Siemens Walks the Talk with Fixed Mobile Convergence

A lot of vendors in the telecom space talk about Fixed Mobile Convergence. Siemens Communications on Feb. 26 will back up that talk with what officials claim is the first Session Initiation Protocol-based product to support dual-mode Wi-Fi/GSM calling functions on a single handset.

Siemens’ new HiPath Mobile Connect offering, implemented as an appliance and companion dual-mode handset, brings mobility to VOIP to allow users to seamlessly roam between cellular and wireless LANs while holding a conversation.

It also allows the handset to take on the personality and functions of a stationary VOIP phone.

“Everybody has a cell phone. Why not use it as my other desktop device or if I have dual mode, why not have it be my extension of my PBX?” queried Luc Roy, vice president of product planning for Siemens in Toronto, Canada.

“If I do a SIP registration, why can’t my cell phone take the personality of my desktop phone? And outside the enterprise, why not keep the same personality and phone number as I’m walking out the door,” he added.

To read more about Fixed Mobile Convergence, click here.

The HiPath MobileConnect appliance, installed between the enterprise’s IP PBX and Wireless LAN, monitors and manages a mobile user’s device continuously, whether on the corporate or public network. The dual-mode handset client provides access to the IP-PBX functions.

The ability to seamlessly transition calls from the cellular network to the enterprise WLAN within the enterprise allows enterprises to save cellular minutes and reduce costs. “Both the CIO and the CFO love this,” Roy said.

Roy maintained that the experience is the same, whether the call is on the WLAN or cellular network, and that the transition from one to another is similar to moving between cell towers.

HiPath MobileConnect is designed to operate with any SIP-supported IP-PBX, WLAN and dual-mode handset.

To date Siemens has certified it to work with its own Siemens HiPath 8000 communications server, the Siemens HiPath Wireless platform and dual-mode handsets from Nokia (the e60 Series) and the Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox. Siemens is in the process of certifying “a lot more devices,” said Roy.

The HiPath MobileConnect is unique in simultaneously supporting a single phone number and voice mail box and the ability to “seamlessly roam from the WLAN to the cellular network during a conversation,” according to Roy. Competing offerings from Cisco Systems and Avaya do not support the seamless roaming, he said.

The client software works with the Symbian Operating System as well as Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS.

Siemens will make different licensing options available to customers, with versions supporting 50, 250 or 1500 end users. HiPath MobileConnect is due in early April.

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