Welcome to the Perspectives live blog for 2015. A follow up to blogs from 2014, 2013 and 2010.
The live blog officially starts tomorrow at 9:00 am – to get up to speed I met with Catherine Berthier, Sanjay Bhatia and Dennis Watson. This is what to expect this week:
We’ll here about progress with the Fring Alliance, Nuvia cloud UC as well as Kandy proof points.
There will be lots of discussion regarding network modernization. For example the company will discuss its new Q50 distributed SBC/Media Platform which will allow a graceful migration to a virtualized, NFV-based system from current fixed-function hardware.
In addition, Verizon will also emphasize its network transformation roadmap as well as modernization from a PSTN transformation perspective. We can further expect a talk from the EPA on energy consumption and power – a big deal for data centers and telcos of course. They’ll also touch on regulatory issues. We can further expect SAP to speak on what they are doing with Kandy – specifically with their CRM cloud for customer platform.
There is more – be sure to check back at 9:00 am tomorrow morning for the details of what’s happening at the show.
David Walsh – President & CEO takes the stage.
He mentioned the Carousel of Progress at Disney and how it rotates from time to time at the same speed but this isn’t the case in the real world where tech innovation keeps speeding up. Once again he mentions Uber – he mentioned it last year as well. He says his day-to-day activities have changed as a result of the service. He mentioned that he was able to get an Uber car in virtually a moment’s notice while leaving Penn Station in NYC.
He mentioned OpenTable the restaurant reservation app and Peloton – a virtual reality spinning-course enabled bicycle. From there he mentioned Waze and how it helps him avoid traffic jams when traveling through New York.
The idea is – change – how things continue to change across all markets.
Here are the themes for today:
- Protect what you have
- Retain your customers
- Network transformation examples
- What to invest in going forward – Kandy, etc.
We were then presented with video about how IP communications/NFV can save carriers 85% cost reduction in energy and other savings.
The talk went into how power and water are expensive commodities and we need to reduce telecom power-consumption and in doing so we can decommission numerous coal-fired power-plants.
We were then presented with a video of how Kandy can basically do everything for you – keeping you 50 moves ahead of the competition.
We were then presented a video of Toy Genius (above 2 slides) and how they use Kandy and WebRTC to compete against larger toy store competitors by providing a better and more personalized service utilizing real-time communications.
We were presented with numerous new companies which allow access to financial professionals, tech professionals and other talent in other markets. The idea is companies don’t need dedicated resources anymore. He then explained real-time communications is what enables this to take place.
From there we heard about the fring alliance – here are the details from previous meetings I’ve had on this new service. Also see GENBAND Buys fring to Make Carriers Sexy.
Mark Pugerude – President of Global Sales takes the stage – he explains how David and the company help take macro trends and allow customers to take advantage of them. Sticking with PSTN means you not only have a tech problem but a people problem as people don’t want to work on it. Also, WebRTC is shaking up the world of SIP.
He then went into how GENBAND looks to make investment decisions easier while helping operators increase revenue. “Network engineers want to build networks but as data center redundancy has gotten so good, you have to take advantage of the cloud.” he said. He continued, “How do you tie it all in with your other infrastructure?”
The implication was GENBAND will help carriers get a piece of new and emerging technologies like WhatsApp. He further asserted carriers enabled this app and service to exist but service providers didn’t benefit from its value-creation. In fact, I might add they not only didn’t benefit from it, they lost business to it.
“The minutes from WebRTC are being sucked out of your network,” he said.
He contrasted Kandy to Twilio implying that GENBAND is a partner and does/will not compete.
He then talked about how Nuvia Cloud UC is ideal for carriers to sell to customers – allowing them to provide a truly mobile UC solution.
He repeated often – “These decisions will be made with or without you.” meaning the move to OTT and WebRTC cannot be stopped. An earlier video said “What side of history will we be on?” Once again the idea here is simply “Evolve or die.”
“More customers are moving to Nuvia, including those businesses where voice is mission critical.”
Paul Pluschkell – EVP Strategy & Cloud Services takes the stage
The basic idea of his talk is you need to build digital DNA throughout your company because transformation is happening. Don’t worry about competition from each other he implied – instead, the enemy is OTT. “Do you think the last person who purchased a taxi medallion for a million dollars in NYC knew Uber was coming?” he asked.
From there he talked about a number of companies from Angry Birds to Uber and how long it took to get to a million customers. He mentioned VCs might not even talk with you if you don’t get to this magic number.
He says we are closer to living in the world of the Jetsons. Not to mention Knight Rider.
VoiceBase demo followed – “Voice is the new data” as you can extract data, do auto note taking, tag content and store in the cloud.
The keywords were shown to be extracted from a presentation. You can dive into a video by clicking on a keyword.
There is a new Kandy development portal with more tutorials and self-service. Kandy Communicator can be offered to users at one low price – instead of buying a la carte. They will take their Kandy Mobile (a large bus) to your office to show your coworkers what Kandy can do. Available in the US and parts of Canada.
Roy Timor-Rousso – General Manager, fring Alliance takes the stage
Yes, another car reference – the idea here is you either leap ahead or hit the wall at 88 MPH. He went through walled gardens and user experience – how we can add value to phone calls which are a small part of the user experience. He went on to UC and all the benefits of collaboration – “The user will expect more and more and Kandy enables these features.”
“Carriers can either throw in the towel and become a dumb pipe or they can fight back.”
Lots of Star Trek references – need to federate, move at warp speed and GENBAND will be the “Scotty” (a young Scotty pictured below) for carriers.
The fring technology roadmap – the “United Federation of Carriers” he said.
David from Deutsche Telecom explains via video why he thinks fring is the right product at the right time and he shares the GENBAND vision of a global interconnected OTT competitor.
“Fringing awesome” is a term we heard a few times today. Interesting. Roy concluded with anther term we all know and love “paradigm shift.” He closed, “You bring your asset, we bring our asset and we can create value together.”
John McCready – EVP, Products & Corporate Development take stage
Software is eating the world he said – Centrex was the original cloud. The deployment model is you can put any app on base hardware – NFV allows this he said. “A set of standards the industry has provided allowing us to dissociate a “box” from a service.”
A brief video about NFV gave the audience an overview of this new technology. VNF Manager was discussed as the method of managing these functions.
VoWiFi growth will be huge
Nuvia UC lightweight video app in conjunction with Vidyo.
New HTML5-based containerized omni client runs across browsers and app stores
Q50 SBC will excel at transcoding in hardware and software – the company has invested a lot in the DSP portion, allowing it to be great at transcoding.
Sampath – SVP, Transformation, Verizon takes stage
After Hurricane Sandy, we lost the CO and we rebuilt it with all fiber. We have done this seven times already. We compete the fiber build out in the wire centers first. We can save 60-80% – we go from 13 racks to one or two.
The fiber pays for itself. Not immediately but over time. In addition, customers add new services once they have fiber access.
Lessons learned – in some cases they plan a year ahead of the transformation.
Interesting challenge – some customers do not want to migrate their guaranteed price one meg DSL service to anything else – even if a faster solution exists.
From my conversations on the matter – a challenge for the industry will be how to maintain an ailing copper network that only few people will use. Will the feds force the telecom market to keep copper around longer than needed?
Ethan G. Shenkman – Deputy General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the stage to tell the audience the dangers of man-made climate change and used at least one controversial set of numbers to show man-made global warming is real. Specifically regarding 2014 being the warmest year on record.
He continued to say we can have a strong regulatory environment and economic growth at the same time by going backward in time and looking at economic growth after the Clean Air Act was passed.
The challenge he failed to mention is this conference focuses on real-time communications, meaning in the new world, a country with less regulation can take more and more jobs from countries with tougher regulations. In other words, thanks to video, voice and broadband connectivity, a worker in India, China, etc will always have an economic advantage over one in a part of the world with tougher environmental regulations.
