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Varaha-Sys--Enabling-Enterprise-Mobility
Jayakishore Bayadi
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
“Hey John, I’d been trying to connect a customer to your desk. I believe you just missed an important call,” the operator informed. Though John can listen to the voice message left by the customer and call him back, many such instances in a day could swallow much of his productive time. Now imagine a scenario like this. John is away from his cubicle. He may be in the conference room or even out of the office at a coffee shop. The operator tries to connect a customer call to John’s four-digit PBX (telephone switching system within an enterprise) extension. Normally, the call would roll to John’s office voice mail. But John’s cell phone rings and he is able to talk to the customer just like he is sitting at his desk. And thus, wherever John is, he can be always connected to his office wireline number via his cell phone.

With uMobility, a fixed-mobile-convergence (FMC) solution, which makes the above situation a reality, Varaha Systems is all set to lead the FMC space on its own way. This Dallas, Texas based FMC Solutions Company, founded in 2003 by two wireless veterans Jogen Pathak, CEO, who holds several patents in this space and Prasad Govindarajan, CTO. Varaha team has created a comprehensive, network and location agnostic solution called uMobility, which unifies voice, data, and applications on a single handset. uMobility extends the reach of the enterprise to anywhere any time, so that a company executive should not miss even a single call from his customers or mobilized workforce, staying connected to their desk even on the go. “We believe mobility is the lifestyle today. The mobile phone is a platform for data as well as voice applications. With our solution the goal is to forge a secure, high-quality, unswerving link between mobile users and the enterprise data and voice features in order to do their jobs efficiently and effectively,” explains Pathak.

The Market Demand

Today more than 70 percent of enterprise workers are still not able to stay connected with their customers and colleagues every time, says an analyst study. And this is the opportunity the company is trying to explore. “We plunged into this space when we saw great opportunity to create a “mobile desk”— enabling cell phones as the primary communications tool by exploiting enterprise data and voice features that have only been available to office workers,” informs Pathak.

Along with enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses, Varaha is exploring the opportunity to sell their products to wireless carriers and wireline service providers as well. For wireline service providers the solution is useful because nowadays many of their hosted PBX or residential VoIP subscribers are using cell phones at the office and at home. In both cases, the cellular operators capture the talk minutes, draining valuable business from the wireline network. In this case uMobility lets them win back that voice traffic while solving important problems for their subscribers. It lets wireline service provider’s subscribers answer their office or home phone directly from their cell phone thus enhancing the use of the wireline service.

“uMobility paves the way for wireless carriers to tie the business processes to mobile desk. The other advantages are enhanced in-building coverage, better speed, and overall reliable cell phone service in the office or home, increasing customer loyalty and ARPU while reducing churn and freeing up spectrum,” Pathak advocates.

The Technology

Simply speaking, uMobility is a software solution that works with your office phone system (or hosted phone service) to let you make/receive office (or home) calls directly from your cell phone using two main components: the uMobility Controller (uMC) and the uMobility cell phone client. The uMC is the heart of the system. It resides at the enterprise (or service provider) and communicates with the office’s (or service provider) phone system and with the uMobility cell phone client, which is installed on the cell phone.

Here is a use case scenario which gives us a glimpse on how exactly uMobility works. Let’s start with a call that originates from the uMobility-enabled handset in the cellular domain. For example, a uMobility user is driving in the car on the way to the office and makes a call from his/her cell phone. When the desired number is dialed, the uMobility

client software communicates with the uMC and the IP-PBX or softswitch to set-up the call. The uMC then instructs the IP-PBX or softswitch to dial the called number. The number is dialed and the called party sees the caller’s office number as the incoming Caller ID.

Continuing this scenario, assume that the call is still in progress as the uMobility user parks the car and walks toward the office building. The uMC is always searching for, and communicating with, any Wi-Fi nodes that have been pre-registered with the uMobility client that is running on the user’s cellular handset. This is done to determine if the Wi-Fi signal strength and other parameters are suitable for quality voice communications over the Wi-Fi network. If the Wi-Fi signal is poor at the handset, then the call is kept in the cellular domain.

Cost Savings

According to Varaha’s estimate, up to 60 percent of calls from a cell phone originate in the presence of a Wi-Fi network. And much of time is also spent on checking office voice mail. “So, to save you money on your cell phone bill and improve your in-building cell phone conversations; uMobility converts your cell phone calls to Voice over IP (VoIP) and routes the calls over the nearest Wi-Fi access point which saves much of one’s cell plan minutes, especially for international travel,” explains Govindarajan.

“Ease of use and easy deployment are key features of our product,” iterates Pathak. The server software can be loaded on a standard Intel Linux server and connected to the network. The customer can then provision his uMobility users through a simple web-provisioning tool that is also included with the solution to install the software on the mobile smart phone. Once that is done, the user automatically receives an email or a short message on his/her cell phone with a hot-link to install the client software. The user simply clicks on the email link and the client software is automatically installed on the user’s cell phone “over the air” (OTA).

“Quite different from many of our competitors’ offerings, with uMobility, there is no need to environment-map the Wi-Fi network. Environment mapping is an expensive and time-consuming exercise and therefore sets uMobility apart from competition,” explains Pathak. Also, “Competitive offerings that use environment mapping do not scale and also cannot support data and multimedia traffic across the other current and future network infrastructures” adds Govindarajan.

Road Ahead

“Today, our patented uMobility solution ensures superior voice quality through its Service Quality Aware (SQA) software architecture, seamless network hand-offs and enterprise-grade security along with a rich set of mobile capabilities,” says confident Pathak. With a vision of creating solid communications infrastructure for enterprises, the company aims to be far ahead from their competitors. The company claims that it is the only solution provider that supports the iPhone today. “We use open source technology and are actually creating an open system FMC environment for lot of people to write applications,” informs Pathak. “We are holding off Blackberry announcements to ensure licensed use of RIM platform unlike our competition”, adds Govindarajan, “We are ensuring that customers investment in Mobile future is preserved without ever becoming a liability”.

With advanced technologies like 4G and Wi-MAX coming, the company is gearing up to leverage the upcoming opportunity with pioneering patent awards and the most comprehensive solution in the FMC space. Varaha boasts the most active partners of the Wi-Fi and Call control manufacturers. Pull from wireless carriers, several wireline service providers, and several thousand subscribers to its kitty, the company’s solutions are proven in customer deployments and trials throughout Europe, Asia and North America. In India, Varaha is eagerly looking for opportunity to sell to carriers.

With Pathak, who is a firm believer in the Gandhian philosophy, Varaha is all set to build a customer driven company where all product lines are developed with customers need’s in mind. Most definitely, Varaha has the abilities to bring change within the space of telecommunications infrastructure.
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