In the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephony® magazine, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we spoke with Arun Kumar, President & Managing Director, Hughes Software Systems.
IT: What is Hughes Software Systems’ mission?
AK: Our mission is to enable communication through world class software solutions, products, and services for a global marketplace. We believe in creating value for our customers with enhanced focus on the communications vertical. We invest in creating technology and we have created a holistic business model of offering products, outsourcing services, and system integration, thus becoming a single window to meet the needs of our customers. We work closely with more than 250 customers and provide solutions in the cutting-edge technology domains, especially Voice over IP, SS7 and SS7 over IP, and GPRS, UMTS, and CDMA 2000.
IT: What is your vision for HSS and how is the company positioned in the next-generation telecom market?
AK: HSS is strongly placed in the NGN market, with its VoIP products and services portfolio. HSS is a market leader in SIP software domain with more than 100 customers, which include both top tier equipment manufacturers and leading technology start-ups. We address the different needs of target market with three levels of solutions — stack, toolkit, and framework. These are targeted for both the server and handheld markets. The SIP server is ready to deploy product with Centrex and B2BUA capability. HSS has always been first in the market and maintains that position. We have built complex solutions for our customers keeping them ahead of competition and giving them time-to-market advantage.
In order to realize its global ambition, the company has operations in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and India. We position ourselves as an end-to-end product and solution provider. By enhancing our product portfolio with value-added offerings and reducing the time, cost and risk of product development for our customers, we are constantly pursuing our ambition to create more value for our global customers.
IT: It seems that we are entering a generally positive economic climate in our industry. Do you agree? If so, please describe some of the key decisions that you have made to steer your company through the recent challenging financial straits.
AK: The telecom sector has rebounded with strong growth and the worst seems to be behind us. There is positive sentiment everywhere. We continue to focus on expanding our addressable market by entering into attractive markets such as next-generation handset software, moving Voice over IP to suit 3G wireless… In fact, during the downturn, as telecom players have moved towards an open-system-based product architecture, outsourcing both new product development and product maintenance to third-party vendors, our decision to remain focused on the telecom sector with our products and services model paid rich dividends. We believe the shift in the strategy of equipment manufacturers towards open system architecture will further help us in strengthening our business in time to come.
IT: 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?
AK: The Internet telephony market is poised for dramatic growth which is fueled by the increased cost savings for service providers, enterprises adopting VoIP, Greenfield VoIP deployment, especially in ASPAC region and newer technologies such as 3G, advocating VoIP-based architecture.
Initial hurdles, which VoIP has faced in terms of quality of voice calls, reliability, and the security of voice services when merged with data traffic are fading. VoIP today is no longer a technology of the future. HSS believes that VoIP is widely adopted as a cost effective transport technology and moving ahead, service providers will adopt VoIP as a service differentiation technology.
The regulatory issue in many countries is not clear though. Emergency call services and lawful intercept are still few grey areas. However, we feel that this uncertainty is also a tremendous opportunity for the vendors to differentiate their products and position a future-proof solution. We believe the U.S. ruling to perceive Vonage more as an information service rather than a telecommunication service is a great boost to this industry.
IT: What makes HSS’s products/services unique and how can a client benefit from using them?
AK: At HSS we have a single point agenda to deliver best-in-class software products and services to our clients. HSS has worked with a veritable who’s who in the telecom industry. The one single need for the industry today is to cut down the total cost of ownership and we help our customers with that by producing high-performance, scalable products. Our customers can be assured by the interoperability credentials of our products, as these are deployed widely in all major networks in the world and have been tested against all leading vendors. Our core differentiation to the customers stems from the fact that we have deep domain knowledge and even when we carry out services for our customers, it is with a product mindset.
IT: Describe your view of the future of the IP telephony industry.
AK: Internet telephony has emerged as a major market influence and will continue to have a heavy impact on the telecommunications industry for years. We perceive Voice over Broadband and VoIP adoption in 3G to drive growth for the IP telephony market.
IP Telephony signaling is moving to SIP from H.323. SIP provides the application developers ease to develop value-added applications such as instant messaging, presence, and mobility services. We perceive SIP to be the ubiquitous signaling protocol in next three to four years. Among the Gateway Control protocols, Megaco is emerging a clear winner, much ahead of MGCP now.
The network is migrating to an “all-IP architecture.” However, shift to all-IP will be a gradual phenomenon rather than a leapfrog movement, as service providers are trying to maximize the usage of their existing equipments. Thus in the short run, we perceive large deployments of SIGTRAN/SS7 over IP-based equipment in service provider networks.
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