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Will Closed Telecoms environments survive the growth of application led communications? November 27, 2015

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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Cavell attended the TADSummit in Lisbon this week which is one of the largest events in Europe for Telecoms Application Developers to come together and show off their new products, applications and integrations.

A large number of exhibitors and speakers were showing the next generation of applications for IOT devices and how they would be enabled in the future. The rise of M2M (Machine-to-Machine) and P2M (Person-to-Machine) communication is having a huge effect on how networks and communications is evolving and there is a lot of innovation in this space to make sure that platforms are open and have a flexible API layer to allow for applications to integrate to allow for M2M communication.

Many attendees at the summit were dismissive of the future of Voice services, especially in their current form as they are delivered from closed platforms. As Adam Kalsey from Tropo (Tropo is an application layer allowing developers to develop and integrate into Cisco services such as Jabber) made the point that the phone call hasn’t changed in 120 years since the first phone calls. Although this could be disputed with the rise in video calling, especially on the consumer side from services such as Skype, Fuze, Fring etc., in general he makes a valid point.

In the old days you would go to a traditional Telco provider for all you business communciation needs, as they would offer a full set of voice, messaging and sometimes email services. Now with the rise of focussed communcation application providers such as Whatsapp for messaging, Slack for collaboration and other application providers delivering a single service, Telco’s are no longer providing all a customer’s communications solutions.

The rise of communication providers who are not traditional Telcos and are running their services via applications has seen huge growth particularly in messaging. WhatsApp and other messaging services are used by a large portion of the population but are not typically integrated into Service Providers platforms. Many providers, if creating their own IM service cannot federate with other IM services delivered by other providers. This means that users looking to communicate outside their company cannot usually use messaging services and have to resort to traditional voice communications, or use a different service. IT and communications development is being driven more and more by consumers, not by Telco’s or by the decision makers in companies.

Service Providers need to make sure that they can give the tools to customers to communicate how they want, which may involve opening their platform and building API’s to integrate 3rd party applications into their service. Telco’s will be unable to deliver all forms of communication services to their users and need to understand what they are best at and focus on those services.

Contextual Communications was discussed at length at TADSummit as developers see applications being able to enable users to access and view all relevant information when interacting with another user. This form of communication will only be possible if platform allow themselves to interact with one another and not operate as separate islands of communications where voice traffic is the only way to bridge communications.

One example of this was Fone.do, an American and Israeli communications firm who have built a VoIP service built on a WebRTC platform. They are able to deliver a suite of Hosted VoIP features through a browser or smartphone application and then use their sister company to deliver breakout to the PSTN. They have enabled integrations with applications such as Linkedin and Google apps to bring up information on the person you are calling, for example if you were calling a customer based in Manchester, your desktop may show local news from the city as well as any contact information and data from your apps that you have integrated like Linkedin profile.

Application led communications will open up the traditional closed telecoms environments, enabling more way to communicate and more contextual conversations, over whatever device and service the user wants to use. Service Providers need to be aware of the potential threat from application developers as many have not come from a traditional telecoms background and are not bogged down by the same issues that established providers have, and can be quick to adapt their business models and force change. This is a space Cavell will be looking at with more interest in the next few years to see how applications start to influence service provider’s strategies.

American telecommunications provider West Corporation completes purchase of Magnetic North for $39m November 3, 2015

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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West Corporations announced their Q3 2015 results today with details surrounding two purchase emerging in the results. West said Monday it has completed the acquisition of ClientTell Inc., a provider of automated notifications and lab reporting services to the health care industry, for $38 million.

More interestingly for the UK market, West also said it bought Magnetic North for about $39 million in cash. West say that they will use the technology that Magnetic North has developed across the company to provide clients with the capability to deliver seamless and contextual multi-channel consumer experiences. This is yet another example of a Service Provider entering the market from the USA, followingRingCentral, 8×8 and ThinkingPhones in previous years and it will be interesting to see their strategy in the next few months.

Tom Barker, CEO West Corp, commented on the acquisitions: “Both ClientTell and Magnetic North boast double digit revenue growth and Adjusted EBITDA margins exceeding our Company average. Additionally, these highly strategic acquisitions enhance our solutions in growing markets and demonstrate our commitment to investing in leading technologies.”

Michael Quinn of Q Advisors was heavily involved in the acquisition and Cavell are looking forward to hearing him speak on Acquisitions and Mergers in the telecoms industry at our European VoIP summit in March 2016.

