What is fixed mobile convergence?
There are many – sometimes competing – interpretations of FMC. Each can be valid in its own way. But, it’s now a mandatory requirement to help businesses offer more flexibility to their employees. Operators have to deliver FMC in order to remain relevant.
FMC is not new – but there are many interpretations
Fixed mobile convergence, or FMC, is not a new term. It’s been around for many years and, sometimes, it seems as if there are just as many interpretations of what it means. In any event, that seems to be the case from the number of RFIs we’ve seen that call for some sort of FMC capabilities.
At Gintel, we think the key is to determine what outcome is really sought. Is the FMC simply a single number that can be directed towards fixed and mobile devices? If so, that implies a unidirectional approach – in which calls are simply routed to a set of destinations. It’s a valid approach, but somewhat limited. Or, is it more about what you are delivering to your customers – reachability, mobility, convenience and flexibility?
The real goal should be to eliminate the differences between a fixed and mobile device from the perspective of the user. If I want to answer my calls on a fixed line, that’s fine. If I want to move exclusively to mobile, then I want all calls to come to that mobile. Similarly, I may want all calls that originate from the mobile to be received as if they came from my office number, not my mobile number.
FMC is indispensable
There are lots of variables. Some solutions depend on applications, which can work very well – but can also be inconsistent if the required data coverage is not available, as many have discovered when working from remote locations with only limited mobile coverage.
Others use a fixed number as the primary identity, while still others use virtual numbers. It really doesn’t matter – the point is to ensure that users are reachable and that their devices are integrated into the service.
But, whatever FMC means, the fact is that it’s an indispensable element of any operator’s approach to business customers. If you don’t have at least some sort of basic FMC offer, you are really only offering connectivity.
And that matters, because with businesses exploring a range of new tools to support different working models and a distributed workforce, operators can either step up and offer something relevant, or else be relegated to the part of connectivity provider forever.
Businesses need to adapt, now.
The fact is that businesses simply won’t wait. They have been forced to re-evaluate how their teams should be deployed and are already planning for the next decade. This means that they are already working on defining the kinds of services, access modes and capabilities they will need – and they will go wherever they can to get them.
As such, operators must recognise that they won’t be able to deliver everything – businesses will find many of their own solutions from other providers – but they can deliver FMC and make sure it works alongside other tools and solutions businesses adopt. That’s because numbers matter. They are part of the identity of the business and its employees – and crucial to making the right connections.
Get FMC right – and offer variants to simplify adoption
So, if you are thinking of how to support your business customers, probably the most important thing you can be doing beyond ensuring service continuity, is to address FMC. This means figuring out which is the best way of ensuring the smoothest integration path and the easiest way to enable service adoption. In this context, an FMC offer can be based on a series of incremental steps – all the way from number diversion to deep integration with the mobile and fixed core.
That’s why FMC is all of the above – but none of the versions should be mutually exclusive. Instead, they should be complementary, in turn, allowing an operator to provide different solutions according to different needs. Find out how to adopt and deploy flexible fixed mobile convergence with Gintel.