PREVIOUSLY: When will mobile VoIP take off?
Mobile VoIP early adopters tend to be organisations with employees spread over large buildings who spend most of their day away from their desk.
Some Wi-Fi-based VoIP deployments are intended to eliminate desk phones completely and tie mobile devices directly into the corporate phone system, says Microsoft enterprise mobility solution specialist Rick Anderson.
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"Large organisations are looking to streamline their communications environment and technologies such as wireless VoIP and dual mode phones allow people to stay in contact without jumping between devices. From there you can start to enjoy the benefits of a unified messaging platform no matter where you are in the building," Anderson says.
"You'll have a whole stack of information about the people you are connected with, including not just their presence status but their location as well. It's about being able click and communicate the way that you want to."
Networking giant Cisco has established two dual mode phone pilot sites in Australia, in conjunction with partner Dimension Data and using Nokia smartphones.
Industry sectors showing an interest in dual mode phones include manufacturing, engineering and health, says Dimension Data enterprise architect Darren Kay.
"Usually it's the workforce mobility and the flexibility which are the big attraction. Nurses walk around hospitals with wireless phones, while engineers use them in industrial plants which stretch across several kilometres," Kay says.
"With the advent of dual mode phones, a lot of people are also looking at the spin-off effect of significant savings on mobile phone bills. For example, in my organisation everybody has a mobile phone and a desk phone. Probably 10 per cent of what should be internal calls from other employees are actually made to my mobile phone, and probably from their mobile phone - even though we're in the same office. Of course there's also a saving to be made by not having to buy separate handsets for wireless VoIP calls."
One significant factor holding back the adoption of dual mode phones in the workplace is a lack of rugged mobile devices designed to survive the rough and tumble of industrial sites, Kay says.
"In the short term I'd say the dual mode phone is probably going to be more successful in the office space," he says.
"A manufacturing customer I am talking to at the moment is actually looking at giving dual mode smartphones to their executives but leaving the plant workers with dedicated Wi-Fi devices. The guys in the plant need tough devices designed to survive a few knocks, such as gear from Symbol, where as Nokia smartphones are not really designed for a plant worker to drop on the concrete."