Thanks Ken!

My friend Ken Camp picked up my last post and added his comments. At the same time Ken was nice enough to write about our friendship and how he views what we are doing at the Flat Planet Phone Company.

Ken is going over a bump in his professional life and I hope he will get to the next stage quickly. Ken is a sharp analyst, talented author, blogger and energetic speaker. There are many companies out there who would benefit from his skills. Good Luck, Ken.

Can you teach a telecom guy – software based communications?

On the tails of Broadsoft buying Sylantro and the great analysis by Thomas Howe and Jon Arnold, I would like to add an additional perspective.

There is no question that Broadsoft is the leading provider in their market. The big question in my mind is what the carriers do after they buy the Broadsoft platform. If I look at the carriers that I am familiar with the answer is not much. It seems that all they are looking for is to deploy the same ho-hum services at a lower price than their legacy systems. Nothing exciting.

If they are going the IP route why not take advantage of the tremendous possibilities that an IP platform brings with it? Look at what startups such as Fonolo, Iotum, Voxbone, Mobivox, Jajah, Jazinga and others are doing. What is the stopping the big guys doing the same on their IP platforms?

The answer may be in a conversation I had almost 2 years ago with Ken Camp the IP Communications analyst. I was invited to present The Flat Planet Phone Company at the Etel Launchpad. In my presentation I took the example of a small home business starting a web store on Yahoo! on Yahoo! the wizard takes you thru all the steps of building a store. There is only one thing missing - a 800 number. Every online store needs one, Yahoo! setups a store including inventory management, credit card billing, all the tools you need – except a 800 number!

So in the presentation I showed how Yahoo! could immediately provision a 80 number and set up a professional greeting and IVR for the new store in a matter of minutes. During the Etel conference I had the opportunity to brief a number of bloggers and journalists. One of them was Ken, who described our vision as revolutionary. My reaction was “hey anybody can do this” to which Ken replied, “At At&t we tried for years to do immediate provisioning and we did not succeed…”

If you think about it, Ken’s remark sums it up. Telecom companies have their way of doing things, buying an IP platform is not enough, The whole culture has to change. The mindset has to change. I see it every day with customers who come from traditional telecom companies and are unable to grasp the new terminology and methodology. One customer who has a SIP trunk with us with incoming numbers from multiple countries, constantly talks to me about sending out calls on the Spanish line or on the German line. Although I have explained to him many times that with IP there is no line , all calls go over the same SIP trunk, he still comes back with the same questions every few months. So I ask – Can you teach a telecom guy – software based communications?? That is the question!

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VoIP is far from dead!

LG-Nortel IP Phone 8540Image via WikipediaReading Jon Arnolds post on TMC , reminds me that in the VoIP service industry for the last few years we are used to hearing 2 voices at the end of each year.

The first voice with the superficial view is always there to tell us how VoIP is dying and hey look Vonage the voip poster boy is almost bankrupt. Then you have what I call the smart people like my friends and fellow bloggers, Andy Abramson, Jon Arnold, Ken Camp, Thomas Howe and others who realize that VoIP is all about unlimited functionality and not at all about cheap calls!

With that horizon in sight, the news is that VoIP is just beginning. Businesses are only starting to understand what they can do by integrating their communications with their business processes. At the end of the day it is all bits and bytes – so why not?

At the Flat Planet Phone Company (where my salary comes from) it is amazing how many projects are coming together. Business people are starting to get it!

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