Motorola's TEAM: Push-to-Talk Everywhere

Motorola this week announced the first elements of their Total Enterprise Access and Mobility (TEAM) integrated voice and data portfolio, those being management and applications servers for their (and, really, anyone else's) wireless-LAN system, some very nice Windows Mobile 6.1-based Wi-Fi handsets, and associated software. Voice is well on its way to becoming a standard feature on essentially all enterprise-class wireless LAN systems going forward; it's already a key driver of the network planning process in many enterprises around the globe. Amortizing the cost of a WLAN installation across as many applications as possible makes it easier to justify taking the plunge for any individual app, and voice just fits so well here - it's an essential service, and we already know that mobile is the preferred voice vehicle for almost everyone today. A number of WLAN system vendors (Aruba, Cisco, Siemens, and more) already have voice functionality in their WLAN product lines today.

What I found most interesting in the Motorola announcement, however, was their emphasis on push-to-talk (aka PTT or P2T). Now, Motorola is already the king of PTT; there are millions of Motorola two-way radios in use globally today, and they are the company behind iDEN, the PTT technology at the core of Sprint's still-popular Nextel service, recently given a new lease on life. The new handsets include PTT, and there's gateway functionality to link in two-way radios out in the field. OK, this announcement has a distinctly vertical-market feel to it, but consider the possibilities here.

PTT is going to become, I believe, a standard feature on essentially all handsets of all forms over time. It's convenient, it works well on IP-based networks (the PTT functionality that Sprint and Verizon ship is based on Qualcomm's QCHAT IP PTT), and it's a natural extension to social networking and enterprise Web 2.0 capabilities. Motorola's current line of handsets are VoFi (they use the albeit term VoWLAN; too many syllables for me) only, but it's clear that converged cellular/Wi-Fi handsets are going to dominate eventually, and these will certainly fit into Motorola's TEAM architecture. As I've written before, Motorola is the one company with fingers in every wireless pie, and, if the marketing folks can get those pies into the shop and make the case that they all taste pretty good together, then Motorola's future is very bright indeed.

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