I recently had the opportunity to ask Super Technologies Vice President Suzanne Bowen about her business and the direction she is taking the company.
You may recall Suzanne was nice enough to post a video interview of me a while back. My interview of Suzanne follows below. Before we get started, here is some info on Super Technologies.
Super Technologies, Inc. & Super Technologies, Inc. DIDX & VoIP Solutions, provides worldwide clients with next-gen VoIP technologies. The company’s DID over SIP clearinghouses for end-user and ITSP's have grown from 100 to 6200+ members in the past 2 years.
How is IP communications changing your company's strategy?
As Tee Em says, "We all know Internet killed geography a long time ago." The types of services we provide show how Internet Protocol-based communications have changed our company strategy. Our emphasis evolved from tunnel-vision to world vision. In 1999, as a new start-up, we shipped IP phone adapters to remote areas of the world so consumers and SMBs could dial up and make phone calls over the slow Internet. Wide use of broadband and requests for having local phone numbers from around the world led to our CTO Rehan Ahmed inventing the Virtual Phone Line concept, which won the Best of Show Client Device award at Spring Internet World 2001. Open Source technologies such as Asterisk provided a reason to collaborate with now 6500 IP communications providers via another of our CTO's inventions, the DIDX global DID exchange.
What pains does your company solve for customers?
Our DIDXchange and hosted VoIP solutions help ILECs and CLECs migrate to, or add VoIP to their portfolio of services and to put their DIDs (direct inward dialing phone numbers) in front of a global wholesale buying audience instead of just a few resellers. Non-traditional entrepreneurial post Gen-X types get to mashup to create new services that meet a market's needs, throwing in the power of one the most important pieces of a person's identity -- the phone number. New opportunities for revenue, innovation, and collaboration abound in a world where telecom competition is fierce and exciting.
How has SIP changed communications?
It creates something that wholesale, enterprise and consumer customers crave -- a choice. It gives the right to choose the perfect products to meet their access, modus operandi and cost requirements. Vendor lock-in perishes.
How do you think the future of the market looks?
An AMI Partners Inc. study shows that the North America small and medium business segment for hosted business-VoIP is set to reach $416 million this year - from about $165 million in 2005. Between 2005 and 2010, the cumulative growth rate will cross 56.9 percent.
How does the growth rate in the U.S. compare to the rest of the world?
The United States is not listed in the top 100 nations for growth rate, according to the 2007 CIA World Fact Back. The top ten are Azerbaijan, Mauritania, Guinea, Maldives, Angola, Cambodia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Liechtenstein. Even so, a report from the U.S. Commerce Department shows the country’s GDP increased at a 2.5 percent annual rate during the last quarter 2006, up from 2 percent in the third quarter. In our country, where pay raises accompany higher prices, everyone is looking for ways to improve their ROI.
What do you think of Google and Apple entering the telecom market?
I asked my husband, Michael Bowen, his opinion since he is an Apple fan. He states that the iPhone feels like a Swiss Army Knife, a little too much, and that the deal with AT&T Cingular seems so un-Apple because it takes away choice, a thing that he craves. And regarding Google, he asks, why are they?
How about Microsoft?
Somewhat like Google, why? I don't want to see any one entity to have power and control over everything. When people have only one choice, the provider gets complacent.
How will Open Source technologies change our market?
They have already quietly, unobtrusively stolen the show. It backs many of the most successful models and businesses. One drawback may be that some of its proponents are a little too digitally pharisaical.
What are your thoughts regarding hosted solutions?
It's hot. What influences SMBs to adopt hosted business-VoIP solutions is predictable and often flat rate of monthly voice expenses with no up-front capital expense and toll savings for intra- and inter-company long-distance and local calling.
Disaster Preparedness. Our company's headquarters are in Pensacola, Florida. Do you remember the strongest hurricane in 2004? Ivan turned our offices into a milkshake. No roof, no door. But, everything we provide is on hosted servers in different areas of the world. Our customers never lost a day of service.
Create Business Value. There is no need for on-site IT infrastructure or added capital expenses, and no need for additional IT staff. Get flexible, scalable solutions that grow with the business. ROI is faster than with traditional on-site deployments.
And finally, don't Reinvent the Wheel. Thousands of companies such as Kayote Networks and IPsmarx offer hosted VoIP in/out. Super Technologies, Inc. offers the same, as well as call forward management/DID management system solutions with 8 years of ongoing in-house development experience, so customers do not have to re-invent the wheel.
How will communications evolve over the next five years?
Lurking in the minds of a few people must lie the secrets to making two ideas become a reality. First, let's use IP communications in ways that can better determine the emotional context of messages. Mistaken conclusions occur on a regular basis. Two, scent over Internet... Voice, video and data are not the only possible ways to communicate. Women are more sensitive to and interested in scent, but men dominate in technology careers and definitely in IP communications. I observe this at conferences in the East and West. When I proposed this idea to a Gitex group in Dubai on a DIDX desert safari (all men), I was greeted with incredulity. I mentioned it a League of Women Voters' meeting, and there was plenty of brainstorming how to do it. This is probably not the answer expected, but these are my first thoughts.
What will the industry see at your booth at ITEXPO?
One woman brave enough to work in the typically male-dominated IP communications industry since 1999. It will be a gathering place of some of the most brilliant minds in IP communications history. When not at our booth, I'll be creating video interviews of Internet Telephony West 2007 with participants showcasing the services they provide with an emphasis on how they creatively use direct inward dialing. All of this will be posted on Youtube and other sites.
Why is your booth a "Can't Miss?"
Most tasks are easier done together such as with DIDXchange than alone, and that is what Super Technologies, Inc. promotes. Entrepreneurs and traditionalist in the wholesale IP communications industry are invited to sign up for a DIDX member area ID and expand their market as large as they wish from local to regional to global in just a few minutes. We have the tools to help participants jumpstart and grow their companies in this industry. It's a reality that competitors can collaborate while keeping choice number one, for the success of each.
What do you want the industry to know about your company?
Our mission is to change world communications, not for the sake of change, but to simplify and empower. Einstein (whom I would not dare compare myself to) is believed to have said, "Everything should be simple as possible but not simpler." We share opportunities such as DIDXchange and hosted re-branded VoIP solutions to start and grow companies and to streamline processes, while increasing revenue and expanding markets.
What's next for communications?
Survival of the fittest, a struggle to keep choice in front of the customer, and more collaboration such as exchanges and clearinghouses, in the ever-evolving ecosystem of IP communications.