A startup called Varaha Systems has launched software to help small and medium companies link their smartphone users to company systems.
The uMobility software is a set of client applications, including a secure VPN connection, and server applications that run behind the enterprise firewall. Depending on which components are selected, a smartphone user can access corporate PBX features, email, voicemail and other services via cellular or Wi-Fi links. The software creates a common user interface to work with these services as well as the phone's call logs, contacts, calendar and other applications.
A key element in uMobility is a set of "Service Quality Aware" algorithms, which constantly checks variables such as radio strength and quality, and manages the voice hand-off between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The software maintains the voice call, and quality, without losses, delays or interruptions according to Varaha.
The company was founded in 2003, with R&D based in India. The name is taken from a Himalayan mountain, "one of the harder ones to climb," said CTO and co-founder Prasad Govindarajan. "It's a metaphor for what we're trying to achieve in cellular/Wi-Fi convergence."
They're not alone. Start-ups such as DiVitas and established vendors like Siemens are tackling convergence. Recently, Avaya and Nokia said they were teaming to link cell phones with corporate VOIP systems. And last year, Cisco bought Orative, a start-up whose client-server software lets cell phone users make calls and handle messages as if plugged into a wired IP phone, or as if working via a PC application interface.
Varaha's approach is similar in some respects: it's an enterprise product, so nothing is needed on or from a mobile carrier's network. But the company is emphasising its secure VPN capability, the ability to work with a wide range of enterprise applications that traditionally run on desktop PCs and desktop phones, and support for cellular-only phones as well as the more complex phones that can have both cellular and Wi-Fi radios.
The four applications in the product set are:
- Mobility VPN, a VPN client that creates an encrypted link to about 20 popular third-party VPN concentrators.
- uMobilityDeskPhone, a smartphone client with a GUI for accessing both smartphone applications and corporate PBX features.
- uMobility GlobalTalk, a client-server application for cellular-only or cellular/Wi-Fi phones, including the service quality algorithms for cellular/Wi-Fi handsoffs, and an interface to the corporate PBX.
- uMobility Multimedia, which lets mobile phones access IP data, voice and video applications over wireless LAN or cellular networks.
"Enterprises need publish only one business number," Govindarajan says. "Anyone who calls that number can reach you anywhere. You can have push voicemail, email, and so on. You're 'at your desk' wherever you happen to be."