There’s an oversupply of companies trying to sell unified communications solutions to SMBs. Yet, these players have only been able to penetrate a small portion of the market. In light of that, and the fact that the world is going mobile, cellular operators are ideally positioned to disrupt the UC market. At least that’s the position of Chris Carabello (News - Alert), senior director of product marketing for Metaswitch Networks.
Sure, there are plenty of over-the-top clients that allow mobile phones to make business calls. But Carabello says they provide a different experience than does a native dialer. And they supply VoIP as opposed to cellular voice connections, he adds, which can be less reliable. Additionally, he says, OTT clients don’t effectively manage cellular phone users’ separate personal and professional lives.
Many companies that sell unified communications suites for businesses also offer mobile clients. But, according to Carabello, those solutions can deliver less than ideal results as well. Plus, he notes, a lot of the UC and UcaaS solutions providers are shifting their focus from the small and medium business market to global accounts.
“We think the mobile operator can do very well here,” Carabello says.
Cellular network operators already have established relationships with businesses and consumers, he says, which are increasingly cutting the cord on wireline connections and going mobile. Yet, to date, mobile operators haven’t done much beyond offering voice and data plans, he says. However, they could grow their revenues by introducing mobile-centric UC offerings, and in the process disrupt the market in which RingCentral plays, he says.
To help cellular operators move on that opportunity, Metaswitch offers is Metaswitch Mobile Unified Communications (News - Alert) offering, with a native dialer, multi-persona with network intelligence for automated identity management, and push-to-talk capabilities. It also supports the following group collaboration functions:
- Enabling mobile users to see the presence of their colleagues,
- Allowing them to simply swipe the screen of their smartphone to transfer a call, and
- Supporting collaboration and meetings.
Metaswitch Mobile Unified Communications is targeted at two mobile-centric segments. One is the “individual prosumer” who wants separate business and personal identities. Some 53 million freelancers and individual entrepreneurs fall into this category, Carabello says. The other segment includes micro SMBs like flower shops and plumbers. A quarter of businesses, says Carabello, have 10 or fewer employees.
The Metaswitch Mobile Unified Communications is a separate solution from the Accession UC solution the company has long had in the market. Carabello says that Metaswitch will continue to develop that product. But the new Metaswitch Mobile Unified Communications, he says, really optimizes what the mobile operator can do, including managing different identities and using past calling patterns to understand whether an incoming call is personal or work-related.
This new offering can also help mobile operators monetize their VoLTE cores, he says. And he adds that Metaswitch last year bought VoLTE application server company OpenCloud (News - Alert), which has 60 mobile operator customers.
Edited by Erik Linask