I predicted the purchase of M5 by ShoreTel back in 2012 could get Vonage to consider going after the business space and a year later they purchased Vocalocity and a suite of companies to enable them to not only target the small business market but all the way up to the largest of the large companies. In an exclusive interview with Clark Peterson, President of Vonage Business Solutions, I got to learn a great deal about what is happening at the company.
Through three channel-based companies they purchased, they now 600,000 business seats as compared to 1.9 million on the residential side. Clark touted the fact that his company has better financial stability than most of the others in the space. I am sure some might disagree but regardless, the Vonage name has a tremendous legacy associated with it… The company not only help launched the consumer VoIP space, its aggressive marketing helped a multibillion dollar IP communications market come to life. Back in 2003 when the fortunes of the communication market weren’t looking that good, Vonage ads showed there was a company which believed they could sell an OTT service to consumers – bypassing telcos. Immediately, the cable companies and CSPs responded by investing in competitive services and IP communications in general.
Frankly I’m surprised it took the company this long but they had the resources to not only enter the market but quickly dominate it.
They have 212 POPs and can deliver service in a proprietary fashion for SMBs and for the enterprise they have Broadsoft as well as the Transera contact center solution I recently described. In addition, they can provide LiveOps or InContact solutions. They can also provide IaaS, virtual desktops, hosted MS Exchange and hosted Skype for Business.
A big differentiator is SmartWAN – real-time packet optimization which is similar to those provided by standalone SD-WAN companies such as CloudGenix. He explained customers are trading in their T1s for a few consumer broadband services and in the process they get better quality as well as auto-failover. Their cloud-level SmartWAN solution includes a customer premise device (CPE) which allows Vonage to track MOS scores as well as jitter.
What may surprise you is the fact they have customers with tens of thousands of seats. If you have strong memories of Vonage of the home phone company, you realize they have really grown up.
Some of their differentiators are QoS everywhere – over SmartWAN as well as MPLS. They also have their proprietary Zeus service delivery solution which allows you to track new installs, commissions, moves/ads/changes and more – from various devices. He likens it to a SFA solution coupled with MS Project. Vonage President Alan Masarek told our very own Erik Linask about this in September of last year.
In one case, a customers had 21 VARs and 19 phone vendors supporting their disparate solutions and Vonage was able to wrap it all up into a single solution with “one throat to choke” a term vendors typically don’t like but is quite descriptive. The best part may be there was no capital outlay to make all of this happen and there are economies of scale not realized with disparate solutions.
If you follow the company, you know you also get a great app – it has presence, chat and a conference bridge. I got a good demo of how it works. The future? Expect to see them grow in various vertical spaces as well as in Asia and Europe.
Vonage has really grown up. They were late the business space but are now full speed ahead becoming a major global phone company.