Benefits of Fixed Mobile Convergence
There are three types of savings an organisation can make from a convergent solution: call costs, infrastructure and productivity.
Savings delivered through convergence
Although call cost savings are the easiest to measure, they provide the least scale for savings. More benefits can be derived through infrastructure efficiencies and productivity.
Infrastructure savings are delivered through fixed-line replacement strategies and green field site deployments. This impacts the CAPEX and ongoing OPEX requirements of owning a fixed and mobile fleet.
Productivity and improved business processes, whilst providing the greatest opportunity for organisations to derive benefits from convergence, are also the hardest to quantify. For example, while a converged voicemail solution may save an employee five minutes of effort a day, the real benefit may not directly be derived through having an extra five minutes for 'productive' work. The benefits may, in fact, be delivered through customer satisfaction and repeat business as a result of improved response times. However, most businesses now measure customer satisfaction as a key performance indicator. Therefore, the increase in productivity and potential process re-engineering which can be achieved will have a positive impact on customer satisfaction levels.
Extending fixed line call features to mobile handsets
Reducing call costs
Improving the responsiveness of the business
Delivering control - for instance, for compliance with FSA regulations
Ease of extending capacity
The use of converged solutions also enables the workforce to be more productive through functions such as mobile access to direct dial extensions and conferencing. Employees are able to respond faster to voicemails, and benefit from reduced telephone tag as they are able to answer more calls first time. Specific productivity gains are illustrated by the following examples:
Consultants within a Healthcare Consultingcompany achieved a 10 to 15% productivity gain as a result of reduced telephone tag.
Carers at a Home Care Servicescompany achieved time savings of 60 minutes each day per employee due to fewer voicemails, more calls answered first time and reduced telephone tag.
A specialist call centre within a Travel Insurancecompany handled 25% more calls as a direct result of increased responsiveness of staff.
A Universityachieved one hour time saving per day for IT support staff, minimising delays in reaching colleagues to issue job instructions or resolve issues.
Within a Hospital, nurses were able to save at least 10 minutes each time they retrieved patient results, by being able to access and check results irrespective of location within the hospital.
Productivity benefits can be relatively difficult to quantify and are best addressed on an individual basis. However, financial savings can be found by calculating, for example, the number of minutes saved per day through enhanced communications and business processes (e.g. time wasted unnecessarily visiting office to pick up desk based voicemails or job schedules). In addition, the ability to rapidly and consistently answer enquiries and client calls can ensure that a client is gained and maintained owing to a better standard of service.
Although more difficult to measure, research has shown that softer benefits can lead to quantifiable revenue, customer satisfaction, customer retention, and work rate or cost saving improvements for enterprises.
One simple solution is a feature rich Business SIM enabling Voice, SMS & Data 3G and HSDPA whilst roaming. This mobile SIM provides the business with full control over calls and texts, both nationally on the hosted network and whilst Roaming. In addition, the SIM provides connectivity to defined private mobile networks and access to a common core for application activation.
The mobile is enhanced by providing short code dialling to other extensions in the business and support for the same feature dialling provided on fixed line handsets, enhancing application integration.
The MNO or MVNO provides for number portability and ensures that users can maintain their existing phone numbers and avoids any disruption to the dialling experience for the end user; no user training is required.
Idealy the network fully supports data options providing internet and mail connections. Access Point Names ( APNs) are provided for network supported applications such as Push-to-Talk (PTT
Subscribers naturally expect the same service capabilities when travelling abroad as they do when registered onto their home network. We aim to avoid complicated methods to make a call while ensuring subscribers can use their account when roaming internationally. Ideally, they want to be able to dial straight from their mobile contacts list without having to edit numbers in order to specify the correct country code.
CAMEL Customised Applications for Mobile network Enhanced Logic support means that, as long as the international network supports CAMEL, the user dials as normal. When CAMEL is supported, we can guarantee a seamless prepaid roaming experience. Costs are, typically, less than normal call rates and this solution ensures call recording as required for FSA compliance is still delivered while travelling in CAMEL countries.
CAMEL Call Back This solutions means that the caller makes a call as normal and the call is directed to the platform. The call then drops for a short period. The platform then immediately rings back both the caller and the destination number and connects the two parties. This solution is CAMEL dependent and ensures a lower call rate but it also incurs a slightly longer connection time.
