ORLANDO, Fla. -- Unified-communications-as-a-service provider Fuze has partnered with mobile device manufacturer Samsung Electronics America Inc. to provide mobile UCaaS for remote and distributed workers.
The partnership, announced this week at Enterprise Connect, primarily targets frontline workers, who are customer-facing employees in industries like retail, healthcare and manufacturing. These types of employees are not often represented in UC services, which typically focus on knowledge workers and office employees, according to Eric Hanson, vice president of product marketing at Fuze.
He said the partnership with Samsung stemmed from the mutual belief that the future of work is increasingly mobile and remote.
Samsung was exploring new verticals, such as manufacturing and field services, as the company expands its mobile capabilities in the enterprise space. The mobile device maker sought to provide technology that was easy for frontline workers to deploy to help them be more productive, according to Pierre-Yves Couteau, senior director of strategic alliances at Samsung.
"The future of work is collaborative, people already are using apps when they need to solve a problem," said Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social, communities and collaboration at IDC. "They're bringing them into work and solving problems on how to collaborate, how to work better, faster, cheaper."
As more employees turn to collaboration apps and share content for their work, technology will accelerate to serve those needs, he said.
Customer needs drive mobile UCaaS partnership
The partnership between Fuze, based in Boston, and Samsung, based in Ridgefield Park, N.J., was driven, in part, by a mutual customer -- Waste Management Inc. The Houston-based waste management environmental services company used Fuze's mobile platform and Samsung Galaxy tablets to move from the traditional push-to-talk mobile communications to mobile UCaaS for its 15,000 truck drivers.
The combination of Samsung devices and Fuze software helped Waste Management improve driver safety, by locking tablets while a truck is moving, enhance call routing for dispatch centers and improve driver communication during emergencies, said Casey Abell, corporate engineer for Waste Management.
Abell said the deployment also improved communication and efficiency for its dispatch users. Managers can access real-time and historical data for missed calls, hold times, peak call times and call records. Dispatchers also gained the ability to transfer calls and take calls from drivers on the same device they use to call customers to resolve issues quicker.
Waste Management is also working to roll out video and meeting capabilities to drivers and maintenance technicians so they can identify and troubleshoot truck issues before sending a technician out, Abell said. Through a video meeting, drivers can also determine if a technician cannot repair an issue and call a tow truck instead.
Michael Affronti, senior vice president of product and design at Fuze, said the vendor's technical team was working with Waste Management to help it deploy the Fuze app across Samsung devices. The team then realized it could take advantage of Samsung's deployment framework to improve the mobile experience.
Powering mobile UCaaS with next-gen networks
Samsung recently announced new mobile devices, including the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Fold smartphones, which support next-generation networking, such as 5G and Wi-Fi 6, to provide better bandwidth and communications capabilities, Couteau said.
The proliferation of 5G should allow Fuze to expand its mobile capabilities. With 5G, Fuze could develop new deployment models that don't require customers to make significant network upgrades.
"One of the things we want to deliver is as close to HD voice and video on as many different network scenarios as possible," Affronti said. "5G allows us to support that."
Fuze and Samsung also plan to expand their partnership into huddle rooms in the second quarter of 2019. The Samsung Galaxy S10, for example, includes a wide-angle lens so users can launch a video meeting, place the phone on the table and capture all participants in the room. The Galaxy Fold can start as a call on a smartphone and unfold into a larger screen to display additional applications and information on the call, Couteau said.