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How a Savvy Service Provider can Survive and Grow – Part I August 11, 2017

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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Many businesses in the UK, small, medium and large are suffering. Pressures created by fears of what BREXIT may bring, austerity reducing the flow of money and challenging economic conditions, mean they are searching for efficiencies and cost saving opportunities to maintain and grow. These are requirements that the savvy Service Provider can meet to grow their own business. Services have become increasingly competitive and the number of Service Providers in the UK now exceeds 95, so business customers have choice, and this creates the need for Service Providers to increase the attractiveness of their offerings creating stickiness to maintain their current clients and to introduce new value-added services to increase their client base.

Value Added Services that Improve Customer Service

Good customer service is key to business success in every sector and the market research firm Cavell are reporting an increasing demand for call centre features for business telephone users beyond the contact centre. They surmise that this is a direct result of the drive to improve customer services.  The business goal is to collect data from communications that will provide information to help the business to make customer communications better and enable multiple communication channels to be utilised beyond voice, including social media and instant messaging. Call Recording and Analytics are the two key basic call centre offering in demand and large platform providers are increasingly developing these capabilities, or collaborating to be able to offer these services to SME and large enterprise businesses.

Call recording has been available for a while and is a mature product. The key applications have been MIFID II for financial Service tracking and PCI compliant call recording for where credit card details are collected over the phone. The recent change, is that there is an increasing use of Call Recording to provide the business with the data to target areas for improvement through staff training and to secure details of customer interactions for future reference and to improve customer service.

Analytics is the second growing offering. Businesses are increasingly using Analytics on every customer inbound channel to gather information to help them to sell better and to understand what media their customers are using to communicate with them. This data helps them to understand how their customer is interacting. Demand for these analytic products is very high. Service Providers such 8×8 have invested in building their own analytics solutions and others are collaborating with providers like Akixi, Dubber and Tollring to be able to offer analytics solutions. The data provided helps the business to understand how to manage calls effectively and to identify future possibilities for new products.

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts where we will be covering what else we have seen makes Service Providers successful in this ever-changing and highly-competitive market.

Also, if you wish to contribute to our market research (due to be released on August 31st), please follow the links below. All participants will receive one ticket at our upcoming European VoIP Summit and have the opportunity to join our webinar on September 7th where we will be communicating our top-level results and some of the main trends we have seen in the UK Hosted VoIP and SIP Trunking market in the last six months.

Hosted VoIP Survey

SIP Trunking Survey

4 Conferences in a week – 8×8, Voiceflex & Polycom making the news October 9, 2015

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
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A busy week saw Cavell’s team at 4 conferences in 1 week, with;  IP Expo,  Convergence summit. Cloud Communications Alliance and Polycom press conference. There were some really interesting elements of this busy week and we picked out a few below:

8×8 announce Regus as a customer:

Regus as many people will know are a huge provider of managed office capability around the world, and are the clear global leader in this space. The Managed office market has been a huge adopter of hosted technology and we think this will have a big impact to 8×8 business globally. We have seen other players be extremely successful selling to this segment including; Essensys, Penzias and Voxclever (now part of PCCW)

Andre Sharpe, Chief Information and Innovation Officer at Regus, said, “By partnering with 8×8, we can now offer our customers an innovative and cost effective communication and collaboration service. As a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader, 8×8 was a natural choice to give our customers the level of quality and service they expect from Regus. We have identified the first 140 sites, and thereafter we plan to roll-out 8×8 service across our global footprint.”

With 140 sites already identified, and Regus boasting over 2000, the impact on 8×8 business could be significant.

Voiceflex announced partnership with Genband 

At the convergence summit we found out that Voiceflex had chosen to partner with Genband Nuvea to serve the hosted voice market. As many readers will know Genband launched their Nuvea service at end of last year, and this announcement follows the previous signing of Timico. Voiceflex were one of the pioneers in the SIP Trunking market in the UK and this may represent a good opportunity to cross sell to some of those existing customers as well as pursue new ones. In the very competitive market to sign new channels this is significant UK win for Genband.

Polycom updates the iconic Spider 

Polycom’s 25 anniversary saw them launch four new products, the most interesting being the RealPresence Trio. This is Polycom’s newest conference phone which comes with a touch screen and video system which they hope will enable further collaboration by allowing mobile devices and laptops/tablets to pair with the device to share content. This product is an update to the famous Polycom spider you see in most conference rooms around the globe.

Following Polycom’s partnership with Microsoft, all there new systems integrate with Skype for Business and other UC platforms such as Broadsoft to allow for quick meeting set up. Polycom also announced other new hardware such as the Centro, which is a multiple screen device which will sit in the middle of a room to allow for 360-degree voice and video and other conferencing hardware (RealPresence Debut and Medialign).

Cloud Communications Alliance 

We were pleased to present at one of the first CCA meetings in Europe, where we saw a group of service providers from Europe come together to discuss how the industry is developing. We met a lot of new companies from both the Netherlands, Germany and France and look forward to working together in the future. We had a great presentation from Matthew McDermott Access Partnership explaining the European Regulation regime and an interesting and engaging manner. We are hoping to get Matthew to present at “The European VoIP Summit” which tickets are now selling extremely well at http://www.cavellgroup.com/events/european-voip-summit.html

Next couple of weeks – Broadsoft, Solar and much more 

The schedule does not slow down for Cavell and the industry, with us looking forward to attending Broadsoft Connections and Solar communications events in the next couple of weeks. We will also be leading webinars with Broadsoft and Ringcentral, so plenty more happening in this quick changing industry.

