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ScanSource: Bring Your Own Device

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One of the focal points of our annual ShoreTel Champion Partner Conference is the Innovation Center – where technology partners are available to chat with resellers about ways to increase revenue and margins, while making the customer experience even stronger.

In the days leading up to this year’s event, some of our top sponsors have shared their thoughts on our industry.

Today we hear from ScanSource and their thoughts on the latest mobile trend: BYOD.

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The concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a huge trend in the unified communication space. This flood of technology into the workforce is causing IT teams to reconsider their network infrastructure, and to react quickly.

Facetime, Skype, Google+, and social media sites are putting low-cost video communication in the hands of consumers via their smart phones and tablets. Once the benefits of video communication are realized by consumers, they carry the expectation of its availability into their workplace. This is forcing companies to not only adopt video conferencing as part of their business processes, but also to provide the network to which their employees will connect their video-enabled devices.

Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), when using solutions like ShoreTel Mobility, gives employees the freedom to replace their desk phones with a mobile phone. Using an available wireless network to transmit phone calls from a smart phone as VoIP calls, and automatically transitioning the call to the mobile network when WiFi is lost makes FMC a popular method of cutting operating costs. In addition to lowering a company’s monthly mobile usage costs, FMC greatly improves the availability and accessibility of their workforce. Once the availability of a mobile workforce without mobile network costs is realized, companies are more willing to allow for employees to bring their own device, and possibly bring their own network.

In the case of FMC, IT staffs now have multiple networks to worry about. First, they must be concerned with the cellular or mobile network(s) to which their employees’ phones will connect.  They already have limited control over the user experience on a mobile network, and by allowing employees to use their own devices and own networks, they no longer have a single provider with which to work to resolve issues.

The second network that could affect their users is the public WiFi connection, for example the Guest network at the local coffee shop. FMC is designed to take advantage of those networks, but there is no accountability for the quality of the network in those cases. Lastly, and most importantly, is their own wireless LAN. Moving all of this traffic from the networks dedicated to it, as in the case of a legacy PBX, to a network traditionally designed for data is a major task, if it’s to be done correctly. When taking advantage of any BYOD-centered technology, IT departments have to take a look at their existing equipment to ensure that it can support the tasks being asked of it, and often have to replace or upgrade the equipment.

Looking to the future, these decisions about wireless infrastructure will be affected by new technologies, such as the increased bandwidth available in 802.11ac, new product offerings designed to provide quality voice across data network experiences, and increased exposure of consumer-accessible communication methods through advertisement and social media. WiFi has almost become an add-on to a solution sell, and it may be time to add some mystery back into the sales cycle for this technology.

Remember where there is mystery, there is margin. So how can the channel involved in the sales cycle of these products help resellers bring WiFi into the forefront of a Unified Communications solution pitch?

Some of the individuals posting to this site, including the moderators, work for ShoreTel, Inc. Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of ShoreTel. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by ShoreTel or any other party.