June 29, 2021
Mobile communications services and the mobile phone are now the pervasive, dominant communications tools for consumers and business users alike.
And innovations such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and Private LTE in combination with the new generation of Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) promise to create even more compelling use cases for mobile communications.
What will that future look like?
I expect it will follow the trendline that brought us here, with these technologies blending to deliver an even more convenient and seamless user experience.
We can see some clues in how FMC has evolved in this most recent wave of innovation.
Cord-Cutting for Business Users
But these initial attempts were largely non-starters. The over-the-top (OTT) phone apps that employees on mobiles were required to use had extremely poor adoption.
These initial problems have been resolved by the new generation of FMC. The latest innovations take advantage of cloud technology to integrate mobile phones natively into a corporate Unified Communications (UC) platform.
That means a device’s native interface can be operated for communications by the user, who does not have to deal with any special apps to make a simple call or send a text from the business number. The communications will take advantage of the high quality of the native mobile network connections, not the inconsistent performance of mobile data connectivity.
This evolution of FMC then makes the mobile phone the most consistently usable business communications device in every context. Our Mobile-X service is a prime example of the new generation of FMC, for which we have more than 90 patents.
In short, the mobile phone has won. We see the evidence in a range of companies that are adopting “Mobile First” or “Mobile Only” communications strategies, with the aim of eventually retiring landlines altogether.
The trend was kicked into overdrive by the response to the pandemic and now the post-pandemic hybrid working models taking hold around the world.
Going forward employees at many companies will work from home part of the time, in the office part of the time, and in other locations or while traveling as needed. The mobile phone is the only device that works equally well in any context.
The Digital Revolution Meets Mobile Comms
When I look ahead at the next decade of mobile innovation, I see it linked to the transformation of our business processes and tools caused by the digital revolution.
There are use cases possible today that seemed like science fiction only a few years ago.
Imagine a busy salesperson is traveling and receives a critical call on her mobile phone about the big order she has been waiting for all quarter.
The corporate communications platform sees the incoming call, identified with a number that the company’s Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) system has recorded as belonging to the customer.
The corporate communications platform then intercepts the call, captures it, records it, and pushes it into the CRM system.
There it is automatically logged in the records for that customer. Automatic transcription converts the voice into text for the records in addition to archiving the native audio recording. The transcript is automatically emailed to the salesperson and her boss, enabling ev
eryone to immediately be aware of the order and what was agreed.
It’s readily apparent what a game-changer this type of mobile integration brings about in terms of efficiency, record capture and retention, reduction of overhead, and so on.
The Rise of Microservices
The salesperson scenario represents only a short step away from a full “microservices” enabled mobile user experience that can apply across a huge range of contexts.
Microservices is the term used to describe a type of software architecture in which individual, contained processes or applications can be exposed and interact to create a more tailored and more efficient user experience.
The same approach can be applied to mobile communications and the business or consumer oriented applications that support a given task or process.
Picture in the salesperson scenario above that the sales order agreement reached via the phone call is captured in the CRM as I described.
Then a keyword recognition bot analyzing the conversation triggers an account receivable app that automatically generates a purchase order for the agreement.
A microservices controller sets up a secure connection to the mobile phones of the salesperson and her customer.
Both are able to read the agreement, see each other’s notations to it in real-time and, if all looks good, sign it.
For the signatures, another microservice uses NFTs representing each party to validate their identities for fully secure execution of the purchase order agreement. NFT uses blockchain technology to create a unique, non-changeable digital asset that in this case could be used to represent the unique identity of an individual, effectively an NFT avatar.
Once the users’ identities have been confirmed via the NFT identity microservice, the microservice of the transaction app could enable each user to digitally sign the purchase order by using their phones’ facial recognition features. The executed agreement is pushed by API into the salesperson’s CRM and order system and sent via email to all parties.
Seamless User Experience for ‘The Market of One’
The combination of NFT with next-generation mobile and microservices unlocks even more possibilities.
A family checks in to a resort hotel at a theme park. A microservice automatically installs an eSIM in each family members’ mobile phone while another validates their identities via NFT avatars. The service then provisions mobile communications giving each family member’s phone access to the theme park’s Private LTE campus communications for the duration of their stay.
Now family members can access hotel services, order food, make restaurant reservations, check on theme park ride wait times, and talk to customer service throughout the duration of their stay.
The parents can allocate an amount of money that the kids can use to purchase souvenirs at gift shops with their phones’ Near Field Communications (NFC) payment features.
The location of each family member in the park is securely shared among them at all times. If one of the kids is lost, his or her location can be quickly and securely identified.
When the stay is drawing to a close, the parents can check account balances, pay invoices and eventually checkout using their phones. And as they depart, their access to the system is de-provisioned automatically.
Marketers call this sort of consumer experience “The Market of One.” The concept is to harness the right systems and platforms to quickly tailor the user experience very tightly to an individual user’s preferences and needs.
Catching the Next Wave
Here at Tango Networks we have broken new ground in the FMC technologies that make these types of scenarios possible.
In fact, our implementation of Mobile Unified Communications has won five industry awards in a little more than a year for enabling the distributed workforce to “Work-from-Anywhere” and enjoy consistent, business-quality communications no matter where they work.
We’re actively recruiting new channel partners to help revolutionize mobile communications for business users.