More Motorola news today, of the good kind. With Danish telco TeliaSonera, Motorola is deploying a voice gateway for fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services. In plain-speak, here’s what the gateway does: If you’re on a dual-mode phone (cellular and Wi-Fi) outside the home and you then walk into range of your home Wi-Fi connection, the gateway will switch networks for you without interrupting your conversation. In other words, you can avoid using up cellular minutes by switching to Wi-Fi when it’s available.
There is some debate over whether consumers are really going to care enough to use dual-mode phones. However, dual-mode phones are really just the tip of the iceberg for FMC.
There’s a concept called identity convergence which involves having one phone number (and one email address, one password, etc.) which always reaches you no matter where you are or what device you’re using at the time. You’d be able to set preferences on what calls would get through, but accessibility would be your choice rather than something dependent on whether or not someone has the latest contact info for you. No separate numbers for cell phones, work phones and home phones. No having to let everyone know whenever your phone number changes.
I first heard about this concept of identity convergence (called something else then – don’t remember what) in 2002. Now we’re actually making progress toward it.
RE: the Motorola news – the new gateway, called the RSGu3500, is the first commercially available “UMA-enabled gateway for fixed-mobile convergence services.” What’s UMA? How does it differ from the IMS approach? Well that’s a topic for another post.