SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Michael Finneran | March 01, 2016 |

 
   

Can Mitel Break the "Curse of Mobile UC?"

Can Mitel Break the "Curse of Mobile UC?" The company's unique approach to mobility could lead to new business opportunities as well as a new direction for mobile UC.

The company's unique approach to mobility could lead to new business opportunities as well as a new direction for mobile UC.

It is no secret that UC vendors have struggled to come up with mobile clients that enterprise users want any part of, yet they persist. Mitel, however, is taking an interesting tack on mobility that has placed the company on my short list of vendors to watch at Enterprise Connect 2016, taking place next week in Orlando, Fla.

In its new mobile UC gambit, Mitel is leveraging an earlier move and could potentially open a whole new set of options going forward. If successful, this could lead to a new business for Mitel, as well as a new direction for mobile UC.

Outside the Box
The story starts back in 2010, when Mitel opened Mitel Mobile, its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) operation reselling Sprint network services. That was clearly an out-of-the-box move, as premises equipment suppliers have generally steered clear of providing network services, particularly mobile network services.

The bigger surprise came in early 2015, when Mitel announced it would purchase Mavenir Systems, a supplier of central office systems for mobile operators looking to support voice over LTE (VoLTE) and voice over WiFi (VoWiFi), IP Multimedia Subsystem, and rich communication services (RCS). The combined cash and stock deal, valued at $560 million, closed in April.

For those who don't follow the mobile industry too closely, RCS was an idea for enhanced mobile services that came out of the GSMA in 2007. Apparently inspired by UC, RCS would allow carriers to offer a presence-enhanced address book, live video calling, group chat, and text delivery notification -- with the exception of presence, this is essentially stuff that comes standard on your iPhone today. T-Mobile announced the first RCS-based service in the U.S. under the name "Advanced Messaging" last July.

The bigger part of the story is VoLTE/VoWiFi. While these technologies represent a tiny portion of the traffic on mobile networks today, they are what the carriers are looking at to move their existing 2G/3G circuit-switched voice services to all-IP solutions. Today, Mavenir reports that it is supplying this technology to 15 of the top 20 mobile operators worldwide.

As mobile operators transition to VoLTE/VoWiFi, they'll be able to deliver substantially improved voice quality through the use of broadband voice technology. Further, offloading voice traffic to WiFi will increase network capacity, reduce cost, and help address the perennial problem of indoor mobile network coverage (without the cost of deploying distributed antenna systems). All four of the Tier 1 mobile operators in the U.S. are adopting VoWiFi.

A Step Ahead
In the meantime, Mitel has made other advances on the mobile front. At the company's Mitel Next event in January, it announced plans to offer FieldAware's mobile field service management system. The secret sauce here is FieldAware will be integrating Mitel's real-time communications capability within its mobile app. Of course, as part of their mobile app solutions sets, the mobile operators all offer similar capabilities from a variety of partners.

Since all of this is essentially a completely different business from Mitel's traditional premises- and cloud-based telephony/UC offerings, the big question becomes, how does this play out for Mitel as a whole? While the two businesses could simply run in parallel, the most interesting outcome would be if Mitel were to find some meaningful synergy.

Just how that integration would take shape is unclear. Mitel is in the mobile carrier business, but as an MVNO (read "reseller") and not full-fledged "carrier," and Mavenir's technology installs in the carrier's infrastructure. Fortunately for Mitel, it is reselling network service from Sprint, one of the more aggressive Tier 1 mobile operators in deploying new technologies. In particular I would point to Sprint Mobile Integration, a network-based capability that integrates mobile devices on Sprint's network to premises or cloud-based PBX/UC systems.

It's important to note that Mitel's gambit is not without potential pitfalls. Mavenir is a rather small player in a field dominated by giants like Nokia, Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson, and Huawei. Could these giants potentially build the same functionality Mavenir is supplying into their existing systems? Or could one of them acquire Mitel to get access to the Mavenir technology, and then spin off the PBX/UC business?

Mitel, which is one of the sponsors of the Mobility track at Enterprise Connect, is giving us a lot to mull over about mobility. As I said, it's one of the companies I'll be looking into next week -- and happy to have Josh Haslett, general manager of Mitel Accelerator, on the Mobility Summit panel discussion on Monday, March 7, at 1:00 p.m. I doubt Josh will be "opening the kimono" the whole way, but I do hope he shares a bit more on what the company has up its sleeve for mobility.

Follow Michael Finneran on Twitter and Google+!
@dBrnWireless
Michael Finneran on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

December 13, 2017

The two major vendors in the Unified Communications space, Cisco and Microsoft, are both strongly promoting their cloud UC deployments. If cloud UC is on your enterprises roadmap, but you dont want

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.