Reflections on Connections 2015

Nov 2015

Each October every major carrier in the world makes their way to Phoenix for the Broadsoft Connections meeting. It’s a time when the competitive gloves come off, and we learn about each other’s organizations and innovations.

As a leading provider of the hosted communications or cloud VoIP market, Altus was asked to make a presentation covering our key insights on the market dynamics. We see the communications industry rapidly evolving from all sides. Disruptive technologies are enabling organizations to essentially stay current with technology without having to go through a lot of the pain associated with legacy carriers and hardware vendors. Gone are the days of lines and minute usage, trunks and ports and endless feature matrixes with the accompanying hardware maintenance contracts. Flexibility, mobility and employee productivity are in.

One of the best parts of Connections this year was a customer panel comprised of a global hotel operator, a State University from the Big 10 Conference, and a regional consulting firm. This discussion was particularly interesting as each customer had very different challenges and, therefore, turned to hosted VoIP for different reasons:

# 1 The hotel chain has contracts with every major equipment vendor in the world and was dealing with PMS integration challenges with every legacy system, cabling plant and the need to provide 911 services to/from the hotel rooms.

  • The representative asked the audience to raise their hands if they used the phone in their hotel room during the stay at the conference. Five people out of 2,000+ raised their hands!
  • This chain ditched using copper cabling plant for fiber based GPON or gigabit Ethernet that supports a wide variety media. In one recent case at a new property, it would have required 45,000 lbs of copper to wire the hotel. At a lower cost, they instead used GPON technology to wire the hotel, which put them at an advantage both from a guest experience and an increased revenue opportunity for guest services.
  • The hotel chain is making a concerted push with its franchisees deploy hosted VoIP that provides a clean integration with their PMS platform
  • This decision not only reduced the costs of services but also allowed them to utilize more space in the hotel for guest space as a telephone system often takes up the space of one hotel room.

#2 The University spokesperson was dealing with an 18,000 line campus-wide telephone system that was in need of expensive hardware upgrades.

  • Only a very small fraction of the 18,000 lines were used on a regular basis as most students and faculty preferred mobile phones.
  • The University took what seemed at first blush a radical approach by moving to hosted VoIP but with a campus-wide Wi-Fi network and mobile applications for hosted VoIP, they quickly realized their only need was for 800 physical phone sets!
  • Ultimately the University moved to hosted VoIP and has saved the taxpayers millions of dollars while enhancing the communications on campus.

#3 The regional consulting firm had a completely different view of hosted VoIP.

  • 20% of their workforce was older and demanded to have traditional telephone services available from a PBX
  • 80% of their workforce were using off-the-shelf consumer applications for chat, video and desktop collaboration and other services they needed which they couldn’t get with a traditional PBX. No uniform standards were in place, and the organization was dysfunctional regarding interoperability.
  • The firm chose hosted VoIP, which enabled their older workforce to have traditional services and brought the 80% of the other user community under the same system with added functionality of mobile, chat/instant messaging, video from any device to any other device, desktop sharing and workgroup collaboration.

As you can see from these real-world examples, varying organizations share similar issues as they experience what the paradigm shift in communications means to their operations. The common theme was their move to hosted VoIP to solve their complex problems. We’re looking forward to next year, which is moving from Phoenix to San Antonio!

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