Nashua Mobile, SA’s independent telecommunications solutions provider, says the usage of voice, data, fixed-line and mobile solutions is growing, a senior official told ITNewsAfrica.
Andy Baker, Nashua Mobile CEO says his company’s convergence business brings a host of benefits to consumers and businesses in the local economy.
Baker added that customers were increasingly able to buy complete telecommunications solutions from their technology partners, rather than purchasing disparate products from multiple suppliers that they needed to integrate themselves.
“We today have a truly competitive market, where consumers and businesses are able to pick and choose from sophisticated and affordable products from a wide selection of providers,” says Baker.
He says it took 10 years in South Africa to realise the value of the unfolding convergence, a development which is making life easier for many.
Baker cited the form of voice and data blending on corporate and enterprise networks, the convergence of fixed-line and mobile solutions and the convergence of a range of applications and services on devices such as tablets and smartphones as the latest development making convergence a must for both business and individually.
“Though convergence has long been spoken about, the technology only recently started to reach maturity. The extensive investments network operators have made in high-speed cellular data services, national telecommunications links and international submarine cables have all helped to enable rich converged services,” says Baker.
The Nashua Mobile professional says equipment such as IP PBXs, smartphones and tablet computers have all become cheaper, better and easier to use due to the arrival of the convergence.
He cited examples of tablets and smartphones that could connect to cellular and Wi-Fi connections, indicating that they could become more affordable and offer better battery life and user experiences than ever before.
“Voice and data integration in the form of VoIP and corporate IP telephony is already here. Many companies are already experiencing significant cost-savings and business benefits from this technology. Some 120 million voice minutes a month are already traveling over VoIP,” Baker added.
The current big move is towards fixed-mobile convergence (FMC). “Think of your iPad with its cellular data package and Wi-Fi connection.
“You can access your apps and services from this device using whichever technology is cheapest and most suitable at a specific place or time,” says Baker.
He says there were signs that the Fixed Mobile Convergence space would explode in the months to come in South Africa citing Telkom and its new cellular division 8ta saying those were in an excellent position to put together innovative converged offerings.
Convergence in the workplace
Baker says the trend would clear the way for a range of exciting applications, such as ‘one number, one phone’ capabilities where companies could give each employee a single phone and a single number that they use wherever they are.
Rather than having a phone on their desks, employees will be able to have a single GSM/Wi-Fi smartphone that they can use for their calls wherever they are.
He said when employees were in a Wi-Fi coverage area, they could even opt to make cheaper VoIP calls rather than expensive cellular ones.
“These trends mean that companies need to offer simple and transparent bundles that make it easy for users to access and manage multiple services. Users want to get a single bill from a single provider for all their services and a single point of access for support and services.
“Ultimately, convergence should be all about simplifying a telecommunications environment that has become very complex over the past 15 years,” Baker concluded.