There has been a lot of discussion about convergence lately. Based on some recent interest in this information, here is part IV of a primer on this trend and what it means to all of us; not just in telecommunications, but in all facets of the business world.
Prior installments have discussed the reasons behind converging networks. Just as it makes sense in the world of terrestrial networks, it makes equal sense in other facets of telecommunications.
If we think of convergence as the merging of two or more technologies as a seamless form of communications, we can go farther:
In addition to home networks, office telephone systems are becoming IP based as well. These phone systems (PBXs) need to be connected as well as electricity and Internet. A Wi-Fi enabled PBX might be able to use VoIP and work seamlessly with the company’s intranet, and require fewer network connections for huge cost savings. Bringing Power over Ethernet (PoE) reduces this further, and the ability to hand off calls to existing wireless networks makes this extremely efficient. There are many systems available today that will allow calls to be made and received from alternate locations (such as a worker’s home or wireless phone) that will appear to come from the office. Home workers may also access phone records and other data just as if they were sitting in their cubicle. Systems like this know where you are, how to route your calls and allow sharing of voice mail.
For the home user, services such as T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home and Sprint’s Airave show promise if they are accepted by consumers.
One thing is certain: as long as consumer’s demand more services for less money, convergence will be the most likely solution for providers.