The cost and productivity benefits offered by enterprise FMC solutions have considerably defused the negative effects on the segment. In fact, FMC solutions have become one of the most sought-after technologies by IT departments to tackle escalating mobile costs, poor in-building coverage, less-than-optimal productivity, and integration of enterprise capabilities and applications with mobile communications.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (conferencing.frost.com), World Enterprise FMC Markets, finds the overall worldwide shipment of enterprise handset units with an FMC solution to have reached 2.67 million activated FMC solutions in mobile devices – a 230 percent year-over-year growth. The study covers the following: PBX-to-mobile extensions, FMC clients, dual-mode technology, mobile unified communications (UC), unlicensed mobile access (UMA), carrier FMC, enterprise FMC, and mobile presence, among others.
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Enterprise FMC providers are learning to co-exist, and it will not take much longer for these vendors to acknowledge the long-term benefits of broader partnerships and joint FMC marketing to end users. "Last year, we witnessed the materialization of different advanced enterprise FMC solutions into the market, as well as the considerable growth of real commercial deployments," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Alaa Saayed. "Continued joint developments, a growing number of partnerships, and further technology enhancements represented some of the main axes of market evolution."
Productivity remains high on the agenda of most companies that are adopting enterprise FMC solutions today, and cutting mobile expenses is a key concern. FMC solutions can provide savings of at least 10 to 20 percent on the monthly mobile bill. Enterprise FMC solutions (including PBX to mobile extensions, mobile UC and voice dual-mode roaming) offer tangible benefits to mobile workers and present potent opportunities for vendors and other market participants.
While basic PBX-to-mobile extensions dominate the world installed base and current shipment numbers, 2008 saw the proliferation of both advanced premise-based FMC clients and alternative FMC solutions coming from different market participants such as UC vendors, fixed carriers, cellular carriers, and handset manufacturers. The market has concluded that there is no single right path to enterprise FMC, but multiple solutions and FMC alternatives remain focused on customer needs and requirements.
While mobility continues to evolve and growth opportunities multiply within the enterprise FMC market, a combination of factors can restrain revenues for a few years. For instance, the current economic downturn can lead to de-prioritization of costly FMC solutions in procurement decision-making. Advanced FMC offerings are still considered expensive by many enterprises, which prefer to take a cautious, wait-and-see approach.
"Another major challenge has been the absence of complete support and integration among FMC participants," says Saayed. "FMC vendors are under pressure to ensure their solutions support and integrate with a large variety of platforms, devices, and mobile operating systems available in the market."
Taking into account the challenging environment, FMC vendors must prepare for next-generation enterprise FMC solutions by providing broad device support and evidence of a compelling return on investment. Focusing on creating multiple financing options, clearly communicating what is being offered, and establishing partnerships to expand presence and enlarge overall FMC portfolios, will also provide crucial competitive advantages.
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