May 14, 2009
Sprint Network Services Put "Meat on the Bones" Of Enterprise UC
By Art Rosenberg
By now, most of the enterprise market understands what UC technology is basically all about (“Why of UC”) — i.e., enabling individual end users to flexibly communicate easily and cost efficiently anywhere and anyhow to do their jobs faster and better. Not only will end users be more productive, but business operations also become more cost efficient and effective. Because UC involves a significant change in handling phone calls within the context of increased mobility, messaging, and online information access, the biggest challenge to enterprise organizations is how to move forward with their migration to UC.
Sprint Nextel’s announcement this week offers a practical shortcut to business organizations to selectively bridge the gap between existing enterprise communications and the missing elements required for UC. Using their “Now Network” facilities, Sprint (News - Alert) has teamed with strategic partners to offer new network services for mobile device support, multi-modal IP networking services (wired, wireless), integration with IP telephony, unified messaging, instant messaging and presence management.
UC Services for Connecting Enterprise Applications, Desktops, and Mobile Users
With the increased growth of wireless communications and multimodal “smart-phones,” business process operations can now support any form of contact that an individual end user requires. Not only does this apply to people within an organization, but also to any external business contacts they deal with (business partners, customers) whose communication facilities are outside the control of the enterprise.
While UC flexibility is useful at the desktop, its greatest value is when it is combined with the power of mobile accessibility. That is also when users really need the flexibility of choice in communicating with eyes-free, hands free speech, silent screen interactions and text messages, or video interactions. Without the combination of mobile access and choice of communication modality, operational time delays of “human contact latency” can seriously impact high-value business processes and cause missed or delayed revenues, serious financial loss, and even loss of human life.
Such concerns are no longer just about traditional person-to-person contacts. As business processes become more automated and monitor operational workflows, they too need to proactively and selectively notify responsible people of any situations that require awareness, decision-making, or action taking by people. Those people, in turn, therefore need to be as communication-accessible as possible in order to be responsive to such operational situations, especially if they are time critical. That’s where mobility and UC services are needed most.
Mix and Match – Sprint “Now Network” Services Will Connect People, Networks, and Enterprise UC Applications
In Monday’s announcement, Sprint revealed the integration of its comprehensive 3G and 4G, SIP-enabled, wired and wireless “Now Network” facilities with UC technologies provided by industry leaders Microsoft, IBM (News - Alert), and Cisco for enterprise-based Instant Messaging, e-mail, and IP telephony. Their new service can help close the gap and speed up the migration from legacy PSTN TDM voice applications to IP-based, interoperable UC applications. In addition, Sprint’s UC solution can also open new avenues for enterprise business applications to access and interact with different types of end users, but still be efficiently managed and controlled by individual enterprise operations.
Sprint emphasized its use of SIP trunking over an MPLS network for its IP Telephony (VoIP) service offerings and interoperability with the PSTN network, as well as with enterprise IP Telephony networks. In addition, Sprint will initially provide Mobile Integration to support their subscribers’ Sprint CDMA phones in a Fixed Mobile Convergence (News - Alert) (FMC) business environment. As the smart-phone market continues to explode, we would expect the service to become more open and device independent, as well as support “dual persona” mobile devices. That is where the UC action will really explode for all kinds of communication services and where we expect all network operators to follow Sprint’s lead to compete for mobile subscribers and enterprise applications access.
What Do You Think?
Art Rosenberg, a veteran of the computer and communications industry, contributes his column, The Unified-View to TMCnet. To read more of Art’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Greg Galitzine