Managed VoIP

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May 08, 2008

Micah Singer, CEO and Founder at VoIP Logic Talks About the Evolution of VoIP Managed Services

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor

 

I recently had the opportunity to ask Micah Singer (News - Alert), CEO and Founder at VoIP Logic, about the evolution of VoIP managed services, the trends in outsourcing of VoIP systems and solutions, and the direction the company is taking.

VoIP Logic (News - Alert), the creator of the Cortex® System Management Portal and a global provider of Voice over Internet Protocol ("VoIP") Managed Services, has launched the VoIP Managed Services channel to follow these industry developments. Whether you are a telephone company, cable operator, IT service company, mobile carrier, MVNO, Voice 2.0/Web 2.0 operator, social networking operator or otherwise in the process of launching a service offering using integrated voice technology this new channel is geared for you.

To get some more background the company, read this TMCnet article.

Please outline your new corporate initiatives.
MICAH: VoIP Logic is continuing to enhance the capabilities of Cortex® by adding integration features and management modules that are in demand. With our over 150 deployments and the ongoing interaction and accountability we have to with our service provider customers, we have a great source of inspiration for the Cortex roadmap. Specifically, we are most excited about the following three developments:

Release of the first Cortex web services API which allows service providers to easily integrate provisioning and customer management into their existing websites and legacy systems.

Exposure of our internal knowledge base and ticketing system to provide fuller self-service multi-system issue resolution, ongoing training and transparency to our customers.

Integration of a wholesale billing module into Cortex which allows all types of service providers to more easily manage revenues and costs. Particularly for users of the NexTone (News - Alert) MSX platform this is a very important combination for success.

How has your growth as a company evolved to date?
MICAH: VoIP Logic has seen a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue of 48% between fiscal 2003 and fiscal 2007. Because our revenue only includes systems and solutions and not minutes of usage this reflects directly the growth of VoIP. The VoIP equipment and solutions market has been noted to be growth around 30% per annum so we are keeping ahead.

Additionally, it has become apparent that multi-system integration is crucial to the success of service providers. A single source for problem resolution and ongoing support seems very important to our customers rather than chasing the many system vendors required to run a service provider. As communications services incorporate presence, video and a range of enhancements having the integration platform – Cortex – and the engineering and support team under one roof is a huge asset to our growth and service providers who opt to use us.

Why have you opted to remain carrier neutral?

MICAH: Particularly in the wholesale VoIP peering business it is instrumental to the medium and long term success of our customers that our corporate interests align exactly with theirs. I say without hyperbole that we are partners with service providers that use our systems and solutions. As they grow their revenue and require more intricate solutions and more robust systems we grow the relationship.

What pains does your company solve for communications service providers?
MICAH: Deployment, integration and ongoing management of VoIP systems is difficult costly and time-consuming and this complexity multiplies exponentially as these single systems become multi-system solutions. The three main pains that VoIP Logic solves for its customers are:

Fixing the return on investment (ROI) equation for competitive carriers. To compete with the largest carriers you must use the best systems and carrier grade stability – these are pricey and have in the past required heavy capitalization and in-house operational expertise thus pushing ROI way out into the future. Not so for service providers using VoIP Logic.

Extensive deployment and management experience. With over 500 (and growing) ‘solutions’ to common and very complex problems in our knowledge base we have built, in addition to an experienced engineering team, an accumulated base of knowledge that allows our customers to benefit in all ways from this experience.

Integration of legacy systems, new revenue sources and multi-play options. The exciting part about being a service provider in 2008 is that VoIP and open systems based on web services APIs let’s you can largely create and deploy a multitude of unique services and service bundles. Cortex and our professional services team is the tool that dramatically speeds up this process while lowering costs. As Cortex matures we are extending it beyond simply being a great OSS/BSS platform to become a Service Creation Environment.

How do you think the future of the VoIP market looks generally and the VoIP managed services market specifically?
MICAH: More and more service providers are outsourcing to managed services providers because of the realities of the market place – i.e. the need to show ROI – and the realization that VoIP wholesale and retail systems are harder to manage and integrate than anticipated. So while VoIP and some of the service provider failures have certainly made the market a bit jittery, in many ways VoIP Managed Services have offered a very useful method of getting to market with the control and flexibility required for success without the large costs and exposure.

The VoIP market in general is an interesting case study. Everyone agrees that each year more and more enterprises and end users everywhere in the world are using the new technology and the largest carriers in the world have embraced VoIP specifically and “everything over IP” in general in the fashion of British Telecom’s landmark 21st Century Network project. At the same time service providers are realizing that they need to become more innovative to make compelling (read: profitable) business models.  

How will communications evolve over the next five years?
MICAH: In my opinion two major trends will occur in the next five to ten years in communications. 

First, service providers will regain relevance and success by intelligently bundling services together that are targeted at ever smaller niches and vertical markets. This will give enterprise and residential end-users single stops for multi-play offers that are customized to what they want. You see this already with companies like CallTower (News - Alert) and others bundling phone services and Exchange Server.

Second, middleware systems specific to communications like Cortex will allow this intelligent bundling to occur much more easily. The promise of the Service Creation Environment as an intended result of the IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) common protocol will arrive either through IMS or otherwise. Other simultaneous trends such as the emergence of ubiquitous wireless IP will change the complexion of what services can be easily created.

It is truly an exciting time to be in the communications industry.

Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Tim Gray’s columnist page.

Don't forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.


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