By technology standards, Dialogic is a veteran – having been established in 1983, the company has supplied communications infrastructure used by carriers, enterprises and developers for many, many decades. The New Jersey company enjoyed the benefit of providing solutions which could be paid for by arbitrage. In the late eighties and nineties, Dialogic boards allowed companies to build computer-telephony solutions which used off-the-shelf computers to compete with custom-built hardware solutions from manufacturers of telecom equipment. Even though Dialogic boards were not cheap, solutions based on their products cost far less than alternatives on the market thanks to the ability to leverage PCs and servers. Over time, expensive long-distance rates were chopped down by Dialogic products which helped launch the international call-back market allowing international users to call a US number and hang up – only to have a call initiated from the US, using much cheaper calling rates. From there, the IP telephony or VoIP market was invented – allowing Dialogic boards to take traditional analog voice calls, compress and packetize them and send them over the Internet as well as corporate networks.
In my opinion, the company’s mission has always been to enable communications to become far more flexible and cost-effective by leveraging commoditized hardware. For example, much of the voicemail market relied on their boards and when carriers wanted to add ring-back services, quite often they used Dialogic components.
In the late nineties there was a big trend in the market to provide application generators or app-gens – the idea being you could use a drag-and-drop interface to develop IVR, ACD and other voice applications… Press one for sales, press two for service, etc. As hot as the market was at the time, it became less talked about as developers started to leverage open-source and cloud solutions instead of traditional in-house or customer-premise based solutions.
An interesting thing has happened over the years… Customers still need to develop solutions based on Dialogic products and they need help doing it but they don’t have as many options available to them. As a result, Dialogic has purchased application development leader, Apex Communications – the company founded by Elhum Vahdat, based in southern California. Apex has had close ties to Dialogic for decades.
Dialogic PowerVille will be the name of the company’s new applications division. Some may see this move as a conflict with existing partners but it really doesn’t seem to be, as Dialogic has said they do not plan to offer application services in the contact center or fax markets as they already have partners in these spaces. What kind of apps might we see? Ones which ping your phone when a camera detects motion or which integrate WebRTC with social networks. In other instances, we might see a traditional voice app being converted to the cloud, VoIP or even VoLTE.
Prepackaged apps will consist of things like white label Centrex, visual IVR, audio and video conferencing and a number of Class 4 and 5 applications. The company will continue its relationship with Broadsoft as customers want to move more into the Class 5 arena.
Dialogic may be unique in being able to combine custom and prepackaged apps and enabling elements under one umbrella. Their portfolio includes a variety of applications that can be customized easily to meet the needs of operators around the world, including adding video to existing voice solutions, migrating existing voice / video solutions to WebRTC-based solutions and/or IMS/VoLTE-based solutions, and various forms of IoT communication applications.
The first arbitrage opportunity I spelled out at the top of this piece – using off the shelf hardware to produce more flexible communications systems is similar to what is powering the carrier move to NFV today. Expect this company with its media server and new flexible real-time communications load balancer to be on the short list of carriers looking to virtualize their network functions – especially when solutions can now become more flexible thanks to custom app development.
Dialogic also released a new logo and Tim Moynihan and Jim Machi promised me there will be lots of exciting news soon to report such as a large win in a tier one mobile operator in Japan. Stay tuned.