"Unified Communications is a mix of a number of forms of communication. It is a customer-tailored service where speech, data, text, video and conferencing solutions are linked up both from a functional and a technical point of view. The new element in this connection is that it is integrated, and that gives users much more flexibility to perform their duties irrespective of time and location," explains Abraham Foss, Head of Business Markets at Telenor and responsible for the company's efforts in the field of Unified Communications in the Norwegian market.
Enormous market potential
With this launch, Telenor aims to establish itself as a major player within Unified Communications. This will be an important factor in customer retention in the annual total turnover for speech in the business market, which amounts to around NOK 6.9 billion (source: Gartner).
"Unified Communications will form part of the core business at Telenor. The solutions are communications-based and in line with our other business activities. Telenor aims to achieve the same market position in this new sphere of communications as we occupy in the old one. Even though Norway is an innovative market, it will take between four and eight years before most Norwegian companies have the same natural relationship with Unified Communications that they currently have with email," Foss says.
You have to walk before you can run, and you need experience to draw on before you can sell!
Telenor has been gathering useful experience on the organisational effects of Unified Communications during a project that has been running for the last three years. This knowledge has been tightly bound into the commercial product to be sold. Just like when Telenor moved to ultra-modern open-plan office premises in Fornebu 10 years ago, the introduction of Unified Communications for the company's 30,000 staff has been an equally important and strategic change for the organisation.
"The tangible effects of working with Unified Communications are that the organisation collaborates better. People learn more as the development of skills and the gathering of best practice information are easier to get hold of. Information sharing increases and that means that the efficiency of working processes increases, too. Less travelling means less time pressure for employees, while also having benefits in terms of climate change and cost savings. Unified Communications will provide Norway's businesses with many of the effects that Telenor itself has seen. What is more, a broader spectrum of forms of communication can be useful in recruitment processes targeting a younger audience," Foss continues.
The Unified Communications (UC) solution from Telenor
Unified Communications (UC) from Telenor enables a company's employees to:
- have a single phone number for their PC client, landline and mobile phone. The same number is displayed, irrespective of whether the user calls from the PC client, the landline or the mobile.
- choose whether they want to answer incoming calls on their PC or mobile phone - both devices can be set up to ring simultaneously.
- with Unified Mobile Status, staff members can see from their own PC client whether colleagues are free or busy on their mobiles. This service obtains information from the Telenor mobile network about whether the colleague in question is busy or free, and this status information is then sent to the employee's PC (Unified Communications client). Mobile Status is delivered together with Blueposition.
- be offered, provisionally, Unified Mobile Status from the mobile network integrated with Microsoft Office Communications Server and Microsoft Office Communicator.
Pilot includes a number of customers
One of the customers piloting Unified Communications from Telenor is Sør-Trøndelag County Municipality.
"Schools have just begun to see the enormous potential of Unified Communications. The County Municipality has an ambition for every secondary school pupil to be able to take advantage of Unified Communications. This will make it possible to improve the interaction between pupils and teachers and to maintain the range of subjects offered to pupils in smaller schools," comments Ragnar Kvithyll, Project Leader in the ICT Service at Sør-Trøndelag County Municipality.
Alongside Sør-Trøndelag County Municipality, the following businesses are also piloting this Telenor solution: Sykehuspartner (Helse Sør-Ãst), DnBNOR, Istad, APL, Atea, EDB, ErgoGroup and Umoe.
Knut Aasrud, General Manager of the Telecoms and Media Sector at Microsoft for the European, Middle-Eastern and African markets, observes that Telenor is an innovator.
"Internally, Telenor has Europe's largest installed UC solution and it will be the first telecoms player in Europe to be certified by Microsoft," Aasrud reveals.
Unified Communications from Telenor will be delivered in three phases running up to 2011. Phase one covers a selected number of large companies. Telenor aims to be able to offer a customer-specific UC solution in the first quarter of 2010. A standardised UC solution will also be on the market for small and medium-sized companies in 2011.For further information, please contact:
Elisabeth Evjen, Information Manager at Telenor, by email or mobile (+47) 412 70 000.Elisabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org
Abraham Foss, CMO Telenor Norway.
Photo: Ole Walter Jacobsen.Download hi-resDownload hi-res Illustrative photo of Unified Communication from Telenor