Unified Communications — 04 October 2010

Peter Anderholm, Sr. Director of Unified Communications products in Alcatel-Lucent Unified Communications (www.alcatel-lucent.com), says:

Know your requirements
A mobility strategy should be guided by the aims and objectives of the enterprise as a whole, not merely reactive to user adoption and user behavior trends. However, it must be user-centric with the focus on those who actively employ the mobile technologies to increase business success.

Ideally, the strategy will include centralized purchasing of mobile service and support for end users, and it will standardize the mobile devices used. This approach will bring visibility to mobility costs for enterprises, reduce mobile carrier expenses, and simultaneously improve the quality of end-user support while reducing its cost.

Deliver the right tools to the right people
End users are at the heart of a business and therefore each role within your organization must be defined and understood. Role-based communications enables an IT department to consider users in an organization and analyze their communication needs to create customized sets of communications tools, services and devices that focus on real needs. This user-centric approach to communications creates services and devices that are more efficient and more economical, for each user and the company.

Instead of ordering a certain number of devices with a menu of applications, this approach enables an IT manager to request a pre-defined set of communication tools for a distinct user group. Role-based communications also make it easier for IT staff to update and maintain employees’ services.

What are those tools?
The goal is to combine voice, video and data services with media blending capabilities through a single, intuitive user interface enabling users to leverage the power of
unified communications on any device, using any network through five main communications functions:

• Messaging services
• Telephony services
• One number services
• Collaboration services
• Presence services

Build your network
In developing a strategy, enterprise technology professionals must consider a number of factors related to how their enterprise networks interact with new mobile devices and with the rest of the network. Items to be considered include:

Cost management: Ensuring existing networks and solutions are effectively leveraged to help keep capital and operating expenditures under control
Business systems and processes: Assessing the impact on finance and reporting systems and service level agreements
Integration: Determining how new mobile devices will work with existing infrastructures and tools

Secure your assets
Conventional perimeter security is insufficient for mobile networks because the perimeter is undefined and changing as users move about. This is particularly so in stringently regulated industries such as finance and healthcare where customer information is highly confidential.

In addition, new users and devices emerge on a daily basis. The strategic challenge is to shift the focus from ad hoc point security solutions and determine how to surround users with security.

Enterprise mobility going forward
Approaching mobility from a strategic point of view opens up a world of opportunities for enterprises to evolve their existing business processes and adopt new ones, strengthening their competitive stance. Practically, it allows them to get a grip on their mobility costs — largely unknown today — and to better support their users through standardization. Indeed, the core of the enterprise mobility strategy must be the users: what they need, profile-by-profile, to work efficiently and effectively on behalf of the organization as a whole.

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Unified Communications — 24 September 2010

Andy Sullivan, product manager of Unified Communications and Collaboration for Quest Software (www.quest.com), says:

Campus-area mobility
Businesses can enhance productivity by providing campus-area mobility solutions to employees. Cordless handsets and headsets enable employees to have approximately 300 feet of mobility from their desk ensuring no more missed calls when they step away to go to the filing cabinet or fax machine or talk to a colleague a few desks away. Broader mobility can be provided by deploying DECT or Wi-Fi handsets allowing employees to make or take calls when away from their fixed work locations. Regardless of where they roam (hallways, corridors, meeting rooms, cafeteria, or the manufacturing floor), employees are always connected to the business – all while avoiding expensive cellular charges.

Expand off-site mobile connectivity to include Wi-Fi
By deploying mobile phones that can operate on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks, businesses could greatly reduce the cost of mobile communications. When traveling abroad, the ability to make and receive calls using a dual-mode mobile phone would greatly reduce international roaming fees. As well, mobile handsets that support dual-mode communications could automatically switch from cellular to Wi-Fi or WiMAX when an 802.11 or 802.16 network is in range. This allows users to continue their conversations without interruption when entering a corporate building and ensures the call is being managed over the most cost-effective network.

Research shows that as many as 50 to 70 percent of mobile phone minutes are used within the halls and walls of the company where fixed line or Wi-Fi communications are possible. This being said, many of the technologies outlined above help reduce the number of inbound and outbound cellular minutes used, and therefore help drive down communications expenses.

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