EyeForWireless: How To Deploy That VoWiFi You Probably Don't Need Yet
Well, the previous session here at EyeForWireless suggested that the business case for VoWiFi wasn’t there yet for most users, but now there’s a panel telling you how to do it anyway. Basically, it’s still quite expensive and there are technology challenges, but it can be done. The expense isn’t so much in the hardware (which is getting cheaper all the time) but in the planning and deployment – which is also getting cheaper as new equipment is designed to better handle VoWiFi. Ujjal Kohli, from Meru Networks, is predicting that more forward thinking carriers (something some may see as an oxymoron) will begin to crack and admit that they need to offer VoWiFi by the end of this year. He believes that, since it’s (increasingly) close to free to add WiFi to mobile phones, more and more phones will show up with WiFi and the carriers will start to lose out if they don’t do something. Then, since the end users have WiFi enabled devices, it’s going to become a natural to offer VoWiFi. Ben Berry from Providence Health Systems explained why he went with a startup, Vocera, for VoWiFi when he explained how cautious he was in dealing with big established players Cisco and Avaya. The answer, basically, is that Vocera allows you to do things that are so different than what else is out there, there just aren’t any established vendors offering it. Also, he says that the staff at the hospital were the ones asking for it, rather than the IT staff going out and finding it first. That’s an important point that gets lost in many VoWiFi discussions. The benefits to the end user are going to be what drives the more innovative systems.