|Europe I 2010
|Where wireline meets wireless
|Acting President and CEO
Zeev Aviv is the Acting President and CEO of Tadiran Telecommunications; he has been with Tadiran for over 32 years. Prior to assuming his current post, he was the company’s Vice-President in charge of Sales & Marketing. When Tadiran Telecommunications merged with ECI Mr. Aviv was appointed Director of International Sales & Marketing. Mr Aviv has also served as Tadiran’s Engineering & Product Support Manager. Zeev Aviv holds two B.Sc degrees – one from Century University in the US and the other from Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Fixed-mobile convergence, FMC, integrates wireline and wireless communications technologies so that, in principle, any service available from one network can also be accessed via the other a single dual-mode device that switches between networks as needed to provide better access, better service or lower cost connections. FMC, lets employees access any of the enterprise’s online resource, find co-workers wherever they may be and improve service by facilitating anytime anywhere access to company employees or services by customers and suppliers.
Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), the integration of wireline and wireless technologies and services, creates a single seamless roaming connectivity between fixed and wireless telecommunications networks. The definition also refers to any physical network that supports cell phones on a fixed network infrastructure. In fact, this wireless substitute for wirelines and hard-wired networks has already caught on all over the world as the next big ‘buzzword’ in telecommunications. Convergence is resonating across networks, applications, and computer/telephony integration allowing and converged platforms routinely offer VoIP, image, mobility and data services. The future, when user-centric telecommunications will allow for a ‘one-stop-shop’ mobility experience, is gradually becoming our present. What’s in it for business? We all remember the long-haul flights at the end of which finding an Internet-café or hotel room with Internet access was a challenge. Sending a fax was a trying task and connectivity, in some remote regions, was subject to the whim of the weather. FMC promises to eliminate some of the obstacles that limit services and enhance the overall user-experience that service providers can offer their customers. Enterprises will no longer be chained to landline networks and all encompassing user-centric mechanisms will provide advanced services that keep up with subscribers’ growing requirements. These requirements for successful FMC are fourfold: consistent mobility – on or off the enterprise campus; enhanced productivity, enhanced cost-effectiveness and, finally greater flexibility to meet business needs. Enterprise mobility can be defined as the ability to gain access to all office applications anywhere at any time – transmitting or receiving any type of user-defined communication (Audio, video, data and…), with a device of choice, whilst maintaining productivity. The ability to conduct ‘networked’ business when away from the desk is a high priority. From a business perspective, the fact that employees do not have to be present on the enterprise campus at all times, the ability to be flexible, reachable and productive, contributes to revenue growth. FMC will enhance productivity by giving enterprise employees access to horizontal applications such as transmitting/receiving faxes, unified messaging and, of course, voice applications. Productivity translates into FMC solutions saving and utilizing enterprises time and funds. For example: an employee no longer has to sit at his desk while waiting for an important fax to be sent, nor need they, in fact, be near a fax machine. All office applications can now be accessed through FMC solutions while an employee is on the go. Cost-effective solutions, such as the shift from mobile networks to the fixed voice-grade WLAN networks, are another big benefit for businesses. Along with mobility and productivity, cost-effectiveness is the icing-on-the-cake. The telecomm bill at the end of the month is the formula of minute-rate and medium of communication. A mobile enterprise agent, who is mostly away from their desk during office hours, will be the main ‘contributor’ to higher costs to the enterprise due to telecommunications that were not executed on-campus at a reduced minute rate. FMC carries a lower cost structure for a larger bulk of information transmitted. The fourth and final requirement is the ability of the enterprise to flexibly deal with end-users and the enterprise’s own employees. This is measured by two major features: the ability of a customer to reach an agent in the enterprise; and the speed at which the enterprise complies with user demand. Figure 1 illustrates the combination of these four requirements – mobility, productivity, cost-effective solutions and flexibility – creating an advanced solution for businesses to pursue. FIG. 1 Businesses can enhance customer loyalty and build a solid customer base while deploying profitable FMC services. Challenges Ahead Although many businesses around the world are extending their wireless networks to support voice services, there are still a number of challenges to resolve: • Many wireless carriers still view the deployment of FMC as an obstacle to revenue growth • Achieving better CapEx and OpEx figures after deployment of FMC architectures. • Physical implementations and FMC architectures for each enterprise vary and there is little similarity, if any. • Ensuring customers’ needs are being met and that profitability is maintained. • Security issues such as denial/reduction of service; signalling attacks and over-billing attacks; infrastructure attacks • Counter-network intelligence Creating a unified industry standard is crucial to ensure end-to end (E2E) quality of service (QoS) to end-users and gain growth momentum. The primary objective of FMC is to encompass all forms of communication to and from end-users, namely, voice (VoIP), video, data and billing, regardless of location or device. At present FMC lets a single device connect to and be switched between wireline and wireless networks. In the future, there are many positive features that can be gained by deploying FMC for enterprises and end-users alike: the ability to receive and transmit data (unified messaging, faxing, etc.), VoIP, video and more. However, many obstacles still need to be addressed. For now, FMC means the ability to switch from wireline to wireless networks. Creating a unified industry standard can approach issues that are preventing overall deployment of FMC such as: security issues, CapEx and OpEx, physical deployment, ensuring QoS and so forth. There is no doubt that FMC has huge potential for both end-users and enterprises. Whether FMC will be a great revenue-growth mechanism remains to be seen.