Do you remember the days when the only way to access your email was to boot up your desktop and log-in to your corporate intranet? When the phone on your desk was simply a phone devoid of any real features, connected to a completely separate PBX system? When your mobile phone made voice calls, sent text messages and did little else? Things have sure changed since then. The emergence of new technologies is causing a re-evaluation of devices and their relevance in the office. The distinction between laptops, tablets, desk phones, and smartphones is blurring as the capabilities of these devices evolve and converge making collaboration more seamless. The “new office” is wireless, and traditional office devices such as the laptop and desk phone have the potential to ultimately be replaced.
Three technology drivers have made a significant impact on how we work: cloud computing, the convergence of voice and data, and wireless technology.
Cloud computing allows you to access applications that you use on a daily basis over a network rather than from a local computer. With the cloud, software applications are centralized and standardized. Cloud computing typically involves provisioning of dynamically scalable and virtualized resources to ensure reliability and good performance. As network bandwidth has increased along with security, accessing applications from the cloud has become a viable model for many businesses. End-users are freed from their office desktop as long as they have access to the Internet. IT has a much simpler and lower cost way to update applications and perform routine maintenance.
A second driver of change in the workplace is the convergence of voice and data. The traditional desk phone is a voice-only device. Mobile phones used to be primarily voice-only devices. The Internet has changed all that. Circuit-based systems have given way to packet-based systems, allowing voice and data streams to converge, making a voice call indistinguishable from an email – it’s just a bunch of packets. Information such as location and presence status that formerly stayed locked within the telecom network can now be leveraged for richer communications. The implications in the office are tremendous. With a fully IP-based communications system such as the Mitel® Communications Director (MCD) and BlackBerry® Mobile Voice System (BlackBerry MVS), IT departments can deliver a wireless-only solution designed to support all types of workers (desk users, mobile users and users who embody both) and avoid buying multiple devices. With this solution, users can access standard office phone features, such as conferencing, call controls and extension dialing without having to first manually dial into the corporate voice system. Calls on BlackBerry® smartphones can be seamlessly handed off between Wi-Fi® and cellular networks. You can move a call between any device in the user’s Personal Ring Group, and between cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Users have a single number for all devices in their network. Businesses may be able to significantly lower their long distance roaming costs with BlackBerry MVS since it uses optimized call routing and can make calls over Wi-Fi networks.
Wireless technology is another key driver of change in the workplace. Over the last decade there’s been an increasing trend to working remotely, in home offices or satellite offices rather than in a single corporate office. Companies can expand without the need to buy more office space while offering prospective employees the convenience and flexibility afforded by working from home. Tablet computers, like the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, combined with a BlackBerry smartphone, Bluetooth® keyboard, mouse and headset, are designed to offer a desktop-like experience with optimal portability. BlackBerry® Balance™ technology, software that is designed to let IT departments securely separate corporate and personal data while providing a unified view into both, brings even more simplification since it eliminates the need for employees to have two smartphones.
So how does all of this come together? As an end user, your life is simplified with an all-in-one solution. You no longer have to deal with devices and applications that work only in their own silos. Applications are delivered to you from the cloud, securely over the network and available on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet or BlackBerry smartphone whether you’re at home, in the office or on the road. In the future, the desk phone experience could be replaced by a BlackBerry smartphone and your desktop computer could be replaced by a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. When you receive or make calls, Mitel MCD and BlackBerry MVS are designed to provide a seamless experience that looks and feels the same as when you’re at your desk. Get ready, the future is here!
To learn more, register now for the Mitel Discovery Series webinar: Office of the Future with Mitel and BlackBerry. The webinar takes place on Tuesday, June 28th at 1:00pm EDT.
– Bill Gough, Director, Unified Communications Partner Alliances