The Growth of the Fixed-Mobile Convergence Market

9 Feb 2016

Enterprise communications has changed a lot over the last decade and is increasingly moving from hardware to cloud based software solutions. The working environment has become a lot more fluid, with changing perceptions on flexible working hours forcing organisations to address their collaboration strategies. Indeed, employees expect to connect with their colleagues or customers instantly, whether it's via email, social media, video or voice, on any device, wherever they are. Enterprise communications have subsequently had to extend the capabilities of mobile collaboration to meet these new demands, which has resulted in the growth of the fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) market and given rise to cloud communication software technology, including telephony, contact centre, instant messaging, video conferencing and chat.

Despite being popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, when vendors promised capabilities such as services routing calls over converged intelligent networks, the FMC market never really took off. Mobile substitution prevailed over any form of merging of fixed and mobile lines, particularly among the younger generation. However, in recent years, the FMC market has seen more growth than ever before, with what looks like better prospects than a decade ago. The increase in video consumption on all types of telecommunications networks means that FMC is more likely to be successful through cloud business communication software vendors than it was through the voice operators.

Benefitting from FMC

There are many benefits for businesses looking to adopt fixed-mobile convergence. It can enhance a company's workforce, improve productivity, boost security, and provide a big competitive advantage. Furthermore, its scalability means it can allow for future growth and innovation, while the ability of having a communications solution that works across all the company's networks such as the mobile network, the enterprise network and even local Wi-Fi networks while on the move mean businesses can enjoy significant cost savings.

One of the main reasons businesses choose to implement FMC is the impact it can have on decision-making and output. Indeed, mobile professionals can make much more informed decisions if they have immediate access to their company's overall communications platform. Customer queries can be answered faster and branch offices can collaborate more effectively, enabling companies to compete in a global economy. If customers and colleagues can reach employees or customers with a single number, no matter where they, they are never out of touch. With employees regularly on the move or working remotely, this ensures a consistent relationship from start to finish. And when you introduce WebRTC on top of FMC, providing seamless video conferencing across any device with no software requirement, employees really have a very powerful communication capability which creates a strong impression on clients and prospects.

A useful feature of FMC is that it enables workers to quickly access their familiar desktop phone features, like call transfer, from their mobile devices. If, for example, a call is missed, having one voicemail box means employees spend less time managing multiple answering machines. Moreover, FMC is designed to extend the security and control of enterprise communication platforms to mobile devices. With highly secure settings, companies can minimise the chance of being a target of toll fraud, conference call snooping or other unauthorised access.

Finally, fixed mobile convergence makes financial sense. By employing policies that route mobile through Cloud Telephony & Contact Centre systems and across the lowest-cost, negotiated-rate, fixed-line networks, businesses can significantly reduce telecommunication costs. Having all employees using the same communications platform regardless of device leads to significant productivity gains, especially when integrated with other core IT platforms.

The Future of FMC

Going forward, tightly integrated fixed and mobile lines using cloud communication software technology will be the main characteristic of future networks and services. As the millennial generation enters the workforce, organisations will be put under more and more pressure to adapt to the 'always on' flexible working that they have come to expect - and this includes communicating across any mobile device at any time of the day. We will subsequently see businesses increasingly look for smarter, cost-effective communication tools via the cloud that ensures all of their communication channels are in sync. By adopting fixed mobile convergence, businesses can ultimately facilitate timely responses to customers' needs, centralise processes without adding complexity and give themselves the opportunity to drive out significant legacy telephony costs.

By Ed Grant, CFO & co-founder of Solgari



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