The other factor he failed to mention was that as the jobs move overseas from developed areas, the emissions generated actually has more pollutants, making things worse for the global environment while punishing workers in areas of the world with the stringent regulations.
The bottom line – David Walsh and Sampath had a non-partisan presentation about why companies should go green – citing the benefits to the bottom line and the planet.
Sir Ken Robinson – Featured Keynote Speaker takes the stage – he is quite funny – lots of great humor.
Interesting tie in between how we need to change our school system – 25% of students drop out – he equated this to losing 1/4 of your customers and also change out businesses.
Human innovation has never moved this quickly.
There have never been so many people living on the earth. We are almost at 10% of the total population in history in the past 150,000 years.
One teacher had half the Beatles in the class and never saw the potential – he equated this to the fact that teams are productive – quite often more than individuals themselves.
Sameer Patel – SVP/GM, Products and GTM & Social Collaboration & Networks, SAP takes the stage
Disruption – you need to change the velocity of sales through introducing something revolutionary. You need to put the last mile first – not the supply chain to do this.
He explained how mobile-first has shifted search – new users aren’t as familiar with the search engine but instead the native browser. Commerce is now being disrupted at the last mile. Payments started to be embedded in the SIM card then the apps and now with Apple Pay the OS, allowing consumers to own the PoS system.
Financial companies are concerned the payment system is embedded in the Apple device. They can be the largest bank on the planet in months with the cash they have and the customer access. “This is what happens when you control the last mile.”
The Tesla car is competitive to the handset – it owns the experience while you are in it. They have a software first mindset.
How do you truly disrupt?
“How can you be a value add to companies disrupting or defending against disruption?” “It can sound daunting but its really exciting.”
Werner Schaefer – VP, Network Functions Virtualization, HP takes the stage
Customer relationships are the most important ones – you send the bill, you have to be in control and have the right technologies. We need to connect people in new ways, harvest the relationships we have while enhancing and enriching them.
Renu Navale – Director of Intel Network Builders, Intel takes the stage to talk about the chip company’s place the open development ecosystem of SDN/NFV/communications.
Network Functions Virtualization Panel – ConteXtream: Sharon Rosov, HP: Werner Schaefer, Intel: Renu Navale and Wind River: Charlie Ashton
Moderator: Sanjay Bhatia, Vice President, Solutions Marketing & Strategy, GENBAND
Renu: NFV is the disruption of monolithic proprietary platforms to open standard platforms – its all about open ecosystems of commercial partner solutions and products. Its the collaboration that drives interop between solutions which go on top of the high volume systems
Werner: They [carriers] don’t want to be at the mercy of the vendor upgrade cycles and their hardware. They want to be able to bring other vendors and apps into their ecosystem. HP is also accused sometimes of being monolithic – they point out you can move outside of their ecosystem if you like – you can work with an HP competitor is you want.
Renu: We have common partners with HP – the goal is interoperability for the carriers.
Charlie: Its all about eliminating risks for service providers.Most solutions will be multivendor but in practice there is a difference between the PowerPoints and the real world. Our Titanium Cloud is optimized to ensure these solutions work together – a deep engineering engagement through our partner ecosystem. Much more than a marketing vehicle. We hired a dedicated engineering team – we now deliver six nines reliability.
Sharon: we evolved open SDN controllers to become carrier grade – some of the functionality we contribute back to the open source communities.
Werner: Why wouldn’t we build infrastructure like Facebook or other software companies? You can’t have that in the network he said – it is critical for carriers to avoid outages.
May 20, 2015 – Day 2 about to start
Here are a few pics from last night – the GENBAND PR and marketing team and the band Kansas.
Richard Shockey – Chairman of the Board, SIP Forum takes the stage
Real-time voice is a $140 billion business in industry revenue according to Rich who reinforces the need to protect this revenue.
