DiVitas, Samsung Partner for Mobile UC

Software vendor and device maker combine competencies to create SDK for smartphones.

By Adam Stone | Posted Aug 17, 2009
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In an effort to bring full unified communications and fixed mobile convergence to the latest Samsung phones, DiVitas and Samsung have partnered to create a just-released software development kit.

The partners are calling it the first time a major Windows Mobile handset manufacturer has moved to address the enterprise UC space.

In pursuit of UC, “enterprises have been buying a completely separate set of solutions that manifest themselves as a PBX, that today are only available in the desktop form,” said DiVitas President and CEO Vivek Khuller. “Now these functionalities, moving forward, will be available to you on your mobile phone.”

DiVitas and Samsung together defined the requirements for the API developed by Samsung. That API will enable the DiVitas Mobile UC solution on the latest Samsung smartphones.

Available globally for both GSM and CDMA networks, these devices include the Samsung Epix, Samsung Saga, Samsung Jack and the Samsung Omnia (CDMA) in the U.S. and the Samsung Omnia (GSM) globally.

Based on the Windows Mobile platform, the new tools will allow developers to move such features as instant messaging and presence into the mobile space. The new tools also will enable seamless handoffs between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

Khuller joins Samsung General Manager for Enterprise Mobility Enablement Peter DeNagy in describing three major hurdles that have heretofore stymied mobile UC.

The first might be described as auditory. Most mobile devices have been engineered to route Wi-Fi voice through the speaker rather than through the earpiece.

Devices also have been challenged to deliver quality performance when trying to carry UC applications in a Wi-Fi environment.

Finally, increasingly bulky applications have strained the limits of battery life. Presence, for instance, is constantly broadcasting to the outside world, draining batteries through nonstop usage. Rising demands in the mobile environment have given rise to other performance challenges as well. “In the past, for example, there was no need to do a handoff between Wi-Fi and cellular, because there was no Wi-Fi to talk about,” Khuller said.

It took the combination of a software maker and a device maker to overcome these hurdles, which often can straddle the line between hardware and software, Khuller said. “We were looking for a leader in the Windows Mobile platform that was serious about the market, and Samsung was looking for a player that understood all the issues involved.”

In spite of the complexities inherent in the situation, some choices came easy, as for instance the decision to utilize the Windows Mobile platform. “When you go by IM and e-mail as the killer apps, Windows Mobile plays very elegantly in the enterprise environment,” Khuller said. This comes about largely because of the shared use of .net, which allows for tight integration between Windows Mobile and many back-end business applications.

In addition, all of Samsung’s enterprise-class devices sold in the United States already operate in the Windows Mobile environment.

The partners say they began discussing a collaboration in December, with reasonable assurance that the developer community would embrace their new tools. DeNagy noted that Samsung’s existing developer kit (http://innovator.samsungmobile.com) has drawn a very positive response.

Analysts say the ability to bring UC to the mobile space could be a boon for enterprise users in terms of expenses. If developers make use of these tools, “you may not need to have a desk phone anymore, so there is a real savings there,” said Brent Kelly, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research.

“Likewise, if you can place calls over a Wi-Fi network, you can do that at practically no additional cost, which is especially helpful if you have a lot of people who are traveling abroad,” he said.

The traveling user is very much in the thoughts of DiVitas and Samsung executives. “The target market in my mind is the information worker—the knowledge worker, who is on the road, even if that is within their own buildings. It’s someone who is not tethered to their desk,” Khuller said. He estimates most workers can be found at their desks less than 30 percent of the time these days. Put the full phone system in their pockets, and productivity is bound to increase.

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