Roaming will enable connection even when no CAMEL network is available. The call is made over the local macro network selected for the strongest network signal in the area. Call charges are at the standard country rates. This solution guarantees connection but will not ensure call recording within FSA regulations and will, potentially, incur the highest call rate.
Landline Number in the SIM
The SIMs can support both mobile and landline numbers which enables a mobile phone to host both a standard landline DDI (number) and a mobile number simultaneously.
Choice of Handset
It will support a wide range of handset models and, since it is independent of Smartphone operating systems, it is unaffected by operating system changes.
Short Code Dialling
As a result of the call routing presentation at the PBX or hosted data centre switch, short code dialling and feature dialling (i.e. number tagging to request a feature or application support such as record/don't record or identification of private calls), are supported.
Removing Business Costs Mobile phone software applications raise a number of management, cost and support issues for business. Furthermore, it is possible for mobile applications to be bypassed, even if this requires the mobile phone to be rebooted. All applications are delivered and supported centrally from the core; there is no need for support on the individual handsets, all that is needed is a New SIM card.
Savings on Mobile Costs
The outbound call leg is under the control of the business and will, typically, be configured to avoid Mobile Network Operator (MNO) charges for national and international calls. Calls, at the discretion of the business, may be placed:
FOC over internal, national and international business networks if they remain on-net or at land line contract rates for off-net calls over PSTN or the business's chosen carrier
Inbound calls to mobiles are presented at the PBX and receive a share of the Media Termination Credits (a credit to the SIM) paid to the Mobile Network
In addition this can provide significant savings, in excess of 70%, on international roaming charges. This is provided by:
Use of professional mobile operator Call Back
Reduced costs as the outbound call leg is under the control of business
Application Integration from the Core
Will route all calls and messages (SMS) to a common core for switching. This common core may also route calls or messages to or through an application platform which, in turn, will activate the required service for that call or message. This enables Fixed and Mobile calls and messaging to use a common applications platform and, for the first time, ensures that the business requirements are met without requiring applications on mobile phones.
Third Party Business Applications
The common core provides a rich capacity for application integration. The ability to dial short codes will enable an integrated application to be activated with the dialled digits feeding the application, avoiding the need for the user to enter additional digits. For example, a time registration for, say, Time and Attendance or flex time recording or for security staff arriving at a location might dial a number which indicates the application and the location - the Calling line ID can identify the caller - all completed in one call.
Push-to-Talk (PTT) PTT is a mobile application enabling mobile phones to be used like Private Mobile Radios (PMR) but with more choice of instruments, including ruggedized phones. PTT is a Hosted Service but available locally with a private mobile network. PTT also provides for Health & Safety Lone Worker requirements with the ability to locate using SMS and GPRS.
Support for a wide variety of user-related applications providing inbound call management, mail and business services for the individual. This means that these services are available from both fixed line and mobile handsets.
Intelligent Number (iN) Intelligent Number supports personal numbering, offering the user the flexibility to choose to deliver their calls to any nominated number that can be dialled, including international numbers. This provides a comprehensive strategy for hot-desking, as well as supporting business continuity / disaster recovery.
iN supports lifestyle management, providing call redirection when not available (e.g. switched off), or by date and time, plus the ability to be notified of people attempting to make contact through SMS and email notification.
In the event that the person called cannot be contacted, the call may be offered to an assistant or team (e.g. sales team) for answering. The 'Assistant' can have announced the original called party and, if known, the reason for non-answer, in order to answer the caller appropriately. This service also provides for manager-secretary working.
Voicemail Corporate voicemail services which include enhanced notification options through email and SMS integration.
Call Recording On-Demand - Press * at any point in your conversation and a recording of the whole conversation will be captured. This recording will be stored with voice mails and will be accessible over mobile, fixed phone or PC.
'Always-on' recording for business and regulatory compliance and governance requirements. Integrates the ability to apply call recording to an extension, a mobile or an intelligent Number - this is enforced through routing for both fixed and mobile calls. Call recordings are accessible through a web portal and can be tamper evident and / or encrypted.
