Mobile unified communications solutions operate on smartphones for which the vendor provides a special client software package, which limits the choice of user devices. That can be a major issue if the users are already accustomed to a device that the mobile unified communications (UC) vendor does not support.
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Among software vendors, IBM and Microsoft have been the primary providers of unified communications platforms. IBM's offering is called Sametime and works with (or without) its Lotus Notes product. Microsoft's UC platform is called Office Communications Server (OCS) and integrates with Active Directory, Exchange Server and other elements in the Microsoft product line.
Both IBM and Microsoft have developed a mobile client for smartphones that allows them to support mobile users; Microsoft's is called the Office Communicator Mobile, and IBM's is called Lotus Sametime Mobile. As IBM and Microsoft provide UC platforms, their solutions must be integrated with the physical infrastructure. For mobility, they both depend primarily on cellular rather than WLAN networks, which can ease the integration but may increase the network cost.
Microsoft Communicator Mobile for smartphones
Enterprises that deploy unified communications using Microsoft Communications Server can install Communicator Mobile on employee smartphones. Enterprises that deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM can access that data on-the-go using CRM Mobile Express. Business apps now available from Windows Mobile partners run the gamut from field service automation and ERP to financial services and construction. Many of these business apps were originally implemented on earlier incarnations of Windows Mobile to leverage its broad hardware support, multitasking capabilities and familiar Windows heritage.
This guide to Windows Mobile looks at how Windows Mobile has evolved, the wide range of mobile apps Windows Mobile supports and how Windows Mobile can leverage ready-to-roll apps for maximum productivity.
Lotus Notes/Domino and mobile device management
As enterprises extend beyond the traditional network, Lotus Notes/Domino administrators must be able to manage users' mobile devices and smartphones and have access to various collaboration technologies. Ensuring performance and security for remote workers is critical. If you're trying to fix mail delivery problems on a BlackBerry, install Sametime on a smartphone or synchronize a mobile device using Lotus Traveler, this collection of articles can help.
About the author
Michael Finneran is an independent consultant and industry analyst who specializes in wireless technologies, mobile unified communications, and fixed-mobile convergence. With more than 30 years in the networking field and a broad range of experience, Finneran is a widely recognized expert in the field. He has recently published his first book, entitled Voice Over Wireless LANs -- The Complete Guide (Elsevier, 2008). His expertise spans the full range of wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi, 3G/4G Cellular, WiMAX and RFID.