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Three Elements of Mobile Strategy

Different people hold different meanings for the word ‘mobility,’ and certainly every business is wrestling with both the opportunities and implications that grow out of it. At first, mobility was simply about telephony on the go — it was just about cell phones. This seems almost quaint today, despite it being a huge step forward at the time. Now the larger issue is just how far we can take mobility, and that doesn’t mean simply reception coverage. Just like so many consumers have abandoned landlines altogether and gone totally wireless in their homes, now it’s not completely inconceivable for a business to conduct the greater bulk of its communications without any wires.

If you happened to be anywhere near the recent ITEXPO in Miami, you know that the topic of mobility was rampant. Many sessions addressed issues surrounding the topic, such as supporting remote workers, Mobile UC, RCS, Wi-Fi, VoLTE, BYOI, and BYOD. Many of these topics — and others — will impact your business at some point, if not currently, then in the near term.

There are at least three themes pertaining to mobility that you should give consideration to rethinking. Given that, you ought to devote some time to deciding how they will impact your mobile strategy. What, you don’t have a strategy? Tsk! Nowadays, mobility is so pervasive and moving far too fast for you to not have one. A reactive, ad hoc approach to mobility is not going to cut it anymore, most especially for such a critical factor that’s simultaneously affecting both expenses and revenues.

Mobile Strategy #1 — BYOD
IT doesn’t really have any choice any more, now that Bringing Your Own Device has taken on a mind of its own. Regardless of the size of your business, most of your workers own smartphones and are expecting to bring them into the workplace. As compared to days of yore when company-owned phones were issued to workers, it’s the employees that are now bearing the cost. This makes BYOD’s economics pretty attractive for companies. At the same time, though, this gives the employees a certain undeniable sense of entitlement.

Of course, the main challenge arises from working out fair policies for how these mobile devices are managed and used. Another crucial item is the infrastructure that supports network storage, data security, privacy, access, and so on. You’re likely to be working on this right now, but it’s certainly an issue that few businesses have yet to address completely. And as critical an issue as BYOD is, there are also many other mobility issues that also need to be managed.

Mobile Strategy #2 — BYOI
BYOI — standing for Bring Your Own Identity — is a concept far more ephemeral than BYOD, which refers to concrete, tangible objects. Many of your employees have several different digital identities, and when they bring them to work, it becomes nearly impossible to keep an eye on their activity and be sure they’re acting responsibly with potentially sensitive company information. Workers will have an identity given to them by the company, such as an email address. At the same time, though, they might use several different personal identities for separate work-related tasks, such as working on files, updating contact details or scheduling meetings. This type of activity is especially hard to manage if it’s conducted on social media sites that aren’t accessed over the corporate LAN — hello BYOD.

We’re just now starting to comprehend the implications of BYOI. It would seem to be an IT issue, by and large, but it’s also a mobility issue, seeing as how inextricably intertwined our mobile devices are tied to our personal identities. With regard to BYOD, there is now an added layer of complexity that may well pose both ethical and networking challenges for your business. Managing identity might well prove to be more complicated than managing the devices themselves, seeing as how seamlessly identity is tied to privacy — and add to that the sheer ubiquity of social media sites in the cloud.

Mobile Strategy #3 – Service Providers
Which type of service provider should you partner with? There are two fundamental shifts happening that will give you reason to think carefully about your choice. The first is the ongoing migration from fixed traffic to wireless; that’s been happening now for several years. Much of your telephony likely still runs over PCs or on desk phones, and there’s little question that these will stay around for a while. As VoLTE makes its way to the marketplace, you’ll likely see a more radical movement of these minutes over to mobile devices. That, in turn, means that you’ll have to consider rethinking the voice plans that’ll support this movement in the best fashion.

The second shift is more profound with regard to how you usually work with service providers. VoLTE is only a part of the larger upgrade to LTE and 4G, which is all about data, and not voice. With that movement, we’ll see speedier mobile broadband, even more mobile apps, even more powerful devices, and more engrossing mobile UC platforms. When IP-based data networks power mobility, and carriers have even more robust IMS architectures, then the choices for service providers suddenly become a bit more interesting. You might want to centralize all of your wireless and fixed traffic with one operator, and you might even want to use an OTT provider for certain mobility services. The most significant idea here is that you must be strategic when choosing the service provider, or service providers you think can best service your mobility needs.

In Conclusion
What has been discussed above are some higher-level examples of just how complicated the mobility landscape is becoming. These changes are coming faster, too, than what you might have experiences with land-line services. It’s been a long road from the lowly cell phone by itself, and it’s the big picture that you need to understand in order to effectively plan for what’s on the road ahead.

Tiffany Torbert has been learning and writing about the new IP based communication technologies. She loves sharing her information so that businesses and business owners could take advantage of these technologies.

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