THE FIRST “EUROPEAN VOIP SUMMIT” IS A GREAT HIT WITH THE INDUSTRY March 2, 2015

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
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On Wednesday 25th of February The Cavell Group hosted the first European VoIP summit, where we  brought together 110 people from 7 countries and over 40 service providers to London to discuss the opportunities and issues the industry was facing. We had speakers from all the key VoIP providers in Europe including; NFON, Blueface, Gradwell, 8×8, RingCentral, Vonage, BT, Gamma, Talk Talk, Tipicall and many others, also we heard keynotes from Broadsoft and Genband. T

The presenters and panellists were able to share their experiences from different countries, from the discussions it was clear that there was strong optimism among service providers about the growth of the market, which was also backed up by our latest market figures which we announced to the audience and will be updated on the blog shortly. Matt Townend Cavells Director of research and consulting started the event, by presenting both Cavells latest market data and also demonstrated the projects that we had been undertaking both in our research, consulting and professional services businesses to assist service provides around the world

Peter Gradwell (Gradwell) Marcus OTTO (NFON) and Alan Foy (Blueface) kicked off the panel discussion with a fascinating insight into the market and its challenges from 3 of the leading pioneers. We then had a presentation from Todd Wilkens VP of Broadcloud at Broadsoft who discussed some of the key challenges they had overcome in launching their platform in Germany and the UK and he mentioned France was probably the next location in Europe.We then had a great panel of providers who had recently entered the UK market from both Germany and the US, including; Ringcentral, Vonage, Nconnect and Broadsoft. In this debate we discussed how do you get the correct team to do the new country startup, and what was the best channels to market initially and how do you deal with localisation and Regulation.

Just before lunch we  had some lively discussion particularly around the SIP market, where speculation about when the UK ISDN network might be end of life, caused some lively discussion about whether government and the regulator should play more of a role in this discussion rather than it being a decision at the mercy of BT Openreach. 

The afternoon was started with a fascinating presentation on the role of WebRTC with Genband giving a Keynote on their thoughts and then a panel with great inputs from IPCortex and VOxhub. It is clear that use cases are coming thick and fast but Webrtc is unlikely to replace the existing market, but rather augment it. One of the most amusing panels was the discussion about whether service providers should Build, Hire or Buy a new platform, we had Colin Duffy from VoIPfone who have been extremely successful building their own platform, explaining how he liked to own everything and have  control over the customer service he provided and did not understand the principal of buying licenses or seats!. This was contered by both Genband/Boadsoft and SIPHON who are focussed on the commercial delivery of platforms.  After a fascinating debate including a long discussion about the role now of OPEX based models, Colin pointed out that although he was passionate about building his own platform, it would be quite hard to replicate that model again now.  

The final session of the day was about what UC services you could charge a premium for!, with 8×8, Kcom, Inclarity and 6DG. I found it particularly interesting that the hole concept of UC, was probably now to blunt an instrument to describe the market. In fact where customers perceived value and therefore where potentially you could charge a premium differed greatly both by size of company and between companies of similar size. The bigger issue was helping your channels or direct sales force become more of a solutions sales force to understand where value lay for individual customers. The day was ended with a networking drinks session sponsored by Siphon Networks, where the lively debate and networking was continued with the assistance of a few drinks. 

We have had some great feedback already with all our attendees giving the event a 4 or 5 out of 5 in the exist interviews with comments including – “Terrific to get so many industry peers in the same room to share experiences”,”Really enjoyable day and some excellent content delivered by credible industry experts”

The date for next year is already set for 24th of February, in London and we will be expanding the venue so we can accommodate more attendees and potential sponsors/exhibitors. A big thank you again to all who attended or spoke and a particular thank you to our Gold sponsors; Broadsoft, Genband & Yealink for their great support. 

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8×8 acquires Voicenet Solutions for $18.4m November 11, 2013

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
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Today 8×8 announced they had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Voicenet Solutions in the UK. Voicenet have been one of the most successful UK VoIP business with over a 100 UK businesses using their services and over 35,000 users.

This latest announcement follows the recent news from RingCentral one of the other major players in the US , that they are entering the UK market. Voicenet had been rumoured to be considering purchasing a new Softswitch so this acquisition will give their users access to 8×8 award winning platform and will broaden the services they can offer them. Kevin Scott-Cowell the CEO of Voicenet highlighted the opportunity to offer a broader set of services as well as addressing the increasing multinational requirements as key reasons for the acquisition.

For those readers who don’t know know 8×8 they are regarded as a leading light both amongst the investor and analyst community in the US. In there last financial results they had revenues of over $30 million and a Market Capital of over $700 million. a valuation lots of companies look to reflect.

illlume has had a long standing relationship iwth the team at Voicenet & wish Kevin and his team every success as this looks like a great deal for both sides.