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Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Two Number Accessibility" For FMC and UC

UC Commentary – January 28, 2008

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

Business UC Users Need “Two-Number Accessibility” For Mobile Devices and FMC Services

I want to welcome a new contributor to, long time contributor to BCR magazine and an expert in wireless communications, Michael Finneran, In particular, his objective white paper on Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) options for the enterprise deserves a read just to fully understand the different ways that mobile carrier services and enterprise IP telephony have started to interoperate.

There are a number of issues for such interoperability that will come under the big “umbrella” of UC, especially when business and consumer (residence) services converge at the individual user/subscriber level, that I will address in the future. However, I just wanted to highlight a particular point that was addressed in the white paper, “one number accessibility” that is usually associated with "Find Me, Follow Me" services.

It will be very obvious that such a service, regardless of how it is implemented, must be for a particular business responsibility domain. It can’t be used both personal and business contacts, nor should it be used for two different jobs that an employee may have with two different companies. As Finneran points out, business phone numbers, fixed or mobile, have to be controlled by the business. When an employees leaves the company, that number should no longer be controlled by the ex-employee.

Note that I am talking about the telephone number, not the device that uses that number, and this makes the issue of having more than one mobile number associated with a mobile telephone device very important. This is becoming particularly pertinent with the advent of personalized “smartphones” that consumers will now want to use for their work contacts as well. Having a company controlled mobile software client, in addition to whatever a subscriber gets from a consumer mobile service, will enable the end user to have the best of all worlds from UC.

Cell phones have long been able to accommodate two access numbers. Now it is time to bring that power to bear on the benefits of UC for mobile users. “One-number Service” must be defined for either personal contacts or business contacts that share a common mobile end-point device but different management controls and different billing requirements. So, I call that “Two-Number Access,” one for any form of business operations access and the other for any form of consumer service access.

In reading Finneran’s white paper, you will see that there will be FMC options for each, but, more importantly, it will require the carriers to interoperate more with enterprise systems and, for business process applications, to get rid of the “walled gardens.”

Do you agree?

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