Founded in 2001, Broadvox provides integrated managed VoIP
services to SMB, Enterprise and Carrier customers over its full-featured global VoIP network and is trusted by more than 160 telecommunications carriers, CLECs, ISPs and over a thousand enterprises to terminate and originate over six billion minutes annually.
Mark Bresler is vice president of channel sales at Broadvox, and he took some time to respond to several questions I had regarding the state of the market and what Broadvox sees in the months ahead.
RT: What trends are you noticing in the communications market?
We are seeing that established PBX
vendors are revamping their products, new PBX vendors are coming on board and new solutions to support and enable unified communications are appearing on the marketplace. There has been an expansion of open source IP
PBXs and new application software, which is having a tremendous impact on IP communications. Innovators are building and releasing a broad range of SIP applications, moving away from standalone systems to integrated applications that solve key business needs. These integrated applications, both hardware and software, are having a positive influence on the telecommunications industry by generating more interest and laying a foundation for future growth and development in anticipation of users’ expectations.
RT: Did 2007 finish the way your company expected?
MB: We set an ambitious goal for Broadvox this year when we launched a national marketing campaign to introduce our SIP Trunking product offering for SMBs, knowing that new VoIP service offerings were viewed with uncertainty. The hesitancy to adopt a new service like this was due in part to two factors. The first factor was that some industry leaders believed that regulatory bodies were going to step in and the second was that many service providers failed this year simply because they lacked in-depth knowledge of their customer base or overreached their market share. Our research showed that the SMB market was virtually untapped and we knew we could provide the same QoS, reliability and cost savings that our enterprise and carrier customers had previously enjoyed. As the year drew to a close we were satisfied that we had accomplished our goal and as we look forward, we expect to see accelerated growth in the adoption of IP communications, particularly in the SMB market.
RT: Is 2008 going to be a better year than 2007?
MB: Broadvox expects to gain momentum in 2008, continuing to introduce the financial and productivity benefits of SIP Trunking to SMBs, which will further our mission to become the leading provider of SIP Trunking services in North America. We are looking forward to 2008, knowing that no matter what our customers choose to meet their communications requirements, we can provide them with a customized solution. We project that we will continue to grow our business by utilizing our VAR partners to present our products to the SMB and enterprise markets with SIP Trunking representing the majority of our future growth.
RT: What technologies have altered the market the most?
MB: Two technologies have altered the VoIP/Internet Telephony markets the most and they go hand in hand. The first is bandwidth. Bandwidth has enabled commoditization and availability of large amounts of connectivity to enterprise end users. Combining bandwidth with improved network quality and the ability to prioritize voice traffic has in turn enabled the second technology, SIP capable IP-PBX systems to be sold and deployed to the masses. Software-based PBXs themselves have become commoditized through the ability for anyone to download Asterisk onto a server for little or no charge and learn how to use it.
RT: How has Skype (News - Alert) changed the telecom market?
Skype has transformed telephony from being strictly a carrier service to a Web application. An entire range of applications and integration with other companies’ applications such as Skype video and eBay (News
) would never have been provided by a traditional LEC or CLEC
. Skype has stayed on the cutting edge and is extremely forward thinking and it has stimulated the industry to do likewise. It is now a “publish or perish” mentality. Come up with new and imaginative applications and technologies that consumers and enterprises need and want or become extinct.
RT: How will Apple, Google and Microsoft each change the telecom space?
Steve Jobs promised in a recent keynote address that Apple’s exclusive U.S. arrangement with AT&T (News
) is “simply an expedient for launching the telecom revolution.” I don’t know that Apple will necessarily change the telecom space, but if iPhone (News
) performs up to expectations, their relationship with Ma Bell will absolutely help them to gain market share now and establish credibility in the sector for the future growth. Apple’s unique touch screen technology on the iPhone is a concept another notable OEM, Microsoft is banking on with their 2007 showcasing of Surface Computing Technology.
Google will have the ability to change the telecom space if they should become the successful bidders for the upcoming 700MHz wireless spectrum auction. Google was pivotal in getting the FCC to adopt auction rules that would ultimately give consumers more choice in the devices they use on these new networks. Google CEO Eric Schmidt committed Google to promise to spend at least $4.6 billion on licenses. “We believe it’s important to put our money where our principles are,” said Eric Schmidt. “Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today’s wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet.” Exactly what Google plans to do with the spectrum if it wins the licenses is still unknown. The chunk of spectrum is huge and well suited for high-bandwidth transport. The key point here is that its participation raises the stakes, especially for traditional telephony players. In addition, Google has been buying up tons of dark fiber and if all of the pieces come together, they could become a major force in the sector through the rapid deployment and build-out of a behemoth high speed network.
Microsoft unified communications technologies have been designed to merge communications with other applications that we use everyday like spreadsheets, documents, e-mails, video etc. While not a fan of the SIP over TCP
protocol that they have selected instead of UDP or TLS, I feel that they have the ability, based on the widespread distribution of their Office Suite of software worldwide, to grab a formidable amount of market share. I have always been bullish on Microsoft and always look to keep them as an ally rather than an adversary.
RT: Do you have predictions about the 700 MHz auction?
MB: Google will win it. (See previous answer.)
RT: What are the brightest spots in your business going forward?
MB: For Broadvox, the factors that come immediately to mind are the explosiveness of our new SIP Trunking offer, especially around the contact and call center space, large enterprise end-users and the benefits it can bring to SMBs. Also, our ability to forge relationships and achieve interoperability with more OEMs than basically all of our competition combined is a key factor to our success. Recent partnerships with significant new channels of distribution are extremely significant and will afford us the opportunity to increase our market share exponentially. Finally, our success in finding and hiring the right individuals to fill our Channel Sales Director roles will certainly contribute to our future growth.
In looking at our traditional business, which is that as a wholesale carrier for SIP origination and termination, we see the growth of new IP-based applications, messaging systems and expansion of voice traffic as significant. To that end we have begun to expand our network capacity and softswitch capabilities.
RT: What are the biggest threats you see to your company’s success?
MB: I do not see any noticeable weakness or inherent vulnerabilities or threats as long as we continue to execute our business plan effectively. The three keys are to acquire good people, execute our business plan and deliver our services to the satisfaction of our customer base.
RT: What will conferees learn from your ITEXPO conference session this month?
MB: Broadvox will show ITEXPO conferees the value proposition that SIP Trunking represents, both to VARs and end users. They will learn about the significant industry-wide progress made in quality and delivery of SIP Trunking. In addition to value, quality and rapid delivery, they will see how bundling carrier services with their existing offerings leads to the creation of a significant new recurring revenue stream, establishment of more reliant and loyal customers, lowering their end users’ overall telecom spend and cost justification of new CPE by accelerating end user ROI.
RT: Who should attend?
MB: VARs, End-Users and contact center managers.
RT: What unique perspectives will you offer?
MB: Having spent over 10 years in the traditional CLEC space, I offer an insider’s perspective. I understand the challenges and concerns that face traditional interconnects and network integrators and have the ability to explain to them, in terms that they will understand, why this change represents one of the greatest opportunities to present itself since the beginning of the telecommunications age.
RT: What is the most exciting market change we can expect in communications in technology in 2008 and beyond?
MB: In the not so distant future, advances in (VRTS) Virtual Reality Telecommunications Systems will enable a 3D experience for audio and visual information as perceived by the user. Users will feel as if they are having a face to face conversation. The research on these systems and technologies are already well on the way. Advances in cameras, computers and other technologies which appear to be science fiction soon will be science fact!
RT: Please make one surprising prediction for 2008.
MB: My crystal ball is in the repair shop!