Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>

Dave Michels | September 19, 2016 |


Verizon One Talk: UC Mobility Without an App

Verizon One Talk: UC Mobility Without an App Verizon One Talk is a new service that utilizes a single, native phone number across mobile and fixed and devices.

Verizon One Talk is a new service that utilizes a single, native phone number across mobile and fixed and devices.

For the past couple of decades enterprise communications has involved an odd pairing of mobile and fixed communications components. Both have undergone radical technical changes, but have predominantly remained separate. Verizon has merged the two together in a new way with its One Talk service.

Mobile phones have evolved from flip phones through BlackBerrys to the modern iOS and Android smartphones. Concurrently, network improvements have brought expanded coverage with increased speeds. A mobile phone is often a user's primary or preferred endpoint.

Fixed UC components have changed as well, though these changes are less apparent to end users. The modern IP phone shares little in common with its telephone ancestors, yet looks and works in similar ways. Enterprise UC systems support modern features such as single sign-on (SSO), integration with business applications, and software clients.

Fixed and mobile solutions usually meet with broadly functioned UC mobile apps for smartphones, and as employees increasingly use their smartphone's in the office, many question if there is still a need for two systems.

It's more complicated than endpoint preferences. Different people and job roles have different communication requirements. Enterprise UC systems offer significant functionality not found on mobile phones -- everything from basic features such as call transfer to more extensive applications such as contact center capabilities.

Mobility has emerged as a common UC requirement, but unfortunately the mobile-app idea is better in theory than practice. My colleague Michael Finneran, president of dBrn Associates, has shared information that consistently shows very low adoption and usage rates of UC mobile clients.

Mobile UC apps are second-class citizens on smartphones, which already provide similar functionality natively. Smartphones are quite capable of making and receiving calls, and do so over a voice-optimized channel. UC apps tend to use the wireless data channel, which is less prevalent, lower quality (for voice), and consumes more battery.

The smartphone also offers seamless integration across its system. For example, dialing a phone number received in an SMS or email is usually just a single touch with the native dialer. Conversely, third-party UC apps tend to be more cumbersome; the user may have to open, navigate, and dial in separate actions.

The next generation needs more integration between mobile and fixed, and Verizon has submitted its One Talk service as an option for the mobile enterprise. Here, the smartphone and the desk phone share a single identity. This is different than the more popular approach through which devices use separate numbers, but create the illusion of a single number with call forwarding or simultaneous ring.

With the One Talk service from Verizon, the mobile and the desktop phone share a single (mobile) number. The service offers one set of features and logs, from one vendor under one invoice. Verizon also offers the fixed and mobile devices and wired and wireless network services.

Verizon positions One Talk for small business customers with fewer than 100 employees, and finds the strongest traction in companies with 20 or fewer employees. This is likely due to One Talk's limited feature set. For example, One Talk does not support contact center services and SSO at this time. Verizon offers a Cisco HCS-powered UCaaS service for its larger, enterprise customers. Only One Talk uses the same native number for mobile and desktop devices.

Business customers first determine how many phone numbers they need, and then assign those numbers to devices -- be they desktop phones, software client endpoints, or smartphones. Additional business services such as unified messaging, auto attendants, and hunt groups are available. The service includes SMS integration to the desktop client, so all users are capable of sending and receiving text messages.


Verizon One Talk works on iOS and Android smartphones. On Android, Verizon enhances the native dialer with added business features: hold, park, transfer, and video. For BYOD users who want to maintain distinct personal and professional numbers on their mobile devices, Verizon supports a traditional mobile UC One Talk app. Verizon providers desktop users with a One Talk desktop app and/or a Yealink IP endpoint preconfigured for simplified provisioning.

Verizon isn't the first mobile carrier to offer a one-number service, but it is the first in the U.S. market to do so. It isn't being shy about it either. Verizon is promoting One Talk through 1,800 B2B sales reps, 1,600 retail stores, 300 SMB-focused stores, and 2,400 agents -- all supported by a national advertising campaign. Verizon claims it signed on more than 1,000 business organizations in its first 10 days of offering One Talk.

Mobile phones configured with One Talk are best suited for corporate owned/managed endpoints. Those that value the ability to turn off work calls while remaining reachable by friends and family (two numbers) are better suited with the add-on app.

The vision of tighter integration between mobile and fixed services is shared among several carriers and vendors. BroadSoft and Mitel are working to provide these capabilities within the cellular network. Tango Networks offers an enterprise-based approach. Several MVNO providers have created invoice-based integration. Some providers customize the Android dialer on the smartphone. For example, UCaaS provider Dialpad modifies the way the dialer places calls on its network. Apple's newly released APIs allow the dialer to work with apps from Cisco, Vonage, and others more seamlessly.

Verizon isn't sharing much about the underlying technology that powers One Talk other than that it leverages its existing platforms with internally developed integrations.

If this model emerges as a trend, it will hurt several UC/UCaaS vendors. The current installed-app approach is implemented on a vendor-neutral level playing field. With One Talk, the UC/UCaaS vendors are excluded from the conversation. The integration takes place within the wireless network, and sales and support go through the provider's channels.

Most wireless carriers today support voice with 3G cellular even when the data path is LTE. This is why there are usually separate plans and quality of service levels for voice and data. All-LTE environments could re-level the playing field. This transition is expected to be similar to the TDM-to-VoIP transition that has been occurring in businesses over the past 10 years. The model used with One Talk will still live in an all-LTE environment, but third parties should be able to add services as well.

The current virtual "one-number" approach isn't particularly effective, and it's time for a change. Evidently we have entered a new era of mobility in which wireless carriers support business-class features on the native dialer. It is inevitable now that carriers, providers, and software vendors will be prioritizing fixed and mobile services that are more intertwined.

Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.

Follow Dave Michels on Twitter and Google+!
Dave Michels on Google+


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
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 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.