This is huge news for companies that are looking for a campus phone solution. RIM purchased the MVS technology with their acquisition of Ascendant Systems quite a few years ago and have been struggling to find a way to make the solution relevant. I always argued that adding true VoIP to the solution would make it a winner and it looks like RIM has finally listened!
Later this year RIM will be updating the BlackBerry Mobile Voice System to v5 which will add voice over Wi-Fi calling to the solution along with other features. This is a huge deal and will really spur adoption for the system. One of the crazy things I learned is that the new MVS v5.0 will let you make Voice calls over Wi-Fi even if you do not have a cellular voice plan on your BlackBerry. This means that technicians that do not have voice plans can use their BlackBerry’s as a mobile campus phone when they are on site.
I was really excited about this new development and really grilled Manish Punjabi, RIM’s Senior Director of Collaborative Voice, about the solution during a briefing on Friday. Below you will see a summary of what I learned:
- First of all RIM is making the MVS solution more of a platform independent offering. It used to only work with Cisco PBX’s but with the v5 update it will work on the SIP standard extending compatibility to any SIP compliant PBX OR application. This is just like the original Ascendant solution that worked with any PBX.
- The new v5.0 will also add high availability for the solution similar to what RIM added in BES 5.0. They will be executing it in a Active-Passive high availability strategy.
- Voice over Wi-Fi will let you make calls over Wi-Fi anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection:
- When you make a call you will now have a choice of what line you wish to use AND which network (Wi-Fi or cellular)
- You can switch networks from Wi-Fi to Cellular and vise versa in the middle of the call but this is done manually
- There is also the option to transfer the MVS call to a 1-time conference room phone
- Wi-Fi calls will also work abroad and will use the Best Call Routing RIM built into your PBX to save money on long distance calls
- The nicest feature I saw was that the new Voice over Wi-Fi feature will work even if you do not have a cellular voice plan on your BlackBerry. This is great for technicians that only have data plans on their devices.
I am curious as to how these new features will be adopted by the market. The new MVS system will only work with BES premium so BESX deployments would not be able to take advantage of the solution. Currently MVS is licensed per server without CAL licenses but RIM has not yet announced if that will change for MVS 5.0. Hopefully RIM will be giving this away because it will be a great reason for companies to stick with BES 5.0 Premium. Manish also mentioned that with the new SIP compliant platform MVS will be able to interface with certain applications beyond PBX’s like healthcare doctor paging systems or the communication devices used by stock traders on the market floor.
Anybody else excited that RIM is finally making MVS relevant? Hopefully v6 will all Voice over 3G!