The adoption of unified communications technology has expanded in recent years, offering companies many benefits, including high-performance video conferencing and integrated communications options. But one problem that keeps popping up is that, when it comes to phone calls, users still prefer the native calling app. The solution to address this disconnect in communications is called fixed-mobile convergence, or FMC.
The behavior makes sense: an employee who has been using an iPhone for years finds it much easier to simply call from the phone’s native app rather than getting familiar with new features. From the employer’s perspective, it creates a host of problems:
- Limitations on data integration since the customer relationship management (CRM) aspect of an integrated communications solution relies on call data.
- Security issues, as the advanced security measures offered in unified communications applications, including end-to-end encryption, aren’t extended to native calling apps.
- The cost of compliance issues and inefficiencies create motivations to discourage the use of native phone apps for business use.
Unfortunately, the problem is widespread. Research conducted by No Jitter found that only 5% of companies using unified communications had employees utilizing them for calling. There’s a clear gap between the solutions being offered for communications and the ways in which employees can best use them.
Fixed Mobile Convergence is Coming
Fixed-mobile convergence is the integration of business communications and mobile phones. The idea is not new, but there have been limitations that have kept it from being widely used by companies. Cost, complexity, and a need for investment and buy-in from carriers have made it difficult to launch. And there is a wide variation in what types of features are needed for a solution to be considered fixed mobile convergence. For instance, some of the solutions that have been available simply allowed for the ringing of both the mobile phone and the business line when a call came in.
Today’s fixed-mobile convergence is beginning to address the needs of the employer and its team members with solutions that configure numbers on mobile phones that enable the user to communicate via the native app while supporting a single personal identity. Provisioning integration, voice quality and unified voicemail are all priorities of new solutions arriving in the market.
Challenges Still To Be Addressed
There are still some difficulties in launching a perfect fixed mobile convergence solution. Some of the challenges include:
- Cost may still be prohibitive. Some solutions simply add a charge for fixed mobile convergence capabilities, but others require specific data and voice plans.
- Availability is limited, though providers are increasingly recognizing the need for the technology and developing offerings.
- There are still potential problems related to emergency compliance. A mobile carrier would handle a fixed mobile convergence device similarly to a mobile phone, but mobile phone locations can’t be identified within a building. This may create problems and it is best to consult legal counsel before deciding on a fixed mobile convergence solution.
Is your company struggling to integrate native calling apps with unified communications? Contact us at ITBroker.com, where we can help streamline communications and make them more efficient and cost-effective for your business.