Cord-cutting UC

by Dave Michels

Network World is confusing cord cutting with going mobile.

We observed in our newsletter a week ago that the integration of business apps on mobile devices was very important to business, but we weren’t quite sure businesses were willing to “cut the cord” in favor of wireless substitution. However, based on results published this week in the BroadSoft 2011 Mobile Enterprise of the Future Survey, enterprises appear more likely to adopt mobile-only communications that we thought.

There is nothing more important in UC right now than mobile integration. For some reason, people don’t seem to like hanging out at their desk waiting for the phone to ring. “Hey, I’d like to hang out, but I’m too hip gotta go.”

This is great news for mobile phone makers and mobile carriers, but oddly it doesn’t seem particularly bad for UC premises vendors. I’m writing this post in Europe where I just met with Laurits Sorensen – Managing Director Aastra Denmark. Laurits said that in Denmark they are seeing up to 27% of SMBs with no fixed premises equipment (the Danes really love their mobiles), but he wasn’t too concerned about it as he is also seeing increased demand for Aastra’s mobility solutions. Turns out the two trends are not diametrically opposed – that Aastra’s mobile solution enables mobility.

There is a difference between premises equipment and premises phone numbers and services. The PBX phone may be at risk, but not the call manager. Call managers can dramatically improve an organization’s UC solution sans desktop phones. A robust mobility solution should include directories, presence, video, collaboration, and unified messaging – and personally I think a desktop phone is a nice option too (certainly a desktop client at a minimum). That’s a tall order for the vast majority of mobile carriers – even if they do offer the iPhone.

The report in question was published by Broadsoft so probably says the same thing I’m saying. But NW’s coverage states “Many enterprises believe their mobile network operator (MNO) is better positioned to deliver integration of UC features than are fixed-line providers.” And a salami might be better than a sponge to hammer a nail.

The bottom line is UC is hot and a mobile is only part of the solution – albeit a big part. A mobility solution may also include teleworking, hotdesking, wi-fi, and DECT.