BT Global Services explores single-mode FMC

BT has run pilots with the single-mode OnRelay FMC product and is now going ahead with on-site customer trials. Malcolm Pilcher, head of voice CPE and FMC at BT Global Services, said BT has recognised that one size doesn't fit all and that dual-mode solutions aren't for everyone.

BT is said the OnRelay solution could "˜easily' be upgraded to become a dual-mode solution in time and also impressed by the fact that it offers presence features.

FMC offerings have been relatively slow to gain traction in the enterprise space. Some of this is due to the specific technology and business case hurdles that apply to dual-mode solutions.

We have long felt that single-mode solutions have been somewhat neglected, despite (or perhaps even because of) their relative simplicity of deployment. Even those vendors that have offerings in this area seem to have been half-hearted about marketing them, almost as if they were waiting until "˜full' converged products based on dual-mode were available.

Single-mode solutions have the potential to solve many of the problems that FMC is designed to address, without some of the technical heartache that dual-mode solutions can bring.

The case for FMC has primarily been sold in terms of cost reduction based on reduced usage costs for on-premises calls - but these savings are hard to demonstrate, especially where the enterprise needs much better capacity and coverage from its Wi-Fi network.

In current market conditions some corporations will delay FMC projects that require serious investment and the decline of mobile call costs cannot but further undermine the cost-savings basis for moving to convergence. In this context, the other deficits of dual-mode solutions - including the reduced battery life of devices operating in WLAN mode - loom large.

The case for the MBX single-mode FMC solution is made not around reduced costs for on-site calls, but primarily around hardware infrastructure cost savings. Since companies can replace desk phones and supporting infrastructure with software and mobile phones, this makes a more compelling business case, according to OnRelay.

Of course, there are reasons other than cost savings for an enterprise to adopt an FMC solution. Simply providing a single number, so that more calls are answered, can in itself be a huge benefit for some kinds of business. Make this easy to use, and well integrated with the features and functionality of the corporate network, and you have the core of a successful offering, even in the absence of an alternative transport network such as Wi-Fi.

Pauline Trotter, principal analyst, Ovum