Broadsoft Connections 2015 Report – New Services, 600 Service Providers & Google November 1, 2015

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Broadsoft Connections 2015  

Broadsoft pulled off a great event last week with over 1300 people from 600 of the major Service Providers in the world congregating in Phoenix, Arizona. For the first time, they only invited seven selected Analysts from around the world and we were very pleased to be one of them and for them to give us an insight into their global developments, which was appreciated by us all.

The following were some of the key announcements and messages, which were highlighted during the event.


Broadsoft’s Scale – Mike Tessler highlighted in his keynote that Broadsoft now had over 12 million Hosted VoIP seats, delivered by over 700 partners in 90 countries. Remarkably, the top Broadsoft players had four times the combined seats of the major OTT providers combined.

Their Partnership with Telco’s – At every opportunity Broadsoft reiterated that they were partnering with Service Providers exclusively and were not going to sell to their customers. This message was well received by the Service Providers and was a clear reflection of the concerns that SPs raised following the launch of BroadCloud.

Project Tempo – Broadsoft launched their new initiative “Project Tempo” which under this initiative Broadsoft plans to announce a series of new services that will help define the Future of Work. The first announcement was “UC One Hub” which looks to integrate real-time communications & collaboration, cloud applications, and contextual intelligence into a unified end-user experience. One of the points the team made was that it is good to integrate these capabilities when users are spending more of their time online.

The Hub will go into Beta in Q1 2016 and will initially look to integrate with the current UC One service and the following applications: Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive in addition to Concur, Redbooth, and Twitter. Future versions will also look to support: Outlook, Salesforce, Zendesk, Dropbox, and LinkedIn.

The hub was demonstrated with UC One and we saw the integration of the above applications into one simple interface, allowing users to see contextual information from the different applications when they were in communication with a specific user. For example, if a user was on a call to a colleague, they would then automatically see the latest mails, project information etc. for projects that we have been working on together to allow for them to effectively work together.

The Hub itself does not store any data but enables API calls to the relevant application, and does everything on the fly each time rendering the results initially into the UC One capability. Cavell believe this is a very interesting launch and although it is in Beta currently, more details will emerge more in the coming months. Questions such as how does it integrate with Premise Based Applications, and also whether users will want to ultimately use UC One as their window onto the world are key questions still to be answered.

Initially, it is clear that the Hub is focused on driving adoption of UC One, but may become more interesting if integrated into other cloud applications which become the point of integration.

New Products

There were a large number of announcements of new products and improvements highlighted below.

New Mobile Applications Launched: UC One Connect and UC One Meet

UC One Connect: Messaging looked a lot simpler and cleaner then its previous interface and addresses a key weakness in their previous service. It also only shows a small set of users when communication and increases battery life.

UC One Meet: Scraps calendar and enables easy access to My Room capabilities

UC One Communicator for Chrome was announced for launch in December integrating with Google apps and the standard UC one bundle

My Room – enhancements announced today: invite guest, includes conference room and effective team chat, also the number of audio participants was raised from 30 to 145 users.

UC One – BroadCloud

Broadsoft announced they would be expanding its global BroadCloud footprint, with focus on France and some other key locations. It will also support SIP as well as Hosted UC service. BroadCloud will also support vertical capabilities initially in the Hospitality vertical.

It was impressive to see so many new launches and improvements to existing services, which in general were very well received by the Service Providers present. Cavell believes that the one area Service Providers might have expected more was Call Centre functionality.

Broadsoft Design & the Very Small Business

One of the very interesting presentations was from DP Venkatesh & Alec Walker from Broadsoft Design (previously MPortal). They demonstrated how in the future, very small businesses are likely to undertake their whole purchase and fulfillment activity online. These users are likely to be looking for a mobile first proposition with a simple set of features including Auto Attendant so they appear larger, but DP demonstrated how Broadsoft Design will help Service Providers build these new portals and enable these services.

Google Key partner! “Microsoft Who ?”:

In all the demos of the new launches they incorporate Google’s services and even the Keynote at the end of the event was by a Google Product Director. The only time Microsoft was really mentioned was when Mike Tessler said:

“Microsoft want to be a global service provider, what do they know about being a Service Provider?“

This did not come as a great surprise, but it was clear to see that Broadsoft and Google may build a tighter relationship in the future.

Overall the event was well organized and received by its audience and Broadsoft managed to demonstrate a renewed focus on partnership with its Service Provider partners. We will obviously have to wait and see how Project Tempo develops as it goes into Beta early next year, and if this enables Broadsoft to move more strongly into UC services and ultimately up the market.