Financial Services Authority (FSA) requirements for mobile voice and SMS recording. There is considerable demand in the mobile market for services to meet FSA requirements for recording both voice and SMS. Fioxed Mobile Convergence through the SIM will enable businesses to enforce the recording of both voice and SMS from any company mobile phone through mobile network routing. This solution does not rely on mobile phone software which can be bypassed or deleted by users.
All calls are logged for individuals.
Audio Conferencing Pre-booked or instant conferencing facilities provide a cost effective scalable conferencing bridge.
Will provide businesses with control over the use of their company mobile. Many mobiles are used in the workplace when fixed line phones are also available. Using fixed line functionality is significantly cheaper than mobile, so providing a converged solution allows the business to maintain control of costs, irrelevant of whether mobile or fixed line phones are used. Private mobile network deployments bring total control of mobiles and costs into the business, in the same way as a PBX. The mobile phone incurs costs at the same rate as a fixed phone.
Mobile Deployment Options
The primary design objective is to converge fixed and mobile networks for businesses, giving them total control over their mobile estate, taking control of onward dialling, enabling significant savings on typical mobile costs, integrating applications, and more. This SIM replacement solution will meet this objective for customers using legacy and IP PBX at the customer premise and where the customer installs a private mobile network system at their premises.
The first customer premise option will enable the customer to converge and control voice; SMS will be delivered and managed on the host mobile network.
The second customer premise option provides for a private mobile network system located alongside the customer PBX on customer's premises. With this option, the Private mobile network will provide a full mobile service and the location and authentication will flow through the mobile network interconnect providing network transparency.
Hosted Communications may be engaged, using either of the above options, to provide a service to record and manage secure recordings for corporate governance or conformance with regulatory requirements and other application services.
Customer Premise - MDC
A Mobile Direct Connect (MDC) service will trunk all calls from/to the SIM direct to the customer premise equipment. The calls will be SIP and, in the case of legacy networks/PBXs, a gateway will be required. SMS will remain on the mobile network and be delivered to the handset. An additional service for secure SMS recording is also available.
Using MDC, customers with their own legacy PBX or IP PBX, or a network of either or both, will be provided with control at their PBX over mobile originated calls and calls from off-net to their mobiles. It is assumed, for this purpose, the customer cannot accommodate nor has any interest in control over SMS. SMS will be delivered and managed on the host mobile network.
The platform, interconnected with the mobile networks, will receive in SIP calls for the customer which will be routed over SIP trunk(s) to the customer PBX. If the customer wishes to put the onward leg of a call back to the macro network, the call will be sent over the SIP Trunk to the platform which will place the call onto the mobile network. All other second legs of calls will be at the discretion of the business, enabling significant savings.
Integrators will need to configure the PBX, or PBX network, to provide for short code dialling and any other coded dialling used to connect the calls to applications or services, and then to instigate the second leg of the call.
All calls for mobiles on the same network, should be routed through the platform. Where a network originated call is received from the platform and is returned through the platform, certain rules will apply in order that the call is recognised as a call originating from a mobile on the network. Customers who have a requirement to record SMS may have their SMS messages routed through the hosted platform for secure storage and auditing.
Customer Premise - private mobile network
Private mobile network service deployment will see all voice and SMS (into PMX) trunked to the customer premise for delivery through the customer PBXs and over the private mobile network deployment. The voice calls will be SIP and, in the case of legacy networks/PBXs, a gateway will be required. private mobile network will communicate with the National and Global Mobile Networks through the platform interconnect.
Customers with their own legacy PBX or IP PBX or a network of either or both PLUS a local Private mobile network will be provided with control at their PBX over voice calls which may require routing into the private mobile network. The private mobile network will communicate with the platform for the option to distribute SMS messages locally or return to the host mobile network. In addition, the private mobile network system will communicate location and authentication information through the platform for the management of connected handsets within the local private mobile network network and host networks.
Where the local PBX is an IP PBX supporting SIP extensions, the local private mobile network system will use the private mobile network SIP Registration Manager to register mobiles within the local private mobile network. Mobiles will be registered on arrival and until leaving the private mobile network will be treated as SIP extensions on the IP PBX. This close integration will enable mobiles to operate as extensions off the IP PBX and support the local services provided from the IP PBX.
