Licking your chops at possibility of deploying the latest in mobile technology to your organization? Take a deep breath before you get into trouble.
That’s the advice Jeanne Bayerl of telecommunications manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent gave an IT conference in Toronto on Monday.
With a multitude of mobile solutions ranging from DECT(Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications)-based phones to dual-mode WiFi-cellular handsets to smartphones, communications mangers may opt for one device to simplify things. But, she warned, “there isn’t a one-solution answer” to all of an organization’s mobility needs.
She was speaking at IT360, an annual conference for IT executives on trends in information technology.
Bayerl, who is Alcatel-Lucent’s director of marketing for enterprise business, said each device offers features and prices that should fit the needs of each user. Some independent research suggests as many as half of all business phone calls are made on mobile devices, she said, but that doesn’t mean everyone can justify a cellphone.
Some users are mobile only within the boundaries of one building, others may roam within a few nearby buildings while others are constantly on the road, she pointed out. A Bluetooth-enabled handset allowing a user to roam close to a desk phone may be sufficient for a full-time office employee, she said, while someone who moves more freely but still within a building could use a DECT cordless phone. Those who are off-site a lot will be the ones who can take best advantage of smartphones and the connectivity back to office applications they allow, she added.
As for the next big trend in smartphones, the dual-mode device that can use WiFi networks when available to save money, Bayerl was cautious. According to Gartner, by 2010 about 10 per cent of all cellphones sold will be dual-mode devices, while another research company estimates that 70 per cent of all phone calls originate from within a WiFi coverage area. Still, unless specifically designed for voice, WiFi networks don’t offer the same security as landlines or even cellular, she said.
“That’s a weak spot” of dual-mode phones. “Let’s make sure we’re putting the right device (in user’s hands) based on their requirements,” Bayerl said in an interview after her speech.