Disrupting the Real-Time Communications Industry
I can’t believe it has already been two years since I took over as CEO of GENBAND.
A lot has happened in the past 24 months and while I always try to look forward and ensure that we as a company are well positioned for the future, in this case I think it is worth a retrospective look back to acknowledge some of the milestones that my team has been instrumental in helping us achieve during this period.
In July 2013, GENBAND was still largely viewed as a telecom infrastructure provider. While we pride ourselves on being a leader in that space, we also wanted to transition our business, future-proof our offerings and position our customers well for the real-time communications explosion.
One of the first major strategic initiatives that we undertook was the acquisition of fring, a pioneer in Over-the-Top applications. With the likes of Viber, WhatsApp and Skype continuing to take market share from our service provider customers, we saw fring as the perfect opportunity to be the “OTT Fighter” and beat the independent OTT players at their own game.
With fring we are providing our customers with the ability to improve their service offerings, maintain and grow their subscriber base and dramatically extend their reach. Since acquiring fring, we have significantly enhanced what was already a great solution and are experiencing some great traction from fast-growing service provider customers such as M2 Group’s Dodo and PLDT.
Relaunch of our Enterprise Division
In early 2014, we relaunched our Enterprise division. The enterprise market represents such a huge opportunity for GENBAND and with our built-in advantage of owning intellectual property from Nortel, we are well positioned to capitalize on these opportunities. Well-known global companies from around the world still rely on vital legacy Nortel voice systems such as the Nortel SL-100/CS 2100/CS1000, for their business communications needs. Since we own valuable Nortel IP that uniquely qualifies us to modernize these legacy enterprise systems without totally replacing the existing infrastructure.
What we do so well compared to our competitors is offering our enterprise customers a graceful migration of their legacy phone systems to next-generation unified communications and collaboration capabilities, without having to rip and replace their existing systems. Not only are we providing our customers with new services on IP-based technology, but equally as important we are allowing them to significantly reduce communications costs.
Kandy Communications Platform Launch
In September of 2014, we officially introduced our Kandy Communications Platform as a Service; something that I believe will be the fastest growing business unit in our company. I don’t believe there is anything on the market comparable to Kandy. Sure, there are other platforms that leverage APIs and SDKs, but none have the backing of GENBAND’s entire portfolio of carrier-grade technology.
In its simplest form, Kandy allows anyone, with or without programming experience, to easily embed real-time communications capabilities directly into their web, business or mobile apps in minutes.
With Kandy, we’re trying to create as many real-time communications endpoints and enable as many real-time communications interactions as possible. When Paul Pluschkell, my longtime friend, former colleague and Kandy co-founder, and I started discussing the possibilities of the platform nearly two years ago, we did not even envision the impact that it is having on the marketplace today.
We are already working with tech giants like SAP, Samsung, IBM, Intel, Deloitte and Tech Mahindra to bring embedded real-time communications capabilities to our customers using the power of Kandy and we see this as only the beginning. We recently announced how our first Kandy service provider customer is leveraging the platform to take its online customer engagement capabilities to a new level. And we are looking forward to sharing more exciting new use cases of Kandy in the near future.
One of the really cool things that Paul and his team have done with Kandy is taking the platform to our customers, prospects and developers via our traveling real-time communications KandyMobile. It comes complete with Kandy demo stations and examples of tons of use cases. The KandyMobile provides a great opportunity to experience the unique power of Kandy firsthand and the reaction from the public has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Our customers continue to grapple with how to deal with OTT players virtually riding on the backs of their networks for free. Juniper Research estimates that communications service providers lost $14 billion to OTT companies in 2014. That’s an astounding figure. But, what if CSPs had the opportunity to come together to create the largest subscriber base in the universe – all while giving their customers access to instant messaging, voice and video services? That’s exactly what the fring Alliance is designed to do.
The fring Alliance, which we announced earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, will enable service providers around the world to expand and extend additional value to their customers via native messaging, voice and video OTT features and experiences, using their mobile number on any device, on any network while also fully interoperating with Rich Communications Services (RCS). By federating its subscribers, the fring Alliance enables its members’ subscribers to reach friends and family on a shared directory.
We have already experienced a great deal of interest and traction from multiple CSPs, including customers and non-customers, in joining the fring Alliance. In fact, we shared a video testimonial of a tier one European service provider with attendees at our recent Perspectives15 customer and partner summit, discussing why they are joining the fring Alliance.
I have asked Roy Timor-Rousso, the former CEO of fring, to spearhead our fring Alliance efforts and he is currently traveling around the globe to meet with customers and prospects, discussing the benefits of the alliance. We will have more news to share on the Charter members of the alliance in the coming months.
2015 CNBC Disruptor 50
Being recognized as a 2015 CNBC Disruptor 50 is a huge honor for our company and something that all of our employees can be excited and proud of. This award is validation that the boundaries that we continue to push in bringing real-time communications capabilities to our customers are resonating.
Gartner Quality Excellence Award
Continuing to improve the quality of our products, solutions and services remains our # 1 focus at GENBAND. I firmly believe that companies who are known for having best-in-class quality have deeply embedded ‘quality-cultures’, cultures that encourage transparency, dialogue and continuous improvement around the good and the bad customer experiences. These companies intently listen and respond to the voice of the data and the voice of the customer. Most importantly, they listen to the voice of their employees – those who deliver for our customers day in and day out. I feel so passionately about this subject that we have tied a major portion of our employee bonus plan to achieving our quality goals as a company.
That is why one of the proudest moments I have experienced since taking on this role was just a few weeks ago, when we were honored with Gold in the “Transformational Customer Experience” category in the 2015 Gartner & 1to1 Media Customer Experience Award. This award recognizes select companies who are customer-focused and providing value to their customers and shareholders by effectively bringing together strategy, technology, and execution to deliver superior customer experiences. Again, this is our #1 priority at GENBAND and I could not be more proud of our entire organization for taking the challenge that our board has issued on continually improving quality and successfully responding to it.
There are so many other milestones that our team has achieved over the past two years that I could acknowledge, but these are ones that I felt really stood out. I look forward to working with our team members worldwide to continue to bring our customers unparalleled quality, solutions and services that will help them maintain their dominant positions in the communications industry and better serve their customers.