Integrating mobile devices into communications infrastructure key issue for companies

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Organisations need to take a fresh look at how they are integrating their employees’ mobile phones into their corporate communications network. Mobiles should be an extension of a feature-rich network rather than a stand-alone add-on for employees.

No business tool is more essential or ubiquitous than the phone. With the huge array of technologies now at our disposal, we still depend on the power of voice communications that let us connect instantaneously and talk with anyone in the world.

No more so than in a world where business operations are spread around the globe with highly mobile employees on call at all hours. The evidence is all around us. Look in any airport lounge, sit in any train, stop at a cafe or walk along the pavement and you will see people conducting business on their mobile phones.

Wander through the corridors of any organisation and you will encounter more evidence of a workforce on the move, as people continue conversations on mobiles en route from one meeting to the next. Look around the offices and you will see the empty desks of the many employees who are working elsewhere – perhaps somewhere else in the building, teleworking from home or travelling anywhere in the world – but still just a phone call away.

What is not so clear and obvious, however, is how this mobile workforce and their organisations are using their communications tools. How do their mobile phones link up with laptops, desktop computers and office phone systems? Can employees switch smoothly from one device to another on the go? Do customers and colleagues know how to reach them at all times?

Are their messages all collected in one mailbox or do they sometimes languish in a voicemail system that the user forgets to check? How does the organisation manage its mobility solutions? Are costs under control? Are mobile communications fully integrated with customer relationship management systems and other business solutions? Finding the right answers to questions such as these is crucial in a business environment where so much depends on instantaneous action and decision-making.

Customers now expect an immediate response. Supply chains operate on a just-in-time basis. Employees must collaborate in teams whose members could be anywhere in the world. Staying ahead of the competition – or even just keeping up with it – in this environment requires highly efficient and well-integrated mobility solutions that will keep individual employees connected at all times.

New tools are helping businesses that are now grappling with the new realities of the global, mobile economy, which link mobile phones with computers, voicemail with email, and provide new ways of sorting, mixing and managing information and communications.

By using the technology of the internet – Internet Protocol (IP) – to manage their telephone systems, companies can now give employees a new set of powerful communication tools that are as easy to use as email and the worldwide web. Odds are if your business is on the move so are you and your employees. Tracking down essential staff at key moments is integral to your business. Finding them is another matter. Employees can be between offices or stores, with a customer, working from home or on the way to grab lunch. You’re no different. How to stay in touch?

Yet people can and do communicate with their colleagues and customers while they’re out of the office using multiple devices. But they often have to call many different numbers to reach them, only to leave messages in multiple mailboxes. Mobile workers are constrained by the fact that their mobile phones are on a separate network from the office phone system, so they don’t have access to all the calling features and productivity tools that are available on the office phones.

So how can you solve these problems and make your mobile workforce more accessible and more productive? You can begin with a very simple, yet fundamental change that orients your communications system around individual users rather than the devices they use.

A traditional phone system connects one device to another, with the result that all employees have separate numbers for the desktop phones in their office, their cell phones and their home phones. In many cases, because each of these devices has their own voice mail, messages are left in multiple locations.

A unified IP communications solution can provide each employee with a single number and a single source for voicemail. By doing so, it won’t matter to the caller where the person they’re calling is or what device he or she is using. The caller simply dials a four-digit extension number that automatically rings the recipient’s mobile phone, desk phone, or other device of choice simultaneously. Messages all go into a single personal inbox that allow people to respond to voice and email messages alike, even if they are on the road, by using a voice interface on their mobile phones which negates the need to log on to their computers.

One contact number and single source voice mail is significant. But this type of application goes further. IP mobility solutions also make it easy to switch communications from one device to another, so that a worker can take a mobile phone call on their way into the office and then seamlessly transfer it to the desk phone. Even more powerful and far-reaching in its impact is the way these mobility solutions can be used to extend the reach of critical business applications by connecting them with employees in the field.

Pinnacle Telecom is leading the way toward a new and more personalised approach to communications for organisations. Our innovative solutions, applications and desktop appliances enable you to access, process and control your communications and information naturally, simply and efficiently.

Our solutions allow organisations to collaborate over distance and time and to interact with their customers, colleagues and partners as never before, by combining the power of voice, data and video over converged high speed networks.

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