solution release 1.5 features integrated video and collaboration capabilities, low bandwidth requirements and high tolerance, and greater simplicity compared to competitor solutions. It offers browser-based collaboration and the ability to participate from anywhere, as well as session and snapshot recording.  

Mitel TeleCollaboration

Mitel TeleCollaboration

Source: Mitel

With these technology enhancements Mitel is seeking to address some current business challenges such as the increasingly diverse, geographically dispersed and mobile enterprise workforce and the need to manage multiple communication media for greater productivity and efficiency. A plethora of advanced UC and collaboration solutions offered by communication vendors are looking to address the same business needs and challenges. Yet, Mitel has remained at the forefront of technology innovation. While most of the new capabilities are not entirely unique, they are very much in line with industry trends and match or exceed those offered by its competitors. My personal favorites are the knowledge management and context-driven communications capabilities. We frequently go through multiple emails and documents in order to prepare ourselves for a call with a colleague, customer or partner. The tighter integration of such resources into the communication process seems to have the potential to greatly enhance user convenience and productivity. I also believe that the integration of video conferencing with collaboration (file sharing, etc.) is a valuable feature that provides users with a more comprehensive collaborative experience. 

What also makes Mitel unique is its consistent focus on the SMB market and its relatively strong competitive position in this space. When combined with the rest of its communication portfolio, these solutions can provide SMBs with capabilities typically available to large businesses only. Given Mitel’s efforts to gain greater penetration into the larger business space, the scalability of these solutions along with the rich functionality provide Mitel with an opportunity to more successfully move upstream as well.

Next-Gen Telepresence: Offering Sky-High Benefits at a Down-to-Earth Price

Please join us for a free webinar discussing trends and issues in the nascent, yet rapidly growing Telepresence market: http://www.bulldogsolutions.net/FAS/FAS09242009/frmRegistration.aspx

Here is a brief event description:

With videoconferencing finally delivering on those many years’ worth of promises, business executives around the world are now asking themselves whether videoconferencing’s big brother, telepresence, is a better communications solution.  

Much-hyped, telepresence in some quarters has gotten an unfair reputation for being an expensive alternative that few companies actually need—and fewer can afford.  

In fact, telepresence has always been a highly flexible and practical business solution, capable of meeting the needs of companies of many shapes and sizes, while delivering a healthy return on investment and presenting a platform for new competitive advantage.  

Join Dominic Dodd of Frost & Sullivan and Marc Trachtenberg of Teliris, a leading telepresence vendor, for this fresh and highly relevant presentation. The two will discuss how visual collaboration is providing the “silver bullet” for many of the challenges faced by corporations today and why the new generation of telepresence solutions should demand your serious attention.  

Attend this September 24 Webinar and learn the following:

           Why services make the big difference between telepresence and videoconference

           How benefits of telepresence can go beyond cutting business travel costs

           Possible future developments in the market for visual collaboration

Hybrid VoIP and TDM Communications Environments to Drive Demand for Gateway Functionality

I just completed a study on World Enterprise Media Gateway Markets and I thought I would share some of my findings through this blog post. 

Enterprisemedia gateways have evolved over the past 10 years. From relatively simple devices with straightforward transcoding and protocol translation functionality they have now become critical network elements and are increasingly incorporating other functionality. While single-purpose, plug-and-play gateways will continue to appeal to certain customers, multi-purpose appliances are likely to become more common as gateway functionality is embedded into other network elements and gateways are enhanced with new features and capabilities.

Over the past four to five years, the gateway market experienced significant growth as businesses IP-enabled their Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) telephony infrastructure in order to realize cost savings on long-distance communications, a practice known as toll bypass, and as they increasingly adopted IP telephony platforms that needed to be interconnected with the public switched telephone network (PSTN). In 2008, toll bypass and IP telephony still accounted for over 80 percent of the total ports shipped, but their share is likely to decline going forward as SIP trunking and application integration drive new demand for gateway functionality.

Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) access and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking services are rapidly gaining traction and are providing TDM and IP customers with significant cost savings by enabling them to converge access lines and reduce long-distance charges. They also provide some additional benefits such as network-based fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), voicemail and auto attendant and voice virtual private networks (VPNs) with abbreviated dialing across multiple sites. Since the majority of the installed telephony equipment is still TDM and interoperability with IP telephony platforms is limited, growing penetration of VoIP trunking services will be highly correlated with demand for gateway functionality. 

Internet protocol (IP)-based applications such as contact center, conferencing and unified messaging (UM) have created some new opportunities for gateway vendors over the past couple of years as these applications needed to be integrated both with premise-based telephony infrastructure and carrier TDM networks. Application integration is likely to account for a growing percentage – from 10 percent to about 15 percent – of total ports shipped over the next five to six years.  

The gateway market experienced growth deceleration in 2008 due to a number of factors including the beginning of the recession and the maturation of the traditional gateway markets – IP telephony and toll bypass – and the slow take-off of nascent markets such as SIP trunking and UC. In 2009, the market is likely to experience a decline mostly due to the tough economic conditions. Pent-up demand is expected to drive growth in 2010 and onwards.

In 2011 and beyond, the market is likely to continue to grow driven by mass adoption of IP telephony, branch office integration, and solid growth rates in the SIP trunking and UC markets. Due to market maturity and rapidly improving SIP interoperability among vendors and service providers, annual growth rates are not likely to ever reach the heights of previous years and are likely to peak in 2011 and 2012 and start decelerating towards the end of the forecast period.

Enterprise media gateway vendors will face a number of challenges over the forecast period as follows:

•The need to ensure interoperability with multiple CPE vendors and VoIP service providers

•Cisco’s dominant market share and router-based approach, practically limiting all other vendor’s ability to grow

•The need to differentiate in order to remain competitive

Market growth will be driven by the following factors:

•Growing IP telephony penetration will continue to drive demand for enterprise gateways required to connect IP CPE to the PSTN.

•Toll bypass opportunities continue to thrive in some markets where PSTN costs are still high.

•Increasing availability of VoIP access and SIP trunking services will drive demand for gateways required to connect to both TDM and IP telephony CPE.  

Market growth will be restrained by the following factors:

•Some concerns over the reliability of IP telephony platforms and the quality of IP voice will slow down IP telephony adoption.

•VoIP access and SIP trunking services have gained little traction so far and are likely to be slow to penetrate the market due to interoperability challenges as well as limited service provider focus and marketing efforts.

•Slow adoption of UC and other IP-based communication applications is slowing down demand for gateways associated with such implementations.

Competitive power is quite unevenly distributed in the enterprise media gateway market with Cisco holding over 60 percent share of ports shipped and close to 70 percent share of revenues in 2008. Cisco has benefited tremendously from its leading position in data networking in tapping into the enterprise IP telephony market. Cisco is likely to lose some share over the next five to six years as independent vendors aggressively pursue new market opportunities.

With IP telephony implementations accounting for over 60 percent of total ports shipped, the rest of the IP telephony vendors (besides Cisco) using their own gateway appliances or cards in IP telephony deployments accounted for over 25 percent of gateway ports shipped in 2008. Each telephony vendor’s share of the enterprise media gateway market is largely determined by its share of IP telephony lines shipped in the same year.

A number of standalone gateway vendors are competing for a share of the enterprise media gateway market. Those include Aculab, ADTRAN, AudioCodes, Dialogic, Edgewater Networks, Grandstream, Multi-Tech, NET, VegaStream, Veraz and others. Each vendor is trying to position itself somewhat differently from the others differentiating either through features and functionality or business model and partnerships.

Given the high concentration of market power and the mature stage of the market, it is not likely that many new entrants will seek to tap into this opportunity throughout the forecast period. It is possible, however, that some vendors in adjacent markets such as Aculab (entered in 2008) and Veraz (entered in 2009) may seek to leverage existing technology expertise or channel partnerships to diversify their portfolio and revenue streams. Going forward, it is likely that existing market participants will look to re-position themselves for continued success in an evolving marketplace.

1 2
Archives
Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Spotify
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound