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CEO of BroadSoft, Michael Tessler, sits-down to discuss, what he believes, is the “most strategic initiative in BroadSoft’s history”. This podcast captures Tessler’s thoughts on BroadSoft’s newest solution – a comprehensive platform that brings together all of our Unified Communication elements, including user experience, mobility, openness and go-to-market support. Enjoy the listen to find out more!
This New Year BroadSoft celebrates over 13 years of a singular focus developing the most advanced communications applications software for IP networks. As BroadSoft continues to develop and deploy a robust set of communication services, our community, and the market at large, prospers from the path of rapid growth and innovation. Stepping foot into another year of change and growth, we would like to share our view of five major changing market dynamics alongside our vision for BroadSoft in 2012.
- #1 – We will innovative and deliver solutions that leverage the growing abundance of mobile broadband.
Quality broadband is a key enabler for real time communication in the cloud. As we rapidly move from a world of scarce to abundant broadband, those in the market have the opportunity to build completely new value propositions surrounding visual communications and collaboration. While such movement will spur emerging industry players, BroadSoft will meet this challenge by continuing our innovative product development. In the New Year, BroadSoft Service providers customers will have the opportunity to leverage the explosive growth of 4G and LTE deployments to fundamentally change the way we communicate.
- #2 – We will introduce new, quick and easy to deploy, cloud services that deliver our unified communications solutions
Cloud services have evolved from simply placing enterprise applications in the cloud to true multi-tenant applications with open APIs. For instance, the highest levels of security and management have allowed enterprises to customize and integrate services into their operating environment. The growing adoption of cloud services by the enterprise has powered a growth in specialty cloud applications and a deprecation of cost in cloud deployments – two trends we expect to see continue through the New Year. BroadSoft has harnessed the power of the cloud to rapidly deploy and innovate our BroadCloud implementations. In 2012, BroadSoft Service providers will leverage value-added solutions resulting from BroadSoft’s continued investment in these applications and their open APIs, as well the integration of BroadSoft’s real time communications services into other applications.
- #3 – We will super-charge our go-to-market program
Go-to-market programs in 2012 will focus on the new end user – the end user who wants to decide how, when, and where to communicate. Individuals now expect a variety of optimized and integrated communications options, and they are focused on simplicity and efficiency. BroadSoft’s go-to-market program, along with continued innovation and offerings in UC services, will focus on how people desire to communicate. Whether the real-time services include new innovations in video calling, chat, collaboration and conferencing, as well as non-real-time services such as email and social networking, 2012 service providers will bring to market and package an optimal experience around the user who expects more than just voice.
- #4 – We will provide an industry leading consumer mobile solution that is scalable, reliable and is easy to operate
Some estimates assume that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices. The proliferation of smart devices brings subsequent connections to our global networks and the utilization of operating systems with open application development environments, such as iOS and Android. In such an environment, we believe the most successful services, such as Apple iTunes, Blackberry email and the Skype service, combine an intuitive user experience with powerful cloud applications. BroadSoft Service provider customers in the New Year will capture the power and proliferation of these devices through an intuitive user experience, specifically through leading user interface solutions. By bringing the power of the cloud onto these devices, a focus on the end user will help make each experience personal.
- #5 – We will continue to enhance our unified communications solution with an increased focus on the end user
Why do so many of us have to pick up our phones to send a text message when we are working on our laptops? Why must we use special devices for video calling? Why must we dial into retrieve voice mail? Users in the New Year will not only want, but expect, a unified experience across all of their real-time communication services. As an industry, we have been developing the standards and technology that supports a powerful shift in integrated communication services. So what does this look like?
- Users install applications on their many devices and these devices then register with their cloud communication services.
- These applications ensure a seamless experience across the devices, so that users can establish service from that device.
- The applications provide access to a full range of services including video calling, conferencing, voice mail, text messaging, collaboration, chat and presence.
Service providers in the New Year have the unique opportunity to bring together a rich set of real-time communications services along with the power of social networks, providing a true unified communications experience. Service providers who can take advantage of seamless services will capture this market, while end users will benefit from the freedom to use the right device at the right time for work or pleasure.
To achieve our five objectives, BroadSoft’s community can plan on leveraging our robust set of communication services, including:
In the New Year and beyond, these elements will continue to evolve and provide our community the tools to be successful and deliver even greater value to our customers. Combined with BroadSoft’s leading services, we believe the industry trends support our vision for BroadSoft and sets up the environment for us all to be successful for many years to come. BroadSoft would like to thank you for joining us the past 13 years and we look forward to enjoying a very spectacular New Year with you!
Over the last two months, those of us at BroadSoft have been witness to a flurry of activity. With our continued focus on end-user needs, BroadSoft announced the completion of two acquisitions and a number of new additions to our unified communications services designed to ensure our service provider customers remain at the forefront of hosted communications services offerings.
Our newest services include:
- BroadWorks® BusinessLink - A fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) solution for SIP trunking that extends the features of a PBX to a mobile device, such as extension dialing, attendant console and call recording, without the need for a user to upgrade their handset or download a mobile client.
- BroadCloud™ Instant Messaging & Presence - A federated service across BroadWorks-enabled service provider networks that allow users to chat individually and in groups. This service integrates a subscriber’s desk and mobile phone status, allowing users to know if their colleagues are on the phone, in a meeting or away.*
- BroadWorks Meet-Me Audio Conferencing - A high-definition (HD), scalable and reliable conferencing application, that delivers a superior sound quality experience, supports hundreds of users on a single conference session and offers both reservation-less and scheduled conferencing capabilities.
- BroadCloud Text Messaging - Enables users to send or receive text messages using a fixed-line, work or home number, through an easy-to-use application on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Text messages sent from the application will appear as messages originating from a user’s work or home phone number; giving users a single number for both voice and text.** (North America only)
- BroadCloud Web Collaboration - BroadCloud Web Collaboration offers service providers a cost-effective, feature-rich web collaboration service that tightly integrates with their UC capabilities, extending their brand value, increasing customer loyalty and reducing churn. By leveraging web-based service management tools, service providers can efficiently provision and bill UC services.
We continue to extend our UC capabilities to ensure end-users can communicate using the service that best meets their situation, whether voice, text messaging or conferencing, keeping them connected from anywhere.
* Commercially available December 2011
** Commercially available November 2011
At the opening of BroadSoft Connections 2010, I laid out three challenges for our service provider partners. I’d like to reflect on one of these today – my challenge to share success stories and go-to-market (GTM) best practices.
Our industry continues to move rapidly toward hosted and cloud services; we have watched UC implementation rates double year-over-year as reported by the CDW in its third annual Unified Communications Tracking Poll. In the same report, the CDW found 20 percent of medium and large businesses have fully implemented their UC solution, compared to just two percent one year ago, while they predict mobility needs are further driving on-the-go access features of UC adoption. Infonetics Research likewise predicted increased VoIP infiltration – specifically through the business market – predicting a $74.5 billion VoIP services market by 2015.
However, we believe having a successful service requires more than just great technology and a willing market. Our service provider partners need to excel in all aspects of GTM to ensure they have a compelling offer, a winning sales team, excellent fulfillment and support, and great demand generation.
BroadSoft is doing our part to assist – we increased our investment in GTM support resources, we built the BroadSoft XcelerateSM website to help our partners succeed with GTM, and we built an increasing number of tools such as the Top Ten Keys to Success. As a supplement to working with your BroadSoft account manager and our internal teams, we urge you to use these BroadSoft Xcelerate resources to build a great GTM strategy.
Our industry is growing fast, and when we help each other we continue to drive the market away from premise-based solutions and towards hosted and cloud services. Help us all win – share your success stories and share your keys to success.
Over this summer, look for BroadSoft to share more information and case studies and tools as part of our Xcelerate program and look for this to be a focus of our BroadSoft Connections event in October.
Remember my challenge from Connections 2010 – we want you to be a part of the go-to-market solution and drive value from collaboration. Visit our LinkedIn Group at
and share your success stories here!
At our annual executive users’ conference in October, I talked about three ways the BroadSoft ecosystem can “connect our networks” in order to deliver the superior user experience and communication services being demanded today. In my opinion, our ecosystem needs to:
- Create the largest, innovative developer network
- Share our successes in order to grow awareness of hosted communication solutions
- Connect our networks to deliver ubiquitous high-definition voice and video
Let me share more on how you can drive growth and productive conversation in each of these areas.
Create the largest, innovative developer network
At BroadSoft we have spent the last 18 months investing in the design and development of our Xtended program, which is comprised of three elements: 1) RESTful APIs, 2) a robust developer program & 3) an e-Commerce enabled marketplace. We have committed both time and financial resources to all aspects of this program, enabling our customers to open their networks and mutually benefit from the investments of third party developers.
BroadSoft’s global service provider customers deliver communication services to over half a billion individuals in both their work and personal lives. A uniquely attractive audience to third-party developers, the desire and capabilities to build innovative applications will only increase as our ecosystem encourages this growth. Integration of communication services with additive innovative offerings and web-based applications, such as CRM services, increase the value of our IP-based networks, helping us retain our existing customers and attract new customers. So I am asking the BroadSoft customer base to:
- Open the Xtended APIs on their network
- Customize and launch an Xtended Marketplace and
- Join the community in recruiting new developers and promoting their applications
Everything that is needed to get started has been built and tested. Since BroadSoft Connections, I have personally reached out to several of our service provider customers who appreciate the value of BroadSoft Xtended. They have agreed to lead the charge in this effort – I hope you will join them.
Share our successes in order to grow awareness of hosted communication solutions
Another way we can jointly drive the adoption of hosted communications is by connecting our networks in terms of combined marketing power. By sharing our successes and detailed case studies, we help better define the value enterprises and individuals are experiencing through hosted communications. Through the global communication of such value, we will mutually drive the increased adoption of hosted unified communications, which has reached its highest growth level since 2008 (Dell’Oro Group, 2010).
While the awareness has grown significantly, we have a long way to go. We want every business owner and decision maker to realize they have a choice: to use a hosted service versus tying up people and capital on deploying out-dated enterprise based systems. I personally hear from our customers amazing and motivating success stories that they have helped enterprises succeed in their primary business purpose when they are no longer worried about their communication services. They are entrusting the experts in telecommunications to keep their businesses running.
I am asking all BroadSoft customers to share these success stories. In order to facilitate this openness, we introduced a new Web site, Xcelerate, with the single goal of helping you become more successful in launching and selling hosted UC. There are many great resources available on the site (Marketing Campaign Tools, Sales Battlecards, Demonstration Videos, and much more) and I encourage all BroadSoft customers to use these tools, while also contributing to the group.
Connect our networks to deliver ubiquitous high-definition voice and video
For a number of years, we have talked about the connection of our networks over IP to enable global high-definition voice and video. With the tremendous interest in high definition audio and video, we must connect our individual islands if we are to benefit from this growth. As I travel around the world, the interest level around SIP based video is exploding in both fixed and mobile networks and the time to interconnect is now. There are several companies, such as PCCW Global, focused on enabling this interconnectivity. I encourage everyone to talk with these companies in order to find ways to bridge our islands and take the upmost advantage of this unique opportunity before it passes us by.
The delivery of high-quality, superior communication experience, is our business. We cannot let others erode it. Let’s start by connecting our networks in these three ways. Please let me know what you think by commenting below.
If you did not know already, I am very excited to share that last Wednesday, June 16, 2010, BroadSoft became a public company with the completion of our IPO. Our stock is trading under the symbol BSFT on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Since founding BroadSoft, Scott Hoffpauir and I have always been so proud of the excellence, the dedication and the professionalism of our BroadSoft team. The entire team helped achieve this milestone.
We had a little fun, ringing the closing bell at the NASDAQ last week. Take a look.
In a big announcement made last week at the Cloud Computing Expo, eight BroadSoft customers unveiled the Cloud Communications Alliance, a consortium dedicated to bringing unified communications to businesses in a smarter, easier and more strategic manner – because it’s delivered as a hosted “cloud” application.
This consortium is made up of a great group of companies. Alteva, Broadcore, Callis Communications, Consolidated Technologies, IPFone, SimpleSignal, Stage 2 Networks, and Telesphere have all been huge innovators in our space. And this Alliance shows that they’re just as innovative in business models as they are with technology and market offers.
What I like about this is that the Alliance isn’t just talking about hosted voice or hosted PBX – they’re changing the game in lots of different ways:
- End-to-End High Definition Voice for business-to-business HD (not just intra-company islands);
- End-to-End availability of video for business-to-business video;
- Mobile phone integration, including apps like IPFone’s iPhone applications;
- Nationwide disaster recovery and business continuity; and
- Business App mashups with Microsoft Office Communicator, Salesforce.com, and much more.
The Alliance has gotten tons of well deserved press on this already (Network World, TMCnet, VoIP Planet, Billing & OSS World and WirelessWeek). This is great coverage, which brings a lot more visibility to the power and benefits of hosted business communications.
But the real news, I believe, is that what we’re seeing now is an adoption shift, not a development shift. We’re at the point where the hosted/cloud UC solutions are real, proven and ready – and now the shift we’ll see is about adoption: more customers becoming aware of and choosing to go with a hosted/cloud option. I believe that the creation of the Alliance is a huge step forward in accelerating that adoption shift.
So cheers to the Cloud Communications Alliance, which has changed the game yet again.
Recently en route to Panama, I spent my time on the plane as I usually do—going through a stack of magazines to catch up on what’s going on and get some new ideas. But an article in Technology Review entitled “Urban Renewal” got me thinking about an old idea: telecommuting.
Did you know that half the world’s population currently lives in urban areas? By 2050, 70 percent will live in and around cities. The TR article discusses how in the future, transportation systems will have to change dramatically to handle the mass movement of people to and from work every day without negatively affecting the environment. Traffic here on DC’s Capitol Beltway is truly brutal today—I can’t imagine what it’ll be like 40 years from now.
So what happened to the idea of telecommuting? I’m surprised at the generally low level of telecommuting today. More telecommuting would certainly ease road congestion, cut fuel consumption and reduce pollution—not to mention the amount of stressful, unproductive time that so many people spend sitting in traffic jams every workday.
I think that successful telecommuting requires just a few key elements:
- Management leadership. Management needs to encourage telecommuting and support employees with trust and training to make it a win-win proposition for their employees and companies alike.
- Training. All employees who want to telecommute need to learn the right and wrong ways to work from home. They need training in best practices for working away from the office.
- The right tools. Telecommuters will need certain tools to maintain their connection with the office and its enterprise-level technologies to keep up their productivity as they work in remote locations.
The good news is that those tools are readily available right now.
Take BroadWorkstm Anywheretm as an example. Even though I travel a great deal, I rarely give out my cell phone number. I generally give everyone my business phone number because BroadWorks Anywhere extends the features of my desk telephone to softphones and mobile phones regardless of manufacturer or network. So no matter where I am, anyone can get in touch with me, and the caller’s contact information is displayed to me on the incoming call.
And think about all of the other IP-based communication services designed to make us all more productive—that’s the essence of unified communications. You just need to be online with a smartphone or computer. You can see who else is on, make or take phone calls, set up and sit in on conference calls, get messages and email, text, tweet and fax. You can even attend video conferences from wherever you happen to be working on a given day. The UC features don’t care if you are sitting at headquarters or in your home office–they just work.
At BroadSoft we’ve partnered with Microsoft to integrate with Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Version 4.5, which allows users to work from virtually anywhere. We also recently introduced BroadWorkstm Connector for Lotustm Sametimetm –a powerful plug-in that enables enterprises to access BroadSoft’s IP telephony and unified communications capabilities from within IBM’s UC2 platform.
As I said last summer, I believe now is the time for video. A video conference is like being there. There are other important video business applications, as well. We’ve partnered with Polycom to launch a number of joint video solutions. Along the same lines we’ve also collaborated with Tandberg to launch new hosted video business solutions that providers can offer to their customers in an affordable, hassle-free service model.
At BroadSoft we personally experience the tremendous benefits of these communications options on a daily basis. Many of our employees work from remote locations, connecting to headquarters via the latest video phones using the latest Web-collaboration and document-sharing tools. These employees are virtually connected, allowing our global employee base to work as one.
I believe that there’s great opportunity for our service providers in helping companies implement telecommuting programs. The incentives are obvious: Telecommuting saves money, improves productivity and reduces the impact of commuting on the environment.
With all of the benefits available through UC today, maybe traffic on the Beltway won’t be so bad in 2050 after all.
If you are not familiar with super blogger Andy Abramson’s Voice 3.0 Manifesto – I recommend you take a look at an interesting blog post from Alec Saunders’s SquawkBox that crisply captures the premise. At a high-level, the concept centers on three main tenets – the given being that carriers will survive. Second – they must change, even more than they have, what they offer customers. And lastly – and perhaps most importantly is that they need to see their platform – as just that – a foundation for applications that enhance both business and personal communications. This means it’s time they boost their interest in working with and supporting the third-party developers who bring these applications to market.
The good news is that many providers are already embracing this – not just the newer next-gen service providers– large Tier 1 operators like Orange have been early adopters in this area.
However getting to the next level will take work and several significant commitments on the part of carriers. First, they must open their networks, then they need to create channels that provide an easy path for developers to connect with them, and lastly, they must make the user experience the top priority. Let me expand on each point.
Open Carrier Networks — This is a critical requirement. A carrier network can’t be a platform unless it’s architected as such, obviously. BroadSoft supports the “carrier is the platform” requirement via the technology leg of the BroadSoft Xtended program. Fully-documented RESTful APIs built into the core platform allow a BroadWorks-powered service provider to enrich their offer with external applications.
Linking Developers and Service Providers — Linking developers and service providers is also of great importance since very few providers will have the time, resources or interest in developing all of the apps consumers and businesses are demanding. Some providers, like Comcast, are acquiring applications (see their Plaxo acquisition), others have the internal R&D staff to write their own applications, but the reality is that because of limited engineering resources and lack of domain-specific knowledge, most service providers will need to partner with third-party developers to bring apps to market.
BroadSoft supports this ‘meet up’ of service providers and developers through the second and third legs of BroadSoft Xtended – a Developer’s Program that gives developers all the code, documentation, and test beds needed to build innovative apps, and an e-commerce-enabled Marketplace that allows service providers to launch their own apps stores with third-party apps sourced through the Xtended program.
The User Experience — Finally, the user experience is ultimately what drives success…it’s not the technology mash-up. What BroadSoft brings to the table is not only Xtended-powered integration into the Apps service providers’ customers use every day (Microsoft Office, Salesforce.com, Sametime, and on and on), but also integration into the Devices their customers use every day (video phones, mobile phones, smartphones, IP phones, televisions, and cool new devices like the ‘fourth screen’ by Openpeak shown at Connections). Our ecosystem, and unique relationships with device vendors, means we’re committed to making sure innovative communications apps aren’t web-only, but are tightly integrated into the myriad of devices used today…to ensure a seamless user experience.
We expanded on these concepts at our executive users’ conference last week, Connections 2009, demonstrating how the integration of Web 2.0 technology, independent developers, and devices result in compelling apps and a unified user experience. In our coveted Show Me the Apps session, we brought this to life showcasing several