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August 13, 2007 - 0 Comments

So I must have been on vacation when they announced that dual mode phones became the”be all and end all for the mobile workforce” [according to Mobile Computing News ‘Dual Mode Devices Need to Mature.’] This seems both frightfully premature as well as narrow minded with respect to the vast set of mobile workers, industries and job types.When, for example, has it last been considered critical that your average retail associate carry a dual mode phone. Certainly, more so than many of us, they are a mobile worker. Yet they do just fine with wireless IP phones or old fashioned paging.And when was the last time you saw delivery person carrying a dual mode phone? Last time I checked, I think they qualify as mobile workers as well.The fact is, the press, many analysts and not just a few vendors have gotten a bit overexcited about this latest piece of technology. A classical case of what Gartner refers to as the top of the hype cycle. No doubt the idea is cool -using a sleek cell phone that seamlessly, without interruption switches from the cellular network to the Wi-Fi network with nary an interruption to the call in progress. And in doing so, conferring great cost benefits to the business.The fact is, when you actually poll most business leaders -not the IT organization, but the actual line of business managers -very few can come up with people in the organization for which this is a necessity that has impact on the bottom line. In fact, consistently, the number one requirement is the very basic, very unexciting (to press and analysts) single number reach capability. Yes indeed, that very same low tech capability of allowing an office phone number to ring simultaneously or be automatically forwarded to one or more separate fixed or mobile numbers.Don’t get me wrong -I’m excited about dual mode technology. I think that one day much as we now expect high speed Internet in almost every location we visit, we will have the ability to transition from an Ethernet network to a wireless LAN network to a cellular network without interruption. But as many customers continue to reemphasize to me, often times the simpler solution delivers the most payback.

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