Research in Motion has taken the full unified communications plunge via its Blackberry Mobile Voice System (MVS) solution. The goal of this product is to allow a Blackberry smartphone to become a seamless telephony extension.
Millions of users already rely on Blackberrys to provide them seamless e-mail and now the company is pushing hard into the world of voice. MVS provides enhancements to device software, the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and Ascendent Voice Mobility Suite from Ascendent Systems which is a subsidiary of RIM.
I had a chance to catch up with Ascendent Systems Senior Marketing Manager Heather Howland a few weeks back in Boston to discuss this announcement. In addition we spoke today where she rounded out the details. Heather was excited to tell me this solution works with every PBX (TDM and/or IP) on the market and allows a secure mobile extension to a user’s desk phone.
End users benefit from this product through an intuitive mobile visual GUI allowing them to manage their telephony needs such as transferring calls, parking or conferencing. In addition, users will benefit from a single mailbox and better yet, a single phone number.
The callers can be authenticated via the BES and PBX using a secure data channel and in addition all calls can be forced to go through the PBX making auditing compliance and billing an easier task. This last feature is especially useful in the government sector and financial institutions where calls on a Blackberry can now be recorded on the PBX if needed.
Although call recording could be done before, Heather emphasized there are no special codes to be remembered by users. She went on to say some customers are currently in beta trials and the analyst community seems thrilled with this announcement.
I haven’t had a chance to demo this product but am hoping to get my hands on a Blackberry with MVS built-in. Is there a downside to this news? Perhaps. You see, while the integration of more and more features into the Blackberry device is the exact direction RIM should be going in, Blackberry users may now have to get used to carrying around spare batteries with them to take advantage of all these devices can now offer. Why? Well some smartphone users carry around a second smaller cell which could now become unnecessary. Still, this is a small price to pay for the added flexibility and convenience of pocket-sized unified communications.