Mobiles will transition between macro, micro and back to macro mobile networks automatically and seamlessly. SMS messages will be delivered to mobiles either locally or on the macro network. Mobiles will have full mobile features and facilities available in the local network.
Customers who have a requirement to audit SMS messages without a facility to do so may have their SMS messages routed through the hosted platform for recording and secure storage.
Hosted Services will provide Private Mobile Extension (PME) services and the full IP Centrex Hosted Communications application portfolio for mobile users as well as a mixed integrated mobile/IP Centrex service. Additional services are available, including voice recording and SMS auditing providing standard, encrypted and secure access options compliant with FSA requirements.
Already a proven approach to delivering a wide range of cost effective options, the Hosted Communications services can take businesses much further in deploying a fully integrated communications platform, developed to maximise availability, increase productivity and improve customer experience, resulting in increased customer satisfaction, retention and service revenues.
The Hosted Communications platform and the mobile platform are collocated and, for maximum choice and resilience, connectivity is to many alternative networks. The service utilises resilient IP connections into carrier networks to deliver voice services.
This "diversely connected" principle is applied over the IP and legacy infrastructure through the carrier network into the hosted platform. This enables the business to effectively manage calls, in the event that the primary infrastructure is unavailable, by routing calls to alternative destinations. This increases the number of calls answered and increases revenue, whilst also maintaining a central point for call management and call logs. Furthermore, the deployment of facilities such as call recording is made simpler, both to network-based devices and off-site destinations, including mobiles, where the hosted platform is managing the delivery of the call.
The Hosted Communications solution offers integrated service options which allow for SIP Trunks, IP extensions and Mobile Extensions to be provisioned at a single site over a single network, as well as across multiple sites over multiple networks, utilising a single integrated dial plan.
Private Mobile Networks
Mobile users can connect to a private mobile network to provide a solution with security, capacity and coverage benefits and further reduce the costs of calls within the private mobile network range.
Infrastructure and Management Savings
A Private mobile network extension can be seen as a fully flexible and instantly relocatable desk phone replacement. Depending on the type of subscriber and their role, an organisation may choose to selectively replace fixed line PBX extensions with mobile handsets, providing the potential to deliver savings on Moves, Adds and Changes as the organisation grows, as well as the cost to deploy new fixed infrastructure during a PBX upgrade.
Within an existing business environment, adding further users to a PBX will incur the costs of cabling and installation as well as the basic cost of procuring the handset. In comparison, once the micro mobile network is deployed, adding users to a cellular-based network limits these expenses to:
The cost of a mobile handset (between £10 and £400 dependant on form and function)
GSM Base Transceiver Stations (approximately one per 50 handsets, handling seven concurrent calls, equivalent to £35 per handset)
One caveat, however, is that the average lifetime of a mobile handset is far shorter than that of a desk phone and, as such, multiple purchases may be necessary. In addition, there may be management and maintenance fees associated with the service.
Organisational Design Enterprises may wish to move towards flexible working practices such as hot-desking, yet may not have an IP-PBX deployment immediately in mind. A private mobile network and Fixed Mobile Convergence solution can help facilitate this by providing the hot-desking flexibility of an IP-PBX solution without the need for significant (and costly) infrastructure deployment. Since a private mobile network enabled mobile is active as soon as it has detected the micro cellular network, employees are not faced with the challenge of constantly changing their telephone location. As a result, the private mobile network can serve as a substitute for IP-PBX deployment, or a complement if a business wishes to derive other benefits of an IP-PBX deployment.
Enterprises that have deployed converged voice solutions have been able to achieve up to 50% reduction in annualised Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs). This is achieved as they provide new employees with mobile handsets and gradually moved across to flexi-desking where employees were not provided their own desk phone.
Developing a Business Case for Fixed Mobile Convergence The benefits are a mixture of hard and soft benefits and, although soft benefits may have the greatest value to the business, hard cost savings are typically needed to create the business case.
The following areas are key to establishing hard cost savings to justify the move to Fixed Mobile Convergence..
