How to improve the mobile experience for unified communications

When on the move, unified communications (UC) users access UC services through mobile phone apps. But does this really provide a great experience? Here, we explore the challenges faced by UC business users, and how together, service providers and UC solution providers can improve customer experience.

Due COVID-19 and increased levels of remote working, this year uptake of UC services, remote conferencing, meetings, instant messaging, voice & video meetings, has increased manifolds. This has also contributed to business users’ needs to be connected to business communication services across multiple devices and multiple locations, to maintain business efficiency and productivity and personal and work life balance.

Due COVID-19 and increased levels of remote working, this year uptake of UC services, remote conferencing, meetings, instant messaging, voice & video meetings, has increased manifolds. This has also contributed to business users’ needs to be connected to business communication services across multiple devices and multiple locations, to maintain business efficiency and productivity and personal and work life balance.

The mobile phone has become a key device for the business users, and it is important for UC services to provide a good mobile experience. The business users have mobile voice and data subscriptions with service providers and the UC apps run on either mobile data or Wi-Fi.

User Experience challenges from Unified Communications service app on Mobile phone

In service experience

Some of the day-to-day challenges that business users face while using UC service through UC mobile app include:

  • A user is in middle of important business discussion through the mobile app and they receive a normal call on the mobile. The business communication session is dropped or disrupted, as the normal mobile call is prioritized over the UC app call by.
  • A user is commuting and is in middle of an important business meeting, through the app but their meeting session is disrupted or dropped as the mobile coverage changed from 4G to 3G or data coverage is changed from Wi-Fi to mobile data. Most of the time the user will have to use the mobile call to dial-in into the meeting.
  • A user is busy on a normal mobile call, but as the call status is not shared with the UC service the business call is received on the UC mobile app. Depending on the UC app integration with the phone features, the user may have to open the UC app to answer the call. It is really challenging for the user to find on which app is receiving a call especially when having multiple apps (social media) on the phone.

Ease of use of UC app on mobile

Depending on the UC app, business users face the following typical challenges:

  • The UC app is not integrated with the user’s phone address book and the phone’s native dialer. So, the user needs to open the UC app, select a business contact and use the app dialer to the make a business call.
  • Some UC apps drain the phone battery as they constantly run in the background. This leads the user to charge the phone more frequently and which will affect the phone life itself.
  • The user is required to remember the log-in credentials for the UC app and those credentials are to be changed periodically or when he log-out from the UC app outside of work hours. If the user forgets the credentials, then the company’s IT support need to update or renew the credentials.

Service providers’ new services

Communication service poviders are continuously innovating and launching new services for better customer experience, but the same can’t be extended to business users’ UC services. Some of the new innovative services are:

  • Service providers have launched or are launching services to extend the user’s mobile calling services & subscriptions to new voice compatible and eSIM enabled devices like Smart watches, smart speakers, etc. This service extension allows the user to move and handle the communication between these devices, even when the mobile phone is away. This is not possible for the business user’s UC services as they run on the mobile app. The only option for business UC users is to connect these devices through Bluetooth with limited experience.
  • Many business users, apart from business mobile number(s), also have their personal number(s) and to manage those identities they carry multiple phones. With new technology features, service providers can offer to their consumers to manage multiple identities. The service can provide flexibility to consumers to know on which identity the incoming communication is coming from and give them the flexibility to choose one of the identities before starting outgoing communication. It is not possible for servicve providers to extend the similar service to their business users using UC services.

Business and enterprise customers buy UC services either directly from the Unified Communications as-a-Service (UCaaS) providers or from traditional communication service providers. Communication service providers either simply re-sell the UCaaS bundled along with mobile and fixed connectivity services or sell their own branded UC services. Only a few service providers have integrated their branded UC services with their network. Most of the UC solution providers are moving towards the cloud-based as-a-service solution and communication service providers end up simply re-selling these services.

UC providers and communication service providers try to provide excellent end user experiences for their respective services. Some of the business user challenges mentioned earlier are being answered by some communication service providers and UC providers. Some of the enhanced user experiences that they are trying to provide include:

  • Some UC providers are integrating their mobile apps with phone OS call kits so the user can call from their mobile native dialer but the user still faces the other in-service related experience challenges.
  • Some communication service providers offer mobile integration through mobile extension-type services for their own branded UC services, but only a few of them are VoLTE integrated. For the non-branded UC services communication service providers are not leveraging their differentiation and simply re-selling them.

It is an excellent opportunity for communication service providers to differentiate by leveraging their network assets and integrating their VoLTE network with the UC services to provide seamless mobility experience to the UC users. To provide this integrated enhanced user experience, the collaboration between communication service providers and UC providers need to be in an eco-system manner to avoid the challenge for communication service providers to collaborate with multiple UC solution providers and vice versa.

Opportunity: CSP differentiated enhanced Unified Communications service mobile experience

In service experience

Enhanced user experience while using a UC service:

  • A user is busy on a normal mobile call, and the call status is shared with the UC system. So, the other users attached to the same UC service, will be aware that the user is busy in another call (either personal or business).
  • A user is in the middle of an important business call and the communication service providers network is aware of this status and in sync with the UC service. In case, somebody try to call the user either on the mobile or through the UC service, the user will get a call waiting signal (if this service is activated) and then have the choice to take the incoming call. If call waiting is not activated, then the caller will hear a busy call signal.
  • A user is commuting and is in middle of an important business meeting, using the normal mobile subscription. The mobile coverage is changed from 4G to 3G or data coverage is changed from Wi-Fi to mobile data, but there will be no drop or disruption in the business call, as the communication service provider will maintain the call quality across 4G, 3G and Wi-fi network (if the communication service provider support Wi-Fi calling also).

Ease of use of UC app on mobile

  • The user uses the mobile phone as usual, by selectin a contact from the phone address book and starts the business communication with his colleagues without any need of opening the UC mobile app.
  • As the UC app will only be used for collaboration features, while the voice call will be supported by the phone’s normal VoLTE communication, the phone battery will not drain as fast.
  • The communication service providser can use secure credential authorizations so the user will be automatically authorized to the UC services, rather than having to remember and entering any credentials.

Service providers’ new services

Business users will be able to make use of the innovative services that the communication service provider offer to their consumer customers.

  • A business user can have personal (or business) smart watch or another smart device and use them for business communication, along with mobile phones.
  • A business user can map is multi personal identities (mobile, home, etc.) along with the business identities on the same mobile subscription. This way the user doesn’t have to carry multiple mobiles and can manage his communication efficiently on a single device.

I think this is the way to proceed, with communication service providers and UC providers working together in an eco-system. In order to make this easier, and far quicker, we are working with unified communications solution and Unified Communications as-a-Service (UCaaS)  partners to pre-configure, test and certifies their services  for compatibility  with Ericsson VoLTE services. Recently we launched Ericsson Communication Accelerator (ECA), a global as-a-Service offering which simple APIs, which provides a collaboration environment for servicve providers and UCaaS providers to pre-configure, test and VoLTE enable their services to be 5G ready.

Source: Ericsson

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