PanTerra Networks Leads the Next Wave of Unified Cloud Services

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PanTerra Networks Leads the Next Wave of Unified Cloud Services

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  January 16, 2014

The rise of the cloud has been exciting and beneficial so far, but the next wave of cloud promises to bring even greater benefits to businesses, says Arthur Chang, president and CEO of PanTerra (News - Alert) Networks.

Cloud services are taking a somewhat similar track as desktop productivity software did years ago, says Chang. As you may recall, with desktop software, first we saw a lot of separate, specialized solutions from various vendors, such as WordPerfect and the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. Then, a certain software company came along and introduced Microsoft (News - Alert) Office; that integrated many of those applications, which had previously been sold as separate solutions, into a seamless suite.

Likewise, most cloud service providers started out delivering single services, Chang says, who notes that’s common for emerging markets. But now we’re beginning to move into the next phase of the cloud, which like the desktop software space before it, is starting to seamlessly integrate more functionality into unified solutions.

Cloud 2.0 and unified cloud services, are the terms Chang uses to describe this second iteration of the cloud.

“I think you’re seeing the beginning of this Cloud 2.0 evolution occurring now,” says Chang.

Bringing together multiple services into integrated solutions benefits end users because it translates into lower total cost of ownership, and can allow for a higher level of productivity, says Chang. It also enables service providers to deliver consistent service attributes like quality of service, support, and security across a gamut of applications – such as communications, collaboration, file sharing, storage – being delivered to end users, he says.

Users pay overhead every time they implement a service with a separate cloud service provider, he explains, so when they use three separate services from three different cloud service providers, they pay that overhead three times. If a customer was moving its file server, communications, and collaboration into the cloud, to do so separately might cost $15 to $20 per month, $40 per month, and $50 per month, respectively, he says. Unified cloud services, Chang says, typically cost 60 to 70 percent less. 

PanTerra is already bringing such savings, productivity and quality gains to mid-market enterprise customers via its WorldSmart services.

“We are one of the leading innovators of delivering unified cloud services,” says Chang. “That’s been our vision from day one. We do that by being both a technology provider and a service provider, which allows us to innovate and bring that innovation to our customers with very high service attributes.”

In referring to PanTerra as a platform provider, Chang is pointing out that the company built the platform on which its service runs in-house and from the ground up. That is a key differentiator for PanTerra vs. the competition, which typically relies on the platforms of companies like Cisco (News - Alert) and Microsoft, he says. PanTerra designed its platform to be multiservice, highly scaleable, and carrier agnostic. This platform also adds value for PanTerra and its customers because it gives them a higher level of control.

“That has resonated with our customers and is an advantage for them,” says Chang. “When you are in control of your own technology you can deliver much more consistent reliability, QoS, etc. When you resell other peoples’ technology, there are bound to be issues with bugs, new revisions, etc., and when these things happen, the most you can do is file a trouble ticket. If it’s your own technology, however, you can contact engineers and developers and can respond more quickly. Our way keeps that supply chain as short as possible.”

WorldSmart is a proven solution, as thousands of companies are already benefitting from its virtual PBX (News - Alert), which includes find me/follow me capabilities; full call center functionality, including features such as supervisory mode and customer call back; a unified messaging suite, which addresses digital fax, e-mail, and secure IM; and collaboration services like HD-quality audio, shared desktop, videoconferencing, and web meeting. All of the above can be accessed from any browser via any IP connection anywhere in the world.

While WorldSmart is already a very feature-rich solution, PanTerra continues to build onto its functionality.

For example, in December PanTerra announced the release of new administration tools that improve WorldSmart’s scale and security. This new addition simplifies management functions by adding the ability to define administrative roles and privileges and to configure centralized management, distributed management or a hybrid of both. That allows enterprises to tailor the solution to their existing IT infrastructure.

"PanTerra's Admin 5.0 cut our administrative overhead considerably on our most recent multi-location customer migration off of legacy equipment,” says Bill Sutherland, president and CEO of Sutherland Networks. “The marriage of secure unified administrative access for all WorldSmart services, and more specifically the improved group and mobile administration and intuitive import function, reduced many man-hours off the system cutover."

And in November, PanTerra came out with Mobile UCC, which extends its unified cloud communications capabilities to mobile users of Android (News - Alert) and iOS devices using 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks. Mobile UCC employs full multi-phase authentication and encryption for security, and push technology to reduce battery drain. Mobile UCC is available as a free download to all WorldSmart seats with desktop UCC functionality.

"Mobile UCC has been an invaluable tool for me over the last few months while both on the road and after business hours to remain connected to my co-workers and customers,” says Chris Hewitt, vice president of sales for Exemplify, a PanTerra master agent. “All my business and phone contacts are integrated so I can conduct communications with colleagues and customers from a single secure app. And the support for calling over Wi-Fi has saved my cell minutes.”

Chang says to expect PanTerra to offer additional new WorldSmart-related products and functionality in the near future.

“We have built a very solid base on our UC service, and we see that unifying the ability to share content, to store content, and to sync content is a natural progression to help enterprises achieve maximum productivity, minimize cost, and reduce sales friction which prevents their customers from closing a deal."

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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