Unified Communications – Mobile!
You’ve heard about it. You’re psyched about it. You want it. You want it NOW!
Its something that the technology industry is coining as the next big thing. Leaders are RIM, Nokia, IBM, with Microsoft getting ready to combine all their communication server applications into a unified entity; all these big guns are working towards a unified collaborative infrastructure.
What does this mean for you me & and that guy named James Dupri trying to run business while out from office? Well you won’t necessarily need to carry that desktop replacement laptop or even that Netbook – an excuse for a laptop that just doesn’t cut it. It means the ability to use your favorite smartphone platform to be fully in the know, control asset resources, establish & maintain communications & relationships with clients, downtime doesn’t exist nor does excuses; basically being fully productive.
Are you for real? Is it just for Business? Hmm. First lets get the definitions from the leading players, shall we?! I’ll begin with the boring business stuff first – but consumers & power users should read through to understand the differences in focus & directions its going.
RIM defines Unified Communications as such:
– Mobile unified communications is a concept that integrates multiple media – fixed and mobile
voice; email; IM; desktop and advanced business applications; presence; VM; audio and
unified messaging – all in single environment for a simplified and more productive user
At RIM’s WES2008 Conference a study was done regarding Mobile Unified Communications.They’ve noticed a few trends.
Voice is still dominant in Mobile Communications •15M-25M users of smart devices for push email, but
•250M-350M mobile workers with cell phone for voice
•Voice will remain Mission Critical for the foreseeable future Within next 3-4 years: •>25% of enterprise workers will deploy only a mobile device (no office phone)
•>85% of enterprise mobile devices will be smart phones
•Mobile Presence and IM will be ubiquitous (like email is now)
•PBX functionality (e.g., call forwarding, call monitoring, speed dialing, integrated directories,
presence, call flows, conferencing) will be required for mobile workers
•65%-75% of enterprise smart phones will have equivalent access to messaging, IM,
presence, and collaboration as current desktops
•All major communications suites will include Unified Communications
Now if you just take a few minutes to digest this. Think of how RIM’s BlackBerry’s are suited. You cannot save all contacts to SIM card with 1 action, but you can import. For PBX functionality, they must be setup on a corporate BES server, which must have MDS Studio component installed and permissions via IT’s Avaya/Cisco/MS Office Communications/SharePoint Server enabled & setup. This is PBX not SIP (your personal VoIP solution). Finally BlackBerry devices are not well suited for Presence without user input; or what I’d like to refer to as “Static-Presence”. I’ll get back to this in a few minutes.
RIM also noticed a few other trends regarding Unified Communications.
What’s Keeping it from Happening? Expertise more than cost
•Lack of technical resources
Lack of planning
•Still not in many company’s plans
Lack of understanding of benefits
•What does it do for the cost expended
•Too hard to use
•Too much info on that “iddy biddy” screen
•Doesn’t the wireless carrier already do that for me?
•We’ve got too much on our plate and no one is pushing this
•Cross device support is a challenge
•Legacy upgrades – IP PBX
•Too costly to deploy
The market & software, hardware backends have changed pretty well in the past year, however 1 overall factor will hurt business’ focused on improving their UC deployments; MONEY! This alone is the high-ended enemy of corporations and medium-large business’ wishing to Unify Communcations, especially in today’s tumultous (disorderly or distraught) economic environment.
Who Needs to Always Stay Connected? Different users and scenarios, with a shared problem! Healthcare users •Variety of mobile users, but communications is critical; Time is of the Essence, information can save a life! Financial agents •Delivering services at customer location (home, office) – loans, retirement accounts, insurance, etc.; staying connected is imperative to maintain customer relationship! Field Service workers •Provide services at customer location. Efficiency means more calls, raising revenues and profits. Real time communications and collaboration for competitive differentiation! Executives •Employ mobile devices regularly, with variety of uses (e.g., email, PIM, data, etc.), with voice as primary need and IM becoming mission critical. Time is money! Sales people •Most have some form of mobile devices; nearly all keep records of contacts
and transactions; real time collaboration can make or break a sale!