Extend Fixed Line Call Features to Mobile Handsets Extending calling features from a company's PBX to a mobile handset means these features and functions are no longer the sole preserve of the office and are available when away from the desk or out of office. Other benefits of this form of voice-focused convergence include the provision of single number reach and single voicemail. Subscribers may use a single fixed line number which will also reach them via their mobile, with all voicemail terminating at the company PBX. Enhanced calling services which were previously only available on fixed lines, such as call recording and call tracking, may also be extended to mobile handsets.
Fixed Mobile Convergence Mobile enables PBX features and benefits to be accessible via mobile phones, both in and out of the office.
Reducing Call Costs Controlling communications costs is a perennial concern for all businesses, exacerbated by the increasing need to provide employees with mobile devices. Overall, the percentage of employees using mobile devices in Europe continues to increase. The cost of calls is further aggravated by the increasing usage of mobile phones. Fixed Mobile Convergence, when targeted at appropriate end users who will best benefit from fixed vs. mobile call arbitrage, has the potential to help businesses curb their call spend.
The majority of call cost savings will be from calls to non geographical and international numbers.
Improving Responsiveness With only 25% of calls reaching their intended participant first time, improving communications is one of the top three reasons for deploying FMC services. In order to enhance customer service, businesses seek to improve the responsiveness of employees through quicker access to voicemail, picking up more calls, and allowing customer enquiries to be passed on to the most appropriate employee or team member. Enhancing internal communication is also important as businesses seek to speed up decision making and boost colleague collaboration in an effort to reduce lead times.
The growing importance of compliance is demonstrated by cases of penalties and legal suits against companies that fail to produce appropriate records. In June 2007 the FSA fined Kilminster Financial Management Limited £42,000 for not keeping appropriate training and competence records
Businesses record calls for a variety of reasons: to assist with training, to provide evidence of a business transaction, or to ensure that a business complies with regulatory procedures. Call recording is particularly relevant to certain industry verticals such as financial services and healthcare.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) requires financial institutions to keep records of all trades and transactions relating to certain types of business. The safest and easiest way of achieving this is to record telephone conversations between traders and customers.
Voice recording in the Healthcare sector has become an imperative to provide protection against liability and incident investigation, in cases when inaccurate information has been given to a call handler.
Call recording is a feature of many PBXs but is usually only available on calls made from desk phones. Using a Fixed Mobile Convergence solution enables the call recording feature to be accessible via the mobile handset, allowing mobile calls to become regulation compliant.
Reducing Duplication Enterprises currently suffer from duplication of management fees, with many employees incurring both a fixed and mobile management service charge. While fixed-line management charges vary significantly with business size and vendor, many organisations will be paying around £250 per year for a fixed-line extension, while also paying a mobile service management fee. Clearly, in any organisation of scale, immediate savings can be delivered through the removal of a fixed-line extension, with the PBX functions becoming extended to the mobile.
Furthermore, removal of a fixed-line handset can impact the businesses power consumption and increase its 'green' credentials.
Additional Capacity As a business grows, a Fixed Mobile Convergence solution can help ease the pain of incremental changes to the telephony system. First of all, it saves on the cost of individually wiring and deploying a fixed-line desk phone, which can cost in excess of £350 depending on factors such as building layout, technology and handset type. With a converged network mobile handset, provisioning is much simpler, requiring nothing beyond the installation of a SIM card.
Secondary is the boundary case where an enterprises PBX experiences capacity restraints. Instead of replacing the PBX or adding additional cards (along with the associated deployment costs) mobile users can be added.
Improving Productivity Financial benefits can be derived from increased employee productivity and contactability. With improved coverage and the near-ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, employees are able to answer and respond to customer queries and requests, with fewer calls terminating at the voicemail system. Furthermore, increases in communication efficiencies can shorten the decision-making cycle, allowing management to be more responsive and faster acting.
The use of converged solutions also enables the workforce to be more productive through functions such as mobile access to direct dial extensions and conferencing. Employees are able to respond faster to voicemails and benefit from reduced telephone tag due to increased percentage of calls answered first time.
Although more difficult to measure, research has shown that softer benefits can lead to quantifiable revenue, customer retention, customer satisfaction and work rate or cost saving improvements for enterprises.
By Lesley Hansen