Over the years, mobile devices (cell phones, in particular) have changed our lives dramatically. In addition to all of us becoming much more accessible to others, mobile devices have freed us up to communicate with others whenever and wherever we want. To free up mobile workers, businesses issued their employees corporate cell phones. But this created inconveniences, since very few of us liked having to juggle two or more devices in our travels to separate the various parts of our lives. To alleviate this inconvenience, employees demanded their preference of using their own devices at work for both business and personal usage, thus creating the BYOD trend.
With the exception of some government offices, most businesses today allow their employees to use a single device to communicate through voice, text and email. However, this has caused numerous problems of its own. For example, in addition to not being able to accurately separate business from personal usage for company expense reports, users are finding it difficult to know whether that unknown number that’s ringing is a personal friend or a business client. For enterprises, having employees use a single device has also caused security and compliancy headaches, as they are unable to efficiently track what data is being shared with outside sources.
With the influx of business and personal information that transfers through our mobile devices on a daily basis, it has become increasingly important for users to clearly distinguish between these two important audiences. Over the past few years, a number of solutions have become available that allow users to separate their business calls, emails and texts from their personal ones. Most of these are offered as either as stand-alone apps or integrated as part of their mobile carrier’s monthly services for a nominal fee.
While there has been much excitement and media coverage about some of the newer multi-line solutions to the market, both users and enterprises need to educate themselves about the different capabilities offered by each before investing in them. For readers of this post, I want to distinguish what I believe are the top three things both enterprises and employees should consider before integrating any multi-line mobile service.
1. Can You Use the Multi-Line Service with Any Mobile Carrier/Operator?
One of the newer multi-line services being marketed to freelancers requires them to switch from their current carrier to Sprint. While this may be fine for existing Sprint Nextel users, it would require those who use alternative carriers, such as Verizon Wireless or AT&T, to break their existing mobile contracts…or worse yet, break up a family package with their current mobile carrier. This would result in the user paying extra fees that would not make much financial sense. Plus, if a user is happy with their existing mobile services, why should they be forced to switch?
I strongly recommend to employees and enterprises looking to integrate multi-line services that they consider only those offerings that are carrier agnostic, meaning that their services work on any and all existing mobile carrier platforms. This prevents any disruption of contracts and services, and keeps employees using the carrier services that they like best. And as everyone knows, happy employees are productive employees!
2. Are Calling, Text and Data Charges Included in the Split-Billing Capabilities?
Several multi-line services are also marketing split-billing capabilities that will separate your business and personal usage. While most services do offer the ability to breakout business and personal costs for calls and texts, Movius Work Phone is currently the only service available that includes all three of the services areas for which carriers charge: calls, texts and data. I’m sure it comes as a bit of a surprise to both enterprises and their employees when they find out that only 2/3 of the charges on their invoices are being split.
3. Does the Service Leverage Both TDM and VoIP?
A few years ago, Verizon Wireless ran great television ads showing an actor pretending to be a Verizon Wireless QA tester travelling to a wide range of destinations and asking the person he was calling, “Can you hear me now? Good.” This ad resonated with all of us, because all of us at one time or another have experienced the dreaded call drop. It’s bad enough to have a call suddenly drop off when you’re speaking with a family member, but when your speaking to an important business prospect or client, it could potentially cause harmful effects. That is why I recommend that enterprises and business users only consider multi-line services that place calls over traditional wireless voice networks (TDM) as well as VoIP (including cellular data 3G/4G/LTE and Wi-Fi) services. By leveraging both networks, users will notice far less drop offs and experience sound quality that is crystal clear.
Meet us in Barcelona @ #MWC2016!
The annual Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain, is next week (March 22-24, 2016). I hope to see many of you there! Should you wish to see a demo of Movius Work Phone™ and discuss more on our multi-line service capabilities for enterprises, I encourage you to stop by Movius’ meeting room (Hall 5, Meeting Room #5L3MR).