By Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent
Businesses are always looking for new and better ways to reduce costs and boost productivity. For decades, they’ve relied on customer premise systems that are increasingly inflexible and costly for today’s needs. Now, voice over LTE (VoLTE) and cloud changes that old scenario, enabling the enterprise CIO to implement a mobile-first strategy that includes an ever-changing application mixture. It gives enterprises a way to cut costs dramatically for employees who are on the move — while setting the stage to enhance all employees’ productivity.
This opportunity is a generational shift for Enterprises and Service Providers. I’ll discuss the mobile aspect in this blog — the second in my three-part series on the value of VoLTE. You should also check out Bryan Davies’ blog series to hear his ideas on how you can meet the changing needs of the enterprise.
Who needs a desk phone?
That’s the crucial question in today’s enterprise. More and more employees are on the move. And they’re not just on the road, visiting customers, visiting work sites and handling cases. They’re also working from home much more, hoteling when they’re at work, or otherwise moving around the campus.
So why is the enterprise paying for all those desk phones — which don’t offer much support for this growing level of mobility? If their employees are like me, the desk phone is for the rare occasion when I’m in my office. And for the rarer occasions that I remember to check its voice mail.
Implementing VoLTE with cloud gives CIOs a way to address this growing inefficiency, so they can do more with tight budgets. They can implement it with a Service Provider, or by acting as an MVNO in partnership with a Service Provider. First, those costly, limited desk phones are eliminated for any employee who benefits from mobility. Second, it adds rich IP communications, creating multi-device (including web) conversations that blend HD audio, video, and modern messaging. Third, it equips the enterprise with an ever-changing mix of applications, where Communications as a Feature (CaaF) puts the conversation inside the IT application. The result is employees get more work done, wherever they are, while the CIO cuts costs. When analyzing that first step for a current enterprise customer, we calculated that VoLTE reduces their communications IT costs by 17 percent.
To get an idea of just how VoLTE contributes to productivity, let’s look at how I would use it on an average work day.
Simplicity, mobility and speed
- I can use a single account. Which means my colleagues and customers call me using just one phone number. There’s no more guesswork, and I have just one account to take care of. So I save time. I’m more efficient, and my response times are faster.
- I can work from anywhere at any time. At my desk, anywhere in the campus, on the road or at home. I don’t waste time booting up a softphone that replicates my desk phone’s limitations; instead, I instantly get to work.
- I can talk and work at LTE speeds. I’m not lucky enough to have an LTE tablet or LTE laptop. So I simply turn my VoLTE smartphone into a hotspot, tethering those devices to it using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There are no messy 3G “circuit switched fallbacks” every time that I’m on a conference call or talking with a customer. Instead, VoLTE maximizes my time on LTE, where I rely on its speed to enhance my efficiency.
Doing more things on the move
Once the groundwork for lower costs and higher productivity is established, VoLTE supports a variety of ways to communicate and use IP-based business capabilities. I think of this as an ever-increasing array of “cool stuff” that VoLTE enables. While that cool stuff was previously the domain of so-called “Over the Top” or alternative providers, VoLTE equips the enterprise and the Service Provider to innovate, because VoLTE combines cloud-based communications with nifty radio optimizations. It combines innovation with a simply great user-experience.
- VoLTE naturally enables HD voice — (unlike the network retrofit and phone upgrades typically required by 2G and 3G networks). This sound quality is highly valuable, when a call really matters. It lets employees like me distinguish who’s speaking on a conference call — and get all the essential details I need to keep customers satisfied.
- Voice is just the start. VoLTE also comes with instant messaging, which I use all the time, as well as video. The video imagery really helps me communicate, because while sometimes words aren’t clear, I sure do pick up on those non-verbal cues.
- Beyond services, there are apps. When VoLTE is built using Alcatel-Lucent IMS, it comes with New Conversation APIs and WebRTC. The result is global reach (just as we all enjoy today with 2G or 3G) yet it also puts communications inside of apps and web sites. For example, when you call me, I choose how to answer your call – whether on my VoLTE phone, a tablet extension or right inside my business’ web site. These capabilities give the enterprise a chance to build mobile-enabled products and services. So employees no longer have to say, “I’ll do that when I get back to the office.”
By providing versatility, economy, high performance and new ways to support employees on the move, VoLTE plays a crucial role in helping the enterprise cut the cord. The process can be as nuanced as the CIO wants it to be, because VoLTE’s cloud communications platform also supports fixed enterprises and unified communications. Or for a small enterprise, they might want to mobilize the whole staff and move directly to VoLTE. They’d simply be following in the footsteps of so many consumers, who have already benefited by cutting the cord.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about how VoLTE offers you the opportunity to reset the market with your consumer customers.
Past articles in this series: