Calling on your mobile in the office, and seeing the bill at the end of the month, makes you wish you could use your mobile on your office phone network. In my last blog (“Dual-mode phones: Challenges for an Enterprise Deployment“) I described how dual mode phones can provide that, by connecting to your office phone network via wireless LAN (802.11 wireless) whenever free wireless Internet access is available to let you do that.
Cost savings is an important part of a solution like Dual Mode voice, but in past trials it’s been very difficult to establish exactly how large are the potential cost reductions/ There are various reasons for this. One reason is that at Cisco, we don’t allow our mobile phones to connect over an insecure, public wireless network, so today our phones can only use WiFi in Cisco offices and at home offices using a Cisco Virtual Office (CVO) wireless router. Today, this limits the number of places you can get cheaper access. Another reason is we have found that people use their device more when they know it’s a very low cost call, so usage goes up. Also, shifting calls from the mobile carrier to the internal office network saves money, but it also shifts the cost from one area of the business to another, making it very difficult to get the correct budgetary numbers to arrive at a hard overall cost savings figure.
Something to remember is that calling over the office network is still not a free call, it’s just very low cost call! There is still an infrastructure cost and local PSTN access for outbound calls — unless you are using our new Intercompany Media Engine to connect to an Internet voice provider over SIP trunks, whereby there is a third set of costs to factor in. One thing that is clear is that even though it’s hard to measure the total cost savings from dual mode voice phones, they do bring significant benefit whenever international calling is required as we can leverage our existing global Cisco Unified Communications Manager infrastructure with technologies like least cost routing and tail end hop off, saving significant cost in these scenarios.
Cost savings aside Dual Mode Smartphones also bring big benefit in terms of mobility. It’s like carrying your deskphone with you when moving around the Cisco Campus or at home with CVO so you need never miss that important call. In addition moving the call to and from your Dual Mode device is a simple few clicks away giving you the flexibility to continue a call whilst moving to or from your desk Another nice benefit; in areas where there is poor or no cellular coverage but you still have access to the Cisco WLAN either in an Cisco office or remotely with Cisco Virtual Office you have the means to make and receive calls with the same high quality experience as your Cisco IP Deskphone.
One last tip: When users travel internationally to Cisco offices, they can save significant costs by combining Dual Mode with other Cisco technologies such as single number reach feature. Single number reach is a Cisco Unified Communications Manager feature allowing you to specify what happens when someone calls your office number and you don’t answer: the call will roll over to other lines like your mobile device based upon who is calling or time of day. Most employees have their office calls roll over to their mobile phones during working hours. So don’t hand out your mobile telephone number to people before you travel, to avoid the much higher incoming international call costs on your mobile phone. Instead, give out your office number and if you answer the call on WiFi then you incur no incoming international call cost. At the worst case, if you are not within Cisco WiFi coverage then your Smartphone will still ring so you can still be reached wherever you have a cellular signal.