RIM introduces enterprise voice over WiFi calling

Research In Motion announced a new version of its Mobile Voice System (MSV) that supports voice over WiFi calling. MSV gives business users the ability to use their regular desk phone number and extension from their BlackBerry smartphones.

The addition of voice over WiFi calling means employees can make and receive enterprise phone calls from the BlackBerry over a WiFi connection and save on long-distance, international roaming charges and cellular charges, said Manish Punjabi, senior director of collaboration, mobile voice with RIM, in an interview. He said such a solution is ideal for the growing number of employees working from home along with workers that are often away from their desks in the healthcare, construction, hospitality, sales and professional services industries.

Advanced IT features built into MVS 5 include WiFi network access controls that set what WiFi networks employees are allowed to access; network preference settings that enables prioritizing use of WiFo or cellular for making phone calls; authentication to ensure that only authorized BlackBerry smartphones have access to the corporate system; an incoming call filtering based on allowed and blocked caller lists.

The solution includes a smartphone client software application that can be distributed wirelessly to BlackBerry users through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry MSV Server that interfaces between the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the corporate PBX system.

A new interoperability platform has also been added to the BlackBerry MVS 5 to enable enterprises to use the server with any SIP-compliant PBX system, Punjabi said. Previous versions have only focused on the Cisco unified communications manager, he said.  

The server will be sold through RIM's existing partners, including operators. "We are already getting a lot of interest from operator partners," Punjabi said. "In fact, there are multiple carriers out there that have WiFi hotspots available and realize this as an incremental source of revenue."

MVS 5 is expected to be available later this year.

In October, T-Mobile is launched a new service called Wi-Fi Calling with MobileOffice that allows users with T-Mobile BlackBerry devices to use WiFi while in the office and have the same number as their desk phone. The service also hooks into a PBX system and also allows users to access the feature in other places where they can get onto a WiFi network. T-Mobile's service, however, requires a UMA (universal mobile access) client built into the device.

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