Californian start-up DiVitas has claimed that its mobile convergence system can link smartphones to enterprise applications, including voice over IP (VoIP), email, instant messaging, and others such as CRM. It also provides cellular to Wi-Fi roaming, the company said.
The system requires software on the handset which then routes all calls through a DiVitas Mobile Convergence Appliance attached to the enterprise LAN. If the phone is in Wi-Fi coverage - either a private network or a public hotspot - then voice and data traffic goes that way. Otherwise, cellular voice and GPRS are used.
Mobile Convergence Client software is available for several Windows Mobile handsets, with Symbian versions under development and ones for Linux planned.
It can seamlessly shift voice calls from Wi-Fi to cellular, said DiVitas founder and boss Vivek Khuller, because it detects when the user is about to go out of coverage and sets up a cellular connection ready to take over the user's leg of the call. The outbound leg of the call is routed through the central appliance, so the person on the other end shouldn't notice the change.
Tempting as it is to lump DiVitas in with fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and wireless VoIP, Khuller said that's not it - partly because the convergence is cellular-to-wireless (so mobile-to-mobile), but mostly because his aim is using and connecting smartphones as corporate client devices. He added that it is as much for presence and messaging as it is for enabling voice-over-Wi-Fi on a mobile phone.
He said it is all about putting the enterprise in control of convergence, which in his view femtocells don't, and doing it via a single device instead of multiple servers. The appliance can connect to an existing PBX if you have one, or work as an IP-PBX if not. It will list for around £3,000, including 10 client licences.
Khuller claimed that, unlike similar voice-over-Wi-Fi schemes from Avaya and Cisco, the DiVitas version works over any WLAN infrastructure, allows public hotspot use, and is PBX-independent. "The appliance also has APIs so you can customise it and add applications," he added.
"It's not just about cutting your phone bill, it's about connecting smartphones as enterprise clients, wherever they are. We are not trying to bypass the cellular cloud, we are taking a pragmatic approach on what networks are available - all networks have value for the user."
According to Kuller, wireless convergence and the ability to deploy other apps to the phone - especially email and IM - has turned out to be one of the most compelling reasons to move to IP telephony.
"It provides the value that people didn't see before," he said. "You need a business reason to buy IPT, not a technical reason. It is all down to people being connected." ®