Managing Corporate Communications on Mobile Devices

By Andrew Silver, CTO Tango Networks

There is a strange inconsistency in how enterprises manage mobile communications compared to other types of business communications.

With traditional voice communications and data communications, we directly control how communications are deployed and used by our employees. But for mobile devices, we give up this control to external mobile service providers, creating expensive management and regulatory headaches.

It doesn’t have to be this way, which is why I founded Tango Networks a decade ago to revolutionize business mobile communications.

The Company is The Service Provider

Consider how other forms of communications are managed for employees.

For typical desktop phone service, the company purchases phones from a vendor along with a central system to provide voice calling, conferencing, in-office dialing, and other features. The company or its contractor will run cabling and power for the phones. Then the company contracts with a service provider for voice services. The enterprise is in control of the communications system, and sets the policies for each user.

It’s the same for data communications. The company will contract with a service provider for Internet service. But then the company will install routers, firewalls, SBCs and Ethernet cabling, or Wi-Fi access points and similar infrastructure to get its employees online. The company similarly is in direct control of its local and wide-area networks, and sets the policies for each user.

In both cases, the company is acting as a service provider for its employees – delivering and supporting essential communications services.

But this model has remained broken when it comes to mobile communications.

The Broken Mobile Model

In more traditional situations, the company will contract with a mobile communications service provider and buy or lease mobile phones and service for employees. The company pays the provider to handle support, configuration and management of the phones in addition to the primary voice and data service costs. While the company is incurring these expenses, the company does not have direct control over the devices to ensure that corporate policies are followed. Companies that must monitor employee voice calls and data sessions, or archive them for regulatory purposes, face added expenses.

In some companies, this model has evolved into Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, often when IT departments have simply given up trying to gain control over corporate mobile communications the way they have always been able to manage their other services.

Instead of contracting for phones with a service provider, the employees are permitted to use their own devices. Then the company reimburses or otherwise subsidizes services. While this can be less expensive than a company-owned phone approach, it makes enforcement of policies very difficult, especially for regulated industries requiring communications recording.

In both cases, the mobile devices and service subscriptions remain separate from the main form of corporate communications.  If I call you from the office, you see my corporate number as the caller ID. If I call you from my mobile, you see my personal mobile number, or another number you don’t recognize. If you call me on my mobile but I need to take the call from my desk phone for recording compliance, I need to call you back, or else start up a special app on my phone to record the call.

In short, the user experience is messy, unwieldy, and less professional in appearance.

The Better Way

Imagine instead that your mobile phone could be an extension of your main corporate communications systems.

You could make and receive calls using your corporate number. You could transfer, conference, call with in-office dialing. You could send text messages from your corporate number and receive incoming texts to your corporate number – something your desktop phone probably cannot do. Your calls and texts could be archived for compliance. Your IT staff would have direct control over when and where you could make toll calls, or even route them through the corporate networks to reduce costs.

Suppose all this were possible even with your own personal device. Your business communications would operate as an extension of your corporate phone system while your personal communications remained totally private.

That’s exactly what Tango Networks’ solutions do. Our Kinetic Communications Platform enables a company to control mobile communications in an entirely new way.

Shared Control

The breakthrough is an innovation in how communications signaling and routing are managed. Our Kinetic platform creates a communications control system that is shared between your company and your mobile service provider, enabling the enterprise to be the service provider for their employees.

This means your IT staff sets policies, determines call routing rules, turns on features, and executes similar control steps. These enterprise-managed policies and configuration settings interface directly with the service provider where they are enforced on the mobile communications in the service provider’s network.

This provides great advantages for both companies and their service providers. For service providers, it means that companies are taking on much of their own support and management tasks. For the companies, it means the IT staff is more directly in control of this critical form of corporate communications. Our system is supported by many Tier 1 mobile service providers around the world and is serving hundreds of thousands of users with enhanced mobile communications today.  On networks where our solutions are not yet supported, we also offer many of the same control capabilities for employees that use Android, BlackBerry and IOS (Apple) devices.

For the first time, mobile communications can be managed by your company precisely the way traditional fixed voice and data communications. In the end, this means easier regulatory compliance, lower mobile communications costs, and a better user experience that maximizes the productivity of your employees on the go.

About the Author

A company co-founder, Andrew Silver now serves as Tango Networks’ Chief Technology Officer. Silver is an entrepreneur and business technologist who has held senior management and director roles in large and small wireless companies including Ericsson, Nortel Networks, Comverse and Spatial Wireless. He is an accomplished speaker at wireless industry forums and has been granted more than 50 patents in wireless communications systems. Silver holds an electrical engineering degree and an MBA from McGill University.