ORLANDO, Fla. -- Research In Motion Limited April 26 introduced Wi-Fi support to its new BlackBerry Mobile Voice System 5, allowing enterprise workers to use their landline phone number and extension from their BlackBerry smartphone.
MVS 5, which RIM unveiled at its Wireless Enterprise Symposium here, will let corporate workers make and receive phone calls from their BlackBerry smartphone over their home WiFi network.
Users can also look up numbers from the corporate directory from their BlackBerry's address book, so users don't have to store personal mobile numbers that get outdated, Allan Brenner, senior vice president of BlackBerry platform for RIM, told eWEEK.
Calls made through BlackBerry MVS are routed through a corporate phone system/Private Branch Exchange (PBX) supplied by Cisco Systems. The PBX is a telephone switching system that connects telephone extensions within corporate and outside networks.
Incoming calls ring simultaneously on the employee's desk phone and BlackBerry smartphone. The idea, much like the phone management capabilities of systems such as Google Voice, is to give employees a single work phone number to ring their desk phone and BlackBerry smartphone.
"Employees can be more reachable through their work phone number and can even enjoy the convenience of extension dialing from their BlackBerry smartphone as well as the flexibility to move calls from their BlackBerry smartphone to their desk phone," RIM said in a press release.
RIM's motivation for this move is plain. The phone maker noted that over 75 million IP-based desk phones exist today worldwide, while IDC estimates the global number of mobile workers will grow to 1.19 billion by 2013, of which 65 million are home-based.
Routing business calls to both the desk phone and BlackBerry mobile devices is a good way to help employees stay connected with colleagues, partners and customers without managing two devices. Moreover, when home or mobile workers use WiFi for mobile calls they will also save their companies long-distance fees and international roaming charges.
For enterprise IT managers, MVS 5 offers several control settings, including: WiFi network access controls to set which WiFi networks employees can access; network preferences with the option of prioritizing the use of WiFi or cellular for making phone calls; authentication to help ensure that only authorized BlackBerry smartphones have access to the corporate phone system; and incoming call filtering.
BlackBerry MVS 5 includes a BlackBerry MVS smartphone client software application, which can be distributed over the air to BlackBerry smartphones through BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and BlackBerry MVS Server, which enables the communication between BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the PBX.
Brenner said BlackBerry MVS 5 is expected to be available later this summer from RIM's more than 400 carrier partners worldwide, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and other retailers that sell electronics systems. Retailers will set the prices with RIM's recommendations.