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FMC: Strong Growth, Despite Unmet Potential

My colleague Alaa Saayed recently published Frost & Sullivan's latest research on Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC). Frost & Sullivan defines an enterprise FMC solution as any feature, service or product that allows a mobile device to connect with the corporate PBX or WLAN to extend corporate telephony features and applications or deliver cost-related benefits through the integration of wired and wireless networks. Depending on the customer needs and requirements, an enterprise FMC solution can deliver one or more of the following capabilities:

* Basic PBX mobility (or PBX-to-mobile extension)
* Session redirection (or device handoff)
* Single-number reach
* Single voicemail access
* Manual or automatic session continuity (or call handoff)
* Mobile UC features (e.g. mobile and corporate presence/IM, UM, conferencing, etc.)

A basic FMC solution will deliver first-level PBX-to-mobile extension, including such capabilities as single-number reach, simultaneous ring, single voicemail, and call-control features (e.g. call forward, do not disturb, call hold/resume, etc.) to the mobile device. An advanced FMC solution requires a mobile client to deliver call control and PBX features to the mobile device, as well as more advanced capabilities such as mobile and corporate IM/presence, unified messaging, conferencing, and dual-mode voice call handoff (manual or automatic) between networks.

Frost & Sullivan estimates that in 2010, the overall worldwide enterprise FMC market reached 3.33 million FMC units shipped--growth of 32.7 percent year-over-year. While this growth is significant, it’s lower than what Frost & Sullivan had anticipated. Emerging enterprise mobility solutions such as collaborative applications, team spaces, social medial tools, and enterprise tablets with built-in mobility software clients competed for the attention of both IT and technology vendors--and the market for FMC solutions took a back seat to the newer entrants.

But FMC continues to offer significant cost savings to enterprises that deploy it, and as enterprises recognize those ROI benefits, Frost & Sullivan expects the compound annual growth rate of enterprise smart phone units shipped with an FMC solution to be around 53 percent over the forecast period.

Indeed, enhanced premises-based and hosted FMC solutions that offer significant cost reduction capabilities as well as mobile UC features, including IM, presence, collaboration conferencing, etc., are expected to boost the sales of enterprise FMC solutions in coming years. Software clients for advanced premises-based FMC solutions reached 909,011 shipped in 2010, 51 percent growth year-over-year. Today, these types of clients make up 27.2 percent of the newly activated FMC solutions shipped in 2010.

Frost & Sullivan expects advanced premises-based FMC solutions to enjoy growth of 74.8 percent in terms of client units shipped and 64.3 in terms of total revenue incurred over the forecast period. Potential revenues could hit $4.17 billion by 2016.

The full FMC report contains additional forecasts, market share data, and in-depth vendor analysis. Clients can download it at