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The concept of selling UC is dying! Service Providers offer industry/sector specific propositions to meet customer demand September 13, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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For well over a decade, the industry has been talking about Unified Communications, with vendors trying to push the idea that end users want to unify all their communications through one interface (normally vendor specific), and that they need to utilise a number of new communications mediums through this interface (including: Video, Presence, Collaboration, etc.).

When we look at the players who have been successful in selling hosted communications both in the UK and Europe, we see that very few are selling a concept of UC at all. What they have done well is they have segmented their customer base and they have produced bundled solutions that understand the “Context” within which the customer is operating and have offered solutions accordingly. Yes, there are some customers who want an all-singing, all-dancing UC experience, like you see in most vendors videos, but this appears to be a minority.

Our recent research on the Hosted Comms market shows that most service providers have developed their segmentation further, and they are now offering solutions that are designed to suit their customers’ needs in relation to the Vertical industry segment they operate in.

Figures have shown that 41% of the service providers tracked by Cavell, offer a selection of vertical solutions, 66% of which offer a public sector proposition, some providers selling solutions specifically tailored for one of the following public sector segments: local government, central government, education, healthcare, housing, public administration, justice, and emergency services.

The main commercial segments have been Financial (41%), Retail (38%) and Hospitality (23%). Other prevalent business categories vertically targeted by service providers are construction, media, travel & transport, and organisations operating in the legal sector. Cavell has also witnessed signs of verticalisation in technology, automotive, recruitment, logistics, manufacturing, third sector and professional services.

Matthew Townend, Director of Research & Consulting at Cavell stated: “The increased verticalisation shows an increasing requirement for Service Providers to offer solutions that recognise the context that their customers work and communicate in, rather than attempting to offer a broad based UC solution that attempts to dictate how they should communicate”.


Cavell Group have launched their latest UK Hosted VoIP and SIP Trunking market reports on the 2nd of September. For more information, please read our previous blog post.

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Genband Perspectives 2016: Contextual Communications, Disruptors, the Future of Service Providers, CPaaS and Kandy May 13, 2016

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David Walsh saw the rise of Contextual Communications being one of the drivers of increased communication. His belief that by enabling people to communicate with whatever device and through any application that they want will increase the level of communications between parties which will in turn facilitate collaboration and increased productivity.

XO, the largest SIP Trunking provider in the USA, gave a good example of this with their Contact Center solution which use the Kandy platform with WebRTC integrations to allow customers to contact them using any medium that they want, be it voice, email, IM or video. By giving customers the choice of communication, they are able to improve the customer experience and address the customers’ needs – a key priority for contact centres.

Disruptors are driving innovation as companies look for ways to stay relevant in their industry

Katrina Troughton says that IBM are seeing that business leaders are facing more challenges then ever before. With the lifespan of Fortune 500 companies dropping under 15 years due to disruption, CEOs are looking at ways that they can keep their employees engaged and stay relevant in today’s market. There is a big push for companies to innovate to survive but many find it difficult to do so as they don’t have the skills.

This is relevant to VoIP providers as an increasing homogenisation of products, where differentiation is around pricing and features, is becoming ubiquitous across the board. As the Service Providers have a great understanding of their customers, as they work with them on a daily basis and understand their challenges, they are in an unique position to be able to give them the tools to communicate and enable greater collaboration.

What will a Service Provider look like in the future?

The issue for Service Providers is that they have generally been poor at creating their own applications as they do not have the development skills to create solutions for their customers, as their focus is around providing a voice service, not enabling collaboration. Roy Timor-Russo of Genband thinks that Genband will be able to fill that role of adding value with their apps and knowledge of what has worked for other Service Providers in other markets and alongside the Service Providers core voice competency.

Genband see their position in the market is providing the platform for application developers to integrate their features into. As one of the first movers into the CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service), the Kandy platform was built to allow developers to build applications for Service Providers, Enterprises and Vendors to quicken the time to market. David Walsh highlighted in the press conference at the end of the first day the need for all members of the telecoms ecosystem to be able to ‘Fail Quick’ with new features and that long development times do not always translate into successful stories. 90% of applications built will not be a success but there needs to be an acceptance and understanding that failure will yield results.

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It is still unclear what role Service Providers will play in the future, whether they will simply be running dumb ‘pipes’ or their customer will be facing background, meaning that they are well positioned to understand their customers needs and build the solutions to fit certain business verticals. What will be interesting is whether there will be a demand for a basic VoIP/UC solution in the future and how Service Providers will be able to cope with an increasingly development driven approach.

Is Kandy going to be future?

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We have seen a number of CPaaS providers appear over the last few years and it is still not clear who will emerge as a success. What is interesting and will be a challenge for Genband going down the route of Kandy and CPaaS is how they will maintain revenues in the future as customers adopt a ‘Click to Consume’ model, choosing only the applications that are relevant to themselves. From a company that is used to selling large CAPEX solutions, making a move to tight margins on applications over a base price of $2/user/month may prove difficult in the short term. Genband have created a good story with the Kandy platform and it will be interesting to see how the CPaaS ecosystem progresses in the future.

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

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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.