By Neil Hammerton, CEO of Natterbox
We are so used to being trapped into a cycle of “refreshing” our mobile phone estates every couple of years that it has almost become habitual. Yet people carry laptops until they are unusable and only get a PC hardware “refresh” once every four of five years. Even though the costs of mobiles and PCs or laptops can be comparable nowadays we are still caught in this cycle of pushing mobile phone operators for a better gadget in order to win an extension of the contact. Could you imagine a world where the same was true of Internet access or emails – where every couple of years you negotiate with your ISP to provide new laptops to all the users on your network, or for all your broadband connected users? It is unthinkable.
The pace at which bring your own device (BYOD) is disrupting the market is going to be helpful in changing this trend, as are the commercial positions of the mobile phone operators. They have already changed the channel model where large up front connection payments are being replaced with a greater level of the monthly billable revenue. In commercial environments, that is simply a “race to zero” on mobile rentals and call bundles. For how much longer can mobile phone companies give away an expensive device on a monthly contract that only charges, for example £500, over two years and stay in business?
We are likely to see a change of mindset of organisations and of user expectations and behaviour. People will either start holding onto their mobile phone technology for longer or will opt to provide their own hardware and just expect the business to provide the network access and usage. We are seeing the dawn of a new technology opportunity with mobile device management products and security, along with developments in the way in which users can access the network resources they need from their devices.
Companies also need to think about voice services and number management. A user will always able to make and receive calls on their mobile whatever the hardware and number they received with the contract. If staff want to use a phone for business and keep it for personal use, how do they distinguish between the different uses?
There are products that can solve all of these problems. Users of all hardware types will be able to access a full range of calling features not previously available on mobile phones. These include conference calling, advanced call routing and call transfer. Also, a number of phone numbers, both mobile and landline, can be allocated to devices and calls can be terminated on the mobile, whichever number is dialled.
Taking this to the next level in-network call recording can be provided, along with CRM integration for the mobile workforce wanting to be heavy on productive and light on administration.
These systems are revolutionising the way mobile workforces communicate. In the emerging landscape of fixed mobile convergence, they provide a genuine alternative to traditional mobile phone service provision.
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