This new initiative promises to bring wireless mobile communications to all enterprise employees, not just executives or desk-inhabiting office workers.
“Normally, you’d assume in the office world that people have a deskset,” Motorola director of product management, Converged Enterprise Communications, Russ Knister observed to VoIPplanet.com. “And we’re used to seeing professionals with cell phones. But there are more and more workers who don’t have a company cell phone but who are nonetheless mobile on campus,” he continued.
For example, many such workers use two-way radios to advantage, but those devices are not connected to the phone system—let alone able to connect with converged network services such as e-mail, calendaring, PIMs and directories, or Internet or intranet access. But that’s what TEAM is setting out to do.
“A lot of what you see out there is really like a cordless phone on Wi-Fi,” Knister said. “We think it’s time for a smartphone experience on Wi-Fi.” A ‘smartphone’ experience that would connect all enterprise workers—’hourly’ employees included—with voice and other network services, whatever their location.
According to Knister, the TEAM initiative was really born in conversations Motorola had with its existing customer base. “What people really wanted was a converged experience. We were surprised to hear they wanted push-to-talk—and email, and text messaging. People get used to that and they expect it to be there,” Knister said. “All these young employees are used to text messaging on their cell phones, so it’s a way to reach them.’
While the early development stages of TEAM was proprietary; it worked with only one PBX and one Wi-Fi access point (AP), according to Knister. But to be viable in the marketplace, the solution would have to be interoperable.
So, not only will the system be interoperable with non-Wi-Fi devices such as two-way radios (which it does by means of a gateway), it will be interoperable with other PBXs and wireless LAN infrastructure as well.
For native Wi-Fi connectivity, the infrastructure will be compatible with all the well-established flavors of the technology: 802.11a, b, and g. The company will also market a variety of endpoint devices, starting with a Wi-Fi phone.
“A lot of the folks wanted a phone form factor, with a numeric keypad that feels like a phone in your hand, but has the smartphone characteristics of quarter VGA screen and Windows Mobile, and all that.” Over time, Motorola plans to add rugged handheld PCs and scanner/push-to-talk devices to the arsenal.
According to Knister, the second-generation system is currently in use within Motorola. “We want to make sure it’s mature,” before releasing to enterprise customers he said. The TEAM solution will be available some time “later this year.” That’s as specific as the company is willing to be at present.
This article was first published on VoIPPlanet.com.