VoWi-Fi enterprise success rests on partnerships

Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) is gaining some momentum in the consumer space, but its ability to gain acceptance in the business world is being held back by a number of factors, ABI Research has warned.

In its current, almost embryonic stage, the technology is still surrounded by a great deal of complexity, meaning partnerships between a number of industry players at both the handset and network levels are of paramount importance, according to ABI's report entitled 'The Voice Over Wi-Fi Ecosystem.'

"Enterprise VoWi-Fi is a complicated market because there are so many disparate pieces of technology that have to work together," said Stan Schatt, research vice president and research director at ABI. "That requires a lot of partnering, and some vendors are better at partnering than others. Cisco Systems, Trapeze Networks, Xirrus Networks, DiVitas Networks and the SpectraLink division of Polycom have all found partnering models appropriate to their niches and needs."

Industry-wide standards, or lack of them, are also hindering progress, according to ABI, with the Wi-Fi Alliance not scheduled to start enterprise VoWi-Fi equipment interoperability testing until spring next year.

"With key standards still not in place vendors have jumped in with proprietary solutions. So for now you're still forced to go with a one-vendor solution. The start of certification testing on enterprise-grade Wi-Fi handsets will go a long way towards opening this market up," said Schatt.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.