30% of voice is IP – we will soon be at 75%.
Real-time video to video calling over PSTN is a service we will soon be providing.
Fragmentation is the friend of the network carrier – people pay for QoS and QoE. Don’t worry about OTT. “I reject the notion that Facebook is the new phone company. If someone says this, ask them what they are smoking and why they are not sharing.”
He went on to say SMS beat a lot of OTT competitors.
Caller ID Spoofing and robocalls make the regulators furious – they will act if the industry does not.
There will be issues as we move to IP – no Tandems – where will you interconnect?
Phone numbers will be kept for life – like domain names.
Walt Disney company is the greatest threat to net neutrality – the fee structure is out of control. A rural carrier needs to pay $10.20/month per sub for ESPN. “I do not think this is sustainable.” In Canada there is retail and wholesale a la carte.
When Verizon tried to give customers access to a skinny cable package, they were sued by Disney.
Net neutrality kicks in on June 12th – there are many lawsuits – we will see what happens. Carriers may be trying to delay this until after the next election.
Scott Belcher – CEO, TIA takes the stage
Video – you want to be at the table – not on it. Sounds familiar – the idea is the TIA will help you deal with the government, tech standards, research – a bit salesy but that’s why people agree to speak.
Talk of how they represent the telecom industry across government agencies – fighting tower standards in California – highest level of seismic controls – would be tremendously expensive. Currently, cell towers survive the local environmental disasters.
“We represent the broad cross section of ecosystem – not just hardware and software. Not just carriers. Communications are changing and evolving. – all starting to morph together.”
$43 billion a year is likely not being spent in telecom industry thanks to the uncertainty surrounding net neutrality.
Jim Patterson – CEO, Patterson Advisory Group takes the stage
Discussion of when a mobile device is more convenient – for boarding passes, navigation, etc. Mobile may be the only way to access information going forward.
“If mobile is so important, then why do so many carriers treat it as a second class citizen?”
If the traditional web wet away and all that was left was mobile, would you be read
Efficiency is a standard and highly efficient apps will be rewarded. We love Google Maps – millions of 4 and 5 star ratings – the likelihood of consumers switching is low.
Why aren’t compensation structures and profit goals based on current assets? “We are a very asset-intensive industry. We need to ask this more and more and more if we expect investors to want to invest in this industry.”
You need to leverage your assets well if you expect to be a market leader.
I spoke at length at the end of the event with Patrick Joggerst – CMO at the end of the event who helped put the company in perspective – no pun intended. You see, an event like the one we just attended is about glitz and glamor – what’s next. GENBAND however is more than just NFV, WebRTC and an OTT competitor carriers can embrace.
For those of you in the investment community or if you’re someone who wants to understand GENBAND in sum, this could be instructive.
- There is the network transformation part of the business as all about software eating the world – the death of custom hardware and moving to virtualized clouds.
- Enterprise transformation is the part of the business which didn’t fit in this show which had a carrier focus but it deals with large enterprises who have corporate switches as large as a small carrier. The play here is Experius or Nuvia (hosted Experius) allows these entities which include government agencies to move to the latest UC solutions while keeping their endpoints. No other company can work with the curent Nortel endpoints so this could be a huge reason to go with GENBAND if you are an existing Nortel Enterprise switch customer.
- Then there is service or fring and PaaS which is Kandy. The idea here is how you can rapidly compete with OTT and more – if you’ve made it this far, you know what I mean already.
- Finally there is the WAG Wireless Access Gateway which sits in the network and allows roaming between WiFi and LTE.
In short the event seemed to do what was needed – it educated carriers on how they can compete with OTT more effectively, brought them up to speed on net neutrality and allowed for plenty of networking. I noticed the partner turnout was very strong this year – generally a good sign of a healthy ecosystem. In addition there has been talk of the Oracle acquisition of Acme Packet being helpful for competitors due to price increases and employee turnover – all good news for GENBAND as well as Metaswitch and Sansay.