Majority of companies will deploy Mobile UC in next 2-3 yrs •All major Communications Suites are including UC functionality
•Reliance on smart mobile devices is growing
•While still not easy, adding UC is getting easier
•Take a component approach – add functions as needed
•Demand for functions will increase with improving end user
applications and perceptions
•Most back end (e.g., PBX) legacy systems being upgraded
Now with all this research at hand … there was an interesting pie charge from RIM’s documentation that I found interesting; as you may as well when I source the document.
Pressure to Implement / Improve Mobile UC
Another fundamental importance is RIM’s limited focus on Presence and how that will play a MAJOR part in both Business & Consumer roles for Unified Communications. When I get to “Static-Presence” you’ll understand what I’m referring to.
Nokia defines Unified Communications as such:
In simple terms, we see unified communication covering two different aspects. On the voice side, it’s about fixed/mobile convergence and unifying PBX connectivity with mobile conversations, so you can have a single device that can seamlessly go back and forth across a cellular network and a wireless LAN/IP network . The wireless device becomes an extension or end point on your PBX, so it supports all the traditional PBX features. The other element is more data-centric, using email as a starting point, but adding other communication methods such as instant messaging, SMS/MMS text messaging, video messaging , and videoconferencing . So it’s about providing access to many collaboration and communication elements with a unified look and feel, on a single mobile device. – David Petts, Senior Vice President, Business Mobility, Markets for Nokia.
Pretty well thought out. Can SOMEBODY HIRE this guy to be 2nd in command of Symbian Foundation to Mr. Williams, please!! Now this with an extensible platform capable of running C++, Ruby, Python, and J2ME applications is promising. Lets hope yesterday’s Symbian Foundation (squared) OS timeline has this in mind with ease of use in using its power.
Oh, some more … on how NokiaForBusiness will begin to think of UC.
At Nokia, we envision a world where my wireless device knows my calendar and automatically changes the presence of my device so I don’t get an embarrassing phone call in the middle of a presentation. When I’m between meetings, it should say, “Ah, you’re in Italy. I can see from your calendar which Italian customers you’re visiting. I’ll quiz your sales force automation system and find the largest customers you’re not visiting, and suggest you call one while you’re in the car.” That’s about knowing location as well as availability, and the interconnection of the different applications and capabilities.
Finally we recognize that unified communications is not unique to business people during their professional life. It’s also something individuals want to use more broadly. In two devices we recently launched – the E71 and E66 – we have the ability to switch between business and personal modes. For each mode, you can bring six different application icons to the home screen.
– David Petts, Senior Vice President, Business Mobility, Markets for Nokia.
Ok I know that second paragraph above seems old, as those quotes where taken from last year (prior to Sept 23rd, 2008).
Static Presence vs Liquid Presence
To me “Statice Presence” is the limitation that your location, your appointments & meetings, and your Email & IM along with your calls are well, Static. If you think of Web 2.0; the social web – then you’re familiar with MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, JaikuSpot, and prior to them IM (AIM, MSN, YahooIM, GoogleTalk, and prior kings of IM & File sharing). You’ll notice, that while all great are still focused on 1 major flaw. Simple user inpute and manual interaction. Sure you can set IM to load an application for when you startup your device, and even update a saved page or feeds (something the BlackBerry platform does well), and receive messages, status updates from others. But it has no idea about the sensitivity of your calendar, tasks (expected phone calls), physical location, who you’re meeting with or relevance to media you’re currently consuming or sharing.
