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

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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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.

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“I want to be the platform”,  “No, I want to be the platform”… “Who is going to be the Communications Platform of the future?” May 11, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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In a week, when Vonage USA spends $230m on Nexmo, a Communication Platform business that most of you will not have heard of, and when a traditional communication hardware provider like Genband spends a large proportion of its annual conference talking about its own “Kandy” Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform, many Service Providers will be wondering what is all the fuss about.

Well, it’s simple: Service Providers, Vendors, System Integrators and Developers are all trying to work out what their role is going to be in this new world of communications and they may as well have to fight for their very future and relevance.

Where the battle is going to be won and lost is by making communications relevant and in context of customers and consumers’ current and future working patterns, and help revolutionize business process or disrupt markets with new models of working. This is going to require many to have the capability and ability to move quickly and agilely whilst maintaining low costs in serving these requirements.

Gone are the days when it was about UC and Providers being proud that they have packed a whole load of irrelevant features into their UC client or equipment, often provided by slow moving vendors.

The future is about providing a platform that people can integrate and develop on, to jointly solve both specific and generic customer problems. This development may be done by the Platform provider or by enabling developers externally to access the platform and develop their own solutions on top.

Not surprisingly traditional ecosystems are also being reinvented with people realizing the majority of the value will be in providing the platform. Traditional Vendors are pitching themselves against their Service Provider customers, and System Integrators are realizing that they might own the key to accessing the development resources. Within this melee, new providers such as Twillio and Nexmo have filled this void, offering developers with a global platform on which they can develop.

At the recent Genband Conference we started to hear the Service Provider angle with CenturyLink describing how they are looking to build such a platform, which will bring them the benefit of quick and agile product development for their own customers. They will be able to go to a 2 or 3 developers with a brief of their requirements and potentially get custom differentiated apps developed cheaper and quicker than previous models.

It’s not all over for the Service providers as a couple of key questions are still to be answered in many cases:

  • Who has the ability to: sell, assure, bill and deliver these applications?
  • Who either has their own development resources or controls access to these resources?
  • Who can provide a truly global or regional capability for customer?
  • Who can translate customer business requirements into real life solutions?
  • Who has the ability to potentially integrate to multiple platforms for a customer?

In up coming posts and research we are exploring these questions further, and we are already running strategy sessions with Service Providers to answer these questions.

For more details please contact: Matthew.Townend@cavellgroup.com or Dominic.Black@cavellgroup.com.

Genband looking at new approaches – Outcome as a Service & Kandy June 12, 2014

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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Genband Perspectives 14 has seen a range of speakers discuss the role of Genband in the future as it looks to move away from what it calls a level 2 supplier to a level 3 or level 4 supplier. Ultimately rather than just selling products and services to its customer it starts to offer “Outcome as a Service” where it can jointly take the risk with the customer and share in their success.

The other theme has been how “Kandy” capability will allow customers to quickly build new services, and build on existing Genband Product capability alongside the new capabilities that have recently been made available with acquisitions such as FRING, UREACH and WebRTC can bring.

“Outcome as a service” is certainly an interesting principal, as many Service Providers have found the requirement to commit to large capex risks and being landed with inflexible licensing regimes stifles the development of their business.

Currently the Outcome as a Service principal seems to be supported by increase flexibility around the way you can use licenses, the ability to buy services from the cloud on a consumer basis (Genband Nuvea) and the ability to offset capital costs against future energy saving.

The focus on potential savings for service providers in reducing power consumption and cost were really interesting. David Walsh CEO of Genband highlighted that the thousands of central offices that power the PSTN in the US use more than 12 billion kilowatt hours of power every year, which compares to the power consumption of more than one million homes annually and the CO2 emissions of more than two million cars. He highlighted that moving to a modern infrastructure can offer energy savings in the region of 88%, space savigns of 85% and CO2 of 40+%.

We also heard from Murat Armbuster from COEffiect company that they will provide Service Provider with finance against these savings that will mean providers can fund the change to an IP Network without having to spend any capex 

With a lot of fan fair Paul Pluschkell (Genband new Silicon Valley veteran) pre announced (Kandy), although its not going to be launch to September we had a number of demonstrations and use case discussed. To cut through the hype what Kandy appears to be is a middleware that sits on top of all the core capabilities of existing Genband products and also links with WebRTC and newer services such as FRING. What it does is provides developers or Service Providers with tools that enable them to build services quickly and simply using simple APIs and tools.

As an example the FRING team demonstrated how you could build a simple concierge service onto a website in a couple of minutes, providing WebRTC based Video and Call Centre and Hunt Groups in a couple of minutes. I think Kandy demonstrates a change at Genband as they are clearly focusing more and more on enabling applications and developers on top of their platform rather than focusing on just selling core services. The question in my mind is whether Kandy will be a tool the service provider will use or will it be more for enabling developers to go over the top of carriers we will have to wait and see.