GG: What is Citels mission?
MR: Citels mission is to simplify and accelerate VoIP migration for enterprises and service providers.
GG: What is your vision for Citel and how is the company positioned in the next-generation telecom market?
MR: Our vision is to empower enterprises and service providers to realize the cost and productivity benefits of IP telephony, at the same time leveraging as much of their existing infrastructure as possible. Billions of dollars have been invested by enterprises of all sizes in digital PBX equipment over the last five to ten years. Many are not aware that the handset they use today can be upgraded to provide all the most useful VoIP features instead of having to buy a replacement.
One of VoIPs greatest benefits is cost-savings, yet one of the greatest inhibitors to deployment is the expense and business disruption associated with rewiring, installation, and training. It is extremely satisfying for us to hear our customers stories stories about banks, universities, retail chains, hospitals, and others who were able to deploy VoIP overnight, resuming normal operations the next morning with little or no disruption.
These are everyday examples of enterprises deploying VoIP for the purpose of realizing real business benefits, rather than simply deploying VoIP for VoIPs sake. This puts Citel in an excellent position to serve the 90 percent of the market still using digital PBX handsets to run their businesses. In fact, digital PBX equipment will constitute the majority of the installed base well beyond 2009.
GG: Now that it appears that growth and opportunity are the trends in the VoIP industry, what possible hurdles do you see that might upset this momentum?
MR: Our customers tell us that complexity and confusion are two of the primary inhibitors to deploying VoIP. Most enterprises understand the benefits of VoIP in terms of feature enhancement coupled with cost savings. We educate customers on how to leverage existing infrastructure to realize the benefits of VoIP without expensive equipment replacement or disruption of their operations. The end result is a customer who is comfortable migrating to VoIP on their own terms, at their own pace, and at a far lower cost than that of other migration solutions.
In addition, many organizations have disparate systems from various manufacturers across multiple locations a common scenario in the retail and finance sectors. This presents an additional deployment challenge: which PBXs or handsets should be replaced first? What interoperability issues might we face during the rollout? Citels technology enables both digital and IP PBX handsets from a variety of different vendors to converge on a single IP telephony platform, dramatically extending the useful life of existing investments and paving a roadmap to the future.
GG: What are some of the technology areas where Citel is increasingly focusing, and why are these areas important to the future of your company?
MR: First, we are investing heavily in the hosted VoIP market, as we believe this segment has a promising future. Important new IP-based services are coming to market that can serve small to medium-sized businesses on a very granular level offering features previously reserved only for the largest enterprises. This allows service providers to offer new features that have a profound impact on the productivity and efficiency of their customers.
Second, we are continually enhancing our current hardware and software to offer a greater amount of scalability and flexibility, whether an enterprise plans to migrate to IP telephony utilizing their existing PBX, a new all-IP PBX, or a hosted solution.
Lastly, we are working to make it easier for enterprises to decentralize their communications networks to meet their business needs. Historically, a distributed architecture included headquarters and branch offices, each using a number of disparate systems and technologies. Today, IP technology is creating an ever-flattening global landscape. Every employee can be connected as an extension of the headquarters, regardless of their location or device. Our roadmap is focused on developing solutions to accelerate this trend, where every employee can be as productive as they can be.
GG: Describe your view of the future of the IP telephony industry.
MR: Although VoIP as a technology is well established, the transition to it is still in its infancy, and enterprises are just beginning to realize the substantial benefits of an IP telephony platform.
Applications that improve productivity and service will drive the adoption of IP telephony, and many of these applications will be integrated into the hardware platform. For example, Citel has developed an application that enables remote workers to share a single phone number for their desk phone and their mobile device, with a single voice mail box and similar functionality between the two. These services are agnostic to the mobile service provider and the PBX vendor, but are integrated into our platform to add value.
Its important for an enterprise planning their migration to carefully review all options, whether its a rip-and-replace move to an IP system or various forms of balanced transition utilizing existing infrastructure. Citels role is to help enterprises find the solution that fits best for them. IT