Much of the communications solutions industry owes a debt of gratitude to Dialogic – the company that really helped pave the way for the once disparate worlds of voice and data to work together. The company was a major player in the communications enabling equipment market in the eighties and nineties allowing “off the shelf” computers for the first time, to host telephony apps. If you’ve heard the acronyms CTI or computer telephony integration or just plain CT it’s because Dialogic, NMS and a few other companies permitted computer servers to handle media processing tasks. If you’re interested in more about the company – check out my posts or those on TMCnet.
The news of the day, though, is the company has a new CEO, Bill Crank, a man with tremendous telecom experience – in M&A and business development. He is at the helm of this organization that was once a division of Intel – then spun out to later become a public company through an acquisition to later become a private company owned by Novacap.
I spoke with Bill for a while to learn where the company is headed. Here is a recap:
Much of the proprietary hardware they once made, has moved to software and the cloud which means for the most part, they make the software powering next-gen networks.
The specific product likes consist of:
- Media processing and application enablement
- IMS infrastructure and switching
- Signaling and “classic” or the former boards and interface products of yesteryear
Basically – they are moving to software and still supporting the legacy products which make sense as their partners still sell these boards and other solutions.
You know, I’ve been one of the biggest proponents of NFV – the move to software by carrier equipment providers. I’ve pushed hard on the concept of software telco – the idea that carriers will over time rely on “off the shelf” computers and software rather than proprietary hardware to run their networks. Bill shares this vision and explains this is a big part of the reason he came to the company.
He expects to continue investing in R&D and even upping the spend. The company’s next-gen solutions are now in 50 labs – many are in testing and will soon announce deployment. Moreover, Dialogic has partnered with Mavenir, Ericsson and others who in some cases are competitors on other product lines. This coopetition is best described as working with partners to fill holes in your product portfolio in order to keep customers happy.
The biggest challenge, according to him, is the confusion in the market as the pace of change keeps speeding up. Consider that carriers can choose from hardware, software and cloud, and as the transition has taken place, a host of new vendors and options have presented themselves, making it more challenging to determine what to buy. Throw in competition from OTT, social, WebRTC, mobile and other newer technologies and you can see it is a tough time to make a decision which could cost millions of dollars and lock in your direction for years to come.
From the outside, looking in, its not just Bill who gives me confidence that the company has a story worth believing in. The ever-talented Jim Machi has been onboard for well over a decade and has done an amazing job navigating through turbulent waters and business transformation during that time. Tim Moynihan rejoined some time back, and is another major telecom talent. Finally, there is Alan Percy who joined from AudioCodes – someone who is well-respected and has one of the best set of relationships in the market.
In short, there is something special going on at this company, and if you think of Dialogic as the old board company from the eighties and not the new software company powering next-gen networks around the globe, you are missing out on one of the best kept secrets in the communications space.