The communications industry has been on a rollercoaster ride for more than a decade. Yet, despite all the ups and downs, there are many stories about companies that have weathered the storm(s) with strength and growth. CommuniGate Systems is one such company. INTERNET TELEPHONY recently spoke with Jon Doyle (News - Alert), vice president of business development at CommuniGate Systems, about the company’s story, its products and services, and industry trends.
When and how did CommuniGate get started?
Doyle: CGS was founded in Kohln germany in 1991, and opened its San Francisco headquarters in 1994. We have always been in communications software products.
Initially we built technology for the Germany cable networks, and later moved to speech and fax technologies, with great success on the Apple (News - Alert) platform, being shipped on the Geo Port CDs with each new computer sold. In the late 1990s we shifted to provide Unix-based technology for large-scale e-mail deployments at leading ISPs around the globe. In the mid 2004 time frame we begin an evolution to a platform strategy, adding in a programming language, APIs, and SDKs for real-time communications.
Today our platform is used by over 180 million subscribers, powering 15 tier 1 operators and over 250 tier 2 operators globally. We have deployments in every part of the world except Antarctica and the Space Station.
What is the company’s ownership and financial situation?
Doyle: The company has a strong financial record, being profitable for 15 years, and going through several economic downturns, including the bubble in the 90s, and this most recent financial institution depression, with growth and market expansion. We are a tightly privately held organization, with fully self sustaining legal entities in Germany, the U.S.A., and Russia, with regional offices in Western Europe, Japan, and Latin America.
What does CommuniGate sell to whom?
Doyle: We provide a platform that enables network operators and ICT providers to host communication technologies under their own brands (white label) to residential and business subscribers. This platform is called CommuniGate Pro. Most of the key real-time applications we ship on the platform are open source, and we enable developers to enhance or extend these products or create their own through easy tools and APIs in our SDK. We also ship a client framework for the desktop, web browser, and smartphones called Pronto!, which has 3 variants:Pronto! Pro is a desktop client framework; Pronto! Web is a browser-based client; and Pronto! Mobile is available for iOS (iPhone (News - Alert), iPAD) and Android. We provide free access to these clients at www.MobileOffice.biz.
What important trends and developments related to security for UC are you seeing?
Doyle: ASP, SaaS (News - Alert), cloud or hosting has been around for 20 years, and the main thing that is troublesome for many business owners is protection of data, and fear of the loss of data – meaning, can somebody have a look at it, can somebody lose it? Like you hear about credit card theft from time to time, this issue will not go away.
More needs to be done to encrypt data and have escrow keys, or potentially having hybrid storage mechanisms. Services run in the data center, and data itself is stored locally or only cached remotely. Certainly many people are OK with data being off premises, or we would not see success with companies like Salesforce.com or Google Apps. But it does not mean there are no real or perceived issues to better solve. A good example is health information about patients. Not many people would want your health care docs in the Google cloud for security reasons or in the Microsoft cloud for data loss, as an example.
Many companies offer hosted Microsoft services, but I’ve also heard it’s not a particularly high margin business. What are your thoughts on what customers want on this front, how successful service providers have been at selling and packaging these services, and what it’s important for businesses to know about the hosted Microsoft services on the market?
Doyle: Enterprise applications like those from Microsoft or IBM (News - Alert) or Cisco are meant to be run by IT departments, and simply are not efficient at scale or designed for hosting from the ground up. Thus, it is very hard to maintain these products at scale. Ten thousand users on Exchange is one thing, 5,000 companies on Exchange with five users is far different, from a self-care/management and change management perspective.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi