|Seamless networks for seamless businesses
|Enterprise & High Network Individual (EHNI) Business Unit, Tata Teleservices
Vinayak Deshpande is the President of Tata Teleservices Enterprise & High Network Individual (EHNI) Business Unit. Mr Deshpande joined TTSL from Tata Honeywell where he served in various leadership roles including Head of the Baroda Region and the Total Plants Solutions business and Managing Director. Mr Deshpande was instrumental in establishing Tata Honeywell’s presence in India’s Refining & Petrochemical sector and started its advanced software division. Honeywell awarded Mr Deshpande its prestigious ‘Presidents Club’ award; Tata Honeywell also received the ‘Tata Business Excellence Model’ (TBEM) Award. Mr Deshpande began his career with Century Enka as an engineer; he later worked with Thermax and other companies. Mr Deshpande is currently on the boards of TAL Manufacturing Solutions Ltd, Nelco Ltd and E2E SerWiz Solutions Limited. Vinayak Deshpande earned his degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur.
The ability of field workers to connect seamlessly to their co-workers and all of their enterprise resources online contributes greatly to job performance. For many workers, this means their enterprise communications system must offer seamless roaming – the ability to connect to any available network wherever in the world they may be. CDMA/EV-DO networks, mobile data card modems, handsets with dual SIM-cards and WiFi, local language applications and content, VoIP and cutting-edge customised applications are revolutionising enterprise connectivity in India.
Gone are the days when mobile phones were devices restricted to making and receiving voice calls. Today the world insists on high-end voice and data capabilities in a mobile device. You grin and smile and tell yourself – Technology has truly advanced! What would I ever do without my hand phone? That is a remarkable journey; barely ten years ago, few had even seen a mobile phone. Today, the device makes our world go around, or brings it to a standstill, if we forget the little genie at home. One of the imperatives of staying in touch on the go is seamless roaming. The ability to roam seamlessly across diverse wireless networks requires access management and synchronization of the originating and target networks, while maintaining unbroken audio flow to the speakers at both ends. Achieving this goal requires mastery of a number of technologies and an overriding architecture that marries these diverse technologies to achieve end-to-end reliability. A well-accepted fact, worldwide, is that CDMA offers data services that are far more efficient than other technologies. For instance, take mobile Internet. On a CDMA1x network, one can access the Internet on the go – an option that is available not only on high-end handsets, but even on mid- to low-end ones. Going forward, CDMA will offer an even more powerful proposition with EV-DO (Evolution – Data Optimisation) services. However, let us save that for later and focus on the nuances of mobile Internet. Mobile Internet What is Mobile Internet? Why is it useful? Who needs it most? What capabilities does it offer? These are some of the questions that generally face those attempting to understand what mobile Internet can provide. To meet the mobility goals of today’s enterprise, a successful solution must provide the same feature set no matter where one is or what cellular network one is using. Seamless roaming between networks is basic. Mobile Internet targets two communities – the individual and the enterprise. While both are important segments for any cellular operator, their needs are different – but the solution is one! The solution is ready access to the Internet using a mobile device that lets you browse the Web and access your personal or business email. Data cards are mobile modems that fit into a slot in your laptop. They are powerful devices; they let you roam seamlessly within the country and much of the world. Data cards introduced the concept of mobile computing – the use of portable computing devices, such as laptops and handheld computers, in conjunction with mobile communications technologies that enable users to access the Internet and data from anywhere. From the first data cards, the industry has moved on to plug-n-play, sometimes called Plug to Surf, devices. These generated tremendous interest from users, and the convenient, trendy, pen-drive shaped plug to surf devices were widely accepted because they work not only with laptops, but with desktop PCs as well. Today, with competitive tariffs and low-cost monthly rental plans for Plug to Surf devices, hordes of desktop and laptop manufacturers have started bundling their products with these smart devices. Connecting the dots CDMA1x data capability comes, ready with Internet browsing, on many mid- to high-end phones. What this means is that every CDMA phone in this segment is data-ready from day one! In remote regions, it lets the rural masses connect to the world of the Internet. CDMA comes with convenient, affordable, user-friendly Net access. To connect India’s rural masses, companies like Opera Software have created local language interfaces for access to Indian language websites with WAP-enabled content. A robust platform with seamless CDMA1x network connectivity for speed, together with affordable single-chip technology devices and mobile browsing capability, can ensure a very good consumer experience. Interoperability Seamless roaming across diverse networks has little value unless it is coupled with critical applications. Telephony is the lifeblood of any enterprise. The ability to interconnect a CDMA network with GSM is a strategic business requirement and CDMA operators have long been hoping to offer roaming on other networks. CDMA customers can now find handsets and devices with a dual SIM card option. These handsets compliment roaming for customers in their home country, as well as international roaming using the International One World Card, since CDMA operators do not want to limit themselves and are innovating to make their technology and services more human and social. When it comes to applications, look what the iPhone has done for the mobile community. It has completely changed the meaning of mobility. The iPhone is not only the most ‘happening’ phone in the US, the UK and other countries; it has also caught on in India. Similarly, a powerful application development platform called Brew had brought about a revolution, which was not fully capitalized and monetized. For example, the Brew platform offers a variety of value added services – a standout example is Internet Radio. Phones that support the Brew platform allow consumers to listen to streaming Internet radio from radio service websites, namely Bloomberg, CNN and others. Brew gives CDMA the ability to offer cutting-edge solutions for a richer customer experience with customized applications. CDMA players in India will soon offer EV-DO – Evolution Data Optimization – technology to their customers. With EV-DO, there will be a transition from CDMA1x to CDMA2000. With greater capacity and higher peak data rates, CDMA2000 broadband, gives subscribers faster uploads of high-resolution pictures and large file attachments and helps keep individuals wirelessly connected to their critical applications wherever they are. With EV-DO, operators will be able to offer VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). CDMA2000/EV-DO wireless broadband will be the foundation for today’s high-speed wireless networks. The deployment of WiFi by businesses, the acceptance of VoIP as a viable technology and the availability of dual-mode (WiFi/cellular) devices are key events that have accelerated interest in the enterprise mobile-to-mobile market. Broadband and Internet Broadband is an exciting buzzword in India, where it is most often linked to the Internet, but broadband covers a wide spectrum of services, and the Internet is just one of them. VOIP, push to talk, WiFi are but a few of the broadband applications. More speed, more bandwidth to access the Internet and applications, is the way to improve the customer’s experience. CDMA players are continuously working towards improving products and services. The transition from CDMA1x with speeds between 70kpbs and 100kpbs, to EV-DO with data rates of 750kpbs or more, will be a defining moment in Indian telecom. Network agnostic A successful enterprise mobility solution must be client-agnostic (work with any mobile handset), network-agnostic (work with any enterprise, mobile, or WiFi network), and PBX-agnostic (any phone system already deployed by the enterprise). Dual-mode handsets are just coming into the market. Traditional cellular providers are already shipping such devices, but without the support of mobile-to-mobile roaming. There are several operating system platforms in use including products based on Microsoft Windows Mobile, Symbian and Linux. Any commercially successful solution will need to support multiple platforms.