Avaya on July 16 will launch the enterprise answer to T-Mobiles new HotSpot @ Home service with its new Avaya one-X Mobile Dual Mode client for Nokia Eseries handsets.
The new Avaya client allows enterprise users to switch calls on their dual-mode handsets between their existing Wi-Fi networks to cellular GSM networks with one touch of a button. A seamless handoff is planned for later releases.
The new client builds on Avayas one-X Mobile offering, which bridges between mobile handsets and desk phones and provides a graphical interface menu of phone functions such as call transfers and conferencing.
The IP-based client, which works with the Nokia E60, E61 and E70 dual-mode handsets, exploits the intuitive, graphical menu to allow users to easily access communications functions from those dual-mode handsets.
It requires Avayas Communications Manager IP PBX software, which provides call handling on the Wi-Fi network. It also requires Avayas Session Initiation Protocol Enablement Services, which facilitates user registration and provides the handoff of calls between the Wi-Fi network and GSM network.
Within an enterprise building, the client software detects existing secure wireless infrastructure and it is registered on the Communications Manager IP PBX.
"If I call somebody and start a conversation, then walk out the front door, I get a prompt on the screen that tells me I just lost Wi-Fi coverage and asks me if I want to transfer the call. I answer yes, and the call is brought back on the cellular network," said Neil Lewis, global product manager for Extension to Cellular and one-X Mobile at Avaya, in Basking Ridge, N.J.
Users can also be more proactive by choosing to make the transition in advance of moving out of range.
But the amount of time it takes to transfer that call between networks can range from a few seconds to as much as 45 seconds, according to beta testers at George Washington University in Washington.
"It takes 30 to 45 seconds for the handoff to happen. Thats a significant amount of dead air for a cell phone," said Bret Jones, managing director of technical operations and engineering at the university.
Jones also found cellular carriers reluctant to aid in troubleshooting the cause of the delays.
"You cant work out the technical glitch without help from the provider, and theyre not forthcoming with that help. It is cool technology and it has a real place, but itll take awhile for providers to get on the bandwagon," he added.
Still, Jones finds the existing versions for single-mode handsets very convenient in making the handsets an extension of users desk phones. "It makes people more productive when theyre mobile," he said.
The integration of Wi-Fi and GSM promises to help enterprises reduce costs, as well as help make workers more productive.
"There are real cost benefits with dual mode, particularly in Europe, where a significant number of workers are using their cell phones in the office. By offloading the service provider calls onto their local infrastructure, that cost is free," said Steve Hardy, director of global product marketing at Avaya.
At the same time, long distance calls initiated from within the building on the Wi-Fi network, using the Avaya Communications Manager on the IP network, makes them local calls.
Users can also access conferencing, call forwarding, five-digit dialing and a single voice mail box from those dual-mode phones for enhanced productivity.
The Avaya one-X Mobile Dual Mode client is available now.