How about turning on your favorite Symbian device, IM loads, push email is ready to work & is, feeds get updated, GPS gets near-immediate ephemeral information & location & compass direction. Now say you’ve just left the office for lunch and the time is 11:45am. You’ve got 15mins to arrive at the nearby restaurant for an over-lunch presentation. You call a cab, as your in the elevator and it should be there in less than 5mins. While you wait outside your Symbian device gathers information of your location, keeping your calendar importance in check and alerts you of possible tardiness. You can think what the Pre would do here – offer to call or email the other party’s awaiting to be present at the meeting; but your Symbian device does more. You’re doing an IM chat with that ‘bad girl’ from the insurance company you met a few weeks ago, and the cab arrives. The Symbian device is smart enough to realize your speed is faster than pedestrian and offers a turn by turn map direction to your destination and EVEN does so at the cheapest cab cost according to route and current blips in cab driver speeds. You know the skill of trade created by NYC cabbies that is used now worldwide; jump on the gas to bump up the trip meter & price & cash out of your pocket. You arrive with 2mins to spare and rushing out the cab you forget your S60/Symbian phone in the back seat. Luckily it knows that your BT headset/watch is getting father in range and sounds off a loud speaker alert in the car while sending a normal volume alert in your headset; in case you’re wearing it. You rush back, and get your mobile computer from the cab – no bonus tip for the driver today! Now you get inside and tell the conceirge the party you’re there meeting with. Ah, right on time, and during the rush out, and back to the cab – you’re phone sent a last IM message to bad girl – (of course predifined;) Bebe, got a meeting to attend I’ll holla at ya later. We’ll celebrate tonight if I seal the deal. You can be the robber me the cop, bring the cuffs & negligee I like . Well you catch my drift. But what if ‘bad-girl’ thinks you’ve been blowing her off lately and tries to get pyscho and call you, IM you, or email you back? Yup mobile computer knows the play:
IM = Do Not Disturb (sure you could save the attempted incoming messages but do you really want to read them?).
Calls = Phone’s profile was set to silent based on either Time – appointment from calendar, or by GPS location. Only important calls from the boss or team related to your presentation over this important business lunch get vibration alert/special audible ringtone.
Email = emails from any of her addresses is on no audio, visual or vibrating alert; manually reading for later. Other emails automatically apply the device’s Silent Profile to send Out of the Office present message or default.
Presence – (this could be to RIM’s advantage via BBMessenger but Nokias’ Ovi Contacts can play the same game too) One of the ppl supposed to be in the meeting is arriving late, extremely late. His devices GPS presence has already updated your mobile computer (a Symbian device), and pre-emptively sent needed documents via email attachment/IM to him/her so that they’re prepared when they arrive (should they be smart enough to fully read them).
Now the meeting is reaching an end, about 15mins left. The other party – 1 of the clients team – arrives. She’s their manager the one that will approve or deny the deal and finalize the cost with you. She’s reviewed the documents you’ve sent and comes up with a few pressing questions that are critical to the product/service you’re offering. You cannot answer them immediately to finalize the deal. 3 yrs ago it would be acceptable to postpone any decision, even on a promising offer for a few hours until details are confirmed. Today you’d loose this deal; as they say Time – your time is money – their time is power & mo’ money. Instead of just ending off like this you attempt to make a call to your boss at the office. Nobody there VM is available. You think old style and figure he’s on his mobile, but with PBX/SIP the office line would route to the mobile – like the SIM card allows 1 line for many phones, PBX allows many phone types 1 number. So you use your Symbian powerhouse and use IM to reach him. Since his IM has GPS location presence, and he too is on lunch/meeting with presence enabled to block certain people, your phone call would not go through, but your IM will – vibration & LED notifying him of importance; minimizing any foreground IMs in flight. He responds and accepts your high quality (30fps, 640×480) Video Conference. Now you can introduce the client & their questions while he can respond keeping you in high regards; and his assistant can over hear the call and on her mobile computer can get the details of the meeting (calendar sharing in Exchange/Domino) and forward you the documents – a tiny, unobtrusive bubble notify’s you they’ve been received. Now the Video-Conference is over and you seal the deal. The client covers the lunch. You’re Symbian device updates your Social Status as KING of NYC 😉 and you head back to work to finish up the day. Since bad-girl has been trying to call you every 5mins and sending you a few emails – you can check them for the rest of the day; on any other phone that is. However, based on criteria you’ve setup its already responded via IM or Email and tempered her, pampering her for the cops & robbers celebration event later that night.
Hey if you’re dating 2 girls at once put your own spin on how Unified Communications can benefit you as well. Remember, to think of company slogans when considering buying a smartphone.
RIM does not use a slogan. Instead, RIM has the RIM logo and company description to represent the organization. Nokia has one and although simple its VERY powerful & yet obvious it goes missing amongst even analysts. Nokia is about “Connecting People”. Think about this, seriously. Your logo can stay the same but does it actively and continue to represent your company’s missing, focus and future endeavors? No. You’d have to spend millions on brand-name recognition, brand definition, and product target markets every year as your missing changes – for a while its worked for RIM. Nokia is about “Connecting People”. Wether you’re an executive running a business, a junior recruit coming up, a father, husband, a wife or mother, a son or daughter, grandmother, pops; you’re a person first, not a logo or a number ready to multiply in cash spendings to their coffers. No matter where you are in the world, or the climate you live in, the music you choose to listen to or how you choose to listen to it. You’re a person! No matter where you are in the world Nokia has a phone, smartphone, or tablet for you. They’re all “mobile devices” – even laptops – or “mobile computers”. Nokia has for just over 10yrs been making smartphones & feature phones that cater to the ever changing market demands – enforced and created by you the people. Camera phones, music phones (XpressMusic lineup), fashion phones (8800/7610Nova/Vertu lineup) , smartphones (7650), smartphones that focused on music (N75/N91/N81/N85), messaging(9300/9500/E90/E71/E55/E75/E66), pictures (N73/N90/N93), and even exclusive smartphones catered to specific cultures (N73 with Koran in native or english languages). Now with Ovi Services and Ovi Store Nokia is on the brink of something special still someone static as they’re seperate but soon you’ll not only be downloading or listening to music suggested by your peers or friends & family but also listening to a music mix that will change into a seperate mix by pressing a button, shaking the phone or maybe a heart-monitor change to another mix of different tempo while your running/cycling or coming to the door of your girlfriend/boyfriend that your heart races when you know you’re near.
Nokia; Connecting People – THAT is the key to a successful Unified Communications – because we communicate with people – not a balance sheet, pie chart or device itself.
Lately, the analysts, fans & common users, and the industry has been down on Nokia because they don’t include or more like advertise on the latest & greatest hardware specs. BOO! Its not only about hardware anymore its about software & hardware and the unison of how they’re combined and how we use them! As you can see I’ve highlighted just how possible it’ll become.
Source documents in PDF:
Nokia Unified Communications
<a href=”http://share.ovi.com/media/Jagga.public/Jagga.10050″><img src=”http://media.share.ovi.com/m1/roundedthumbnail/0712/pdf.jpg” border=”0″ title=”Nokia for Business – Unified Communications 2008 – Share on Ovi” alt=”Nokia for Business – Unified Communications 2008 – Share on Ovi” width=”100″ height=”100″ /></a>
RIM The Promise of Unified Communications
<a href=”http://share.ovi.com/media/Jagga.public/Jagga.10051″><img src=”http://media.share.ovi.com/m1/roundedthumbnail/0712/pdf.jpg” border=”0″ title=”RIM_The Promise of Mobile Unified Communications – Share on Ovi” alt=”RIM_The Promise of Mobile Unified Communications – Share on Ovi” width=”100″ height=”100″ /></a>
I’ll have a post up for tomorrow afternoon and possibly Tuesday as well guys. Thanks again for reading my blog. Till next time; enjoy your mobile travels – and share them tothe world!