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Complete control

Justin Hamilton Martin, Centile UK Director, explains why enterprise-controlled-SIMs provided as part of a UCaaS offering are a growing opportunity for the channel

Giving users true control over how they manage their SIMs has already proved successful in other parts of Europe and is becoming more of an option in the UK.

Forecast to be one of the fastest growing trends in telecoms, a native SIM-controlled approach gives technology resellers a potential gateway to selling truly competitive and ‘mobile first’ services. It also help with differentiation, which can be challenging, but is vital if resellers are to make the most of the massive opportunity presented by Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

With a SIM-controlled approach, unlike existing BYOD over-the-top services, the employer adds the SIM into the UCaaS platform, where it manages the inbound and outbound termination of calls. The business effectively becomes the SIM provider.

In more forward-thinking markets, where alternative operators have had freer access to mobile assets, such as the Netherlands and the Nordics, native SIM-control is widespread. In the UK, to date, UC services have generally been over-the-top (OTT) applications or based on having separate company SIMs, which has resulted in disjointed UC services.

Now, as the uptake of UCaaS accelerates, the UK mobile sector is changing faster than ever, with far more market innovation and disruption.

The channel community is in a great position to start offering compelling packages, based around use cases rather than customer size.

Imagine a salesperson out on the road, talking to a prospect (hands-free of course). When another call comes in, the UC platform sees that she is occupied and the call is automatically diverted to her office. Her assistant takes the message that the next meeting has been cancelled and sends through an IM, which the salesperson sees on her screen in the car. Knowing she does not need to rush to that meeting, she is able to have a more detailed conversation with the prospect she is already talking to. Once that call is over, she uses Siri to launch a call to bring her next appointment forward an hour to fill the slot.

Initially, sales are likely to come from offering a native SIM to restricted teams within an organisation, for instance field service engineers or a sales team, rather than the whole enterprise.

There are also opportunities for resellers to build on the legacy all-voice, mobile VPN functionality offered to some corporate customers (historically called MOBEX, MVPN or OWE, depending on the mobile operator), by adding the additional benefits of UC features, such as collaboration, group chat and enhanced boss-assistant working.

Private billing
There are a couple of important issues to address with native SIM control, notably the need to ensure that private and work environments are separate, for billing purposes and to ensure that personal calls are not accidentally recorded.

For this, the UC platform needs to be able to identify whether a call is personal/private, which it does using cues, such as status, incoming or outgoing number, the app being used, time of day or location. The ability to separate personal and work mobile calls by status and by using an app to apply rules or personal override enables organisations to generate separate bills for private calls. Alternatively, employers may prefer the simplicity of a fixed rate personal usage cost or another arrangement that complies with the existing tax regime.

Supporting differentiation
To enable differentiation, it is important that the UC platform supporting native SIM control is flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of customer requirements. In addition, many resellers will need a platform where the engineering, development, management and support are done for them. It also makes sense to look at the experiences of operators, vendors and resellers with a proven track record in mainland Europe, where the market remains ahead of the curve.

Native SIM control is a game-changer in enterprise mobility, as well as a doorway to advanced UC services. The market is young, but it is set to grow fast, so now is the time to get on board.

Centile was founded in 1998 and is headquartered near Nice, France. Its feature-rich, multi-tenant ISTRA platform allows Service Providers of all types to deliver compelling cloud communications solutions to business customers. With built-in FMC, flexible application programming interfaces (APIs) and MOBiiS, a revolutionary native mobile application, the Centile ISTRA platform provides business end users with: Fixed and Mobile PBX features, unified messaging, auto attendant, voicemail to email, boss/secretary filtering, call barring, groups management, IVRs, ACDs, audio and video conferencing with screen and file sharing, Instant Messaging and presence. Centile serves over 100 Service Providers in 20 countries and has a total of 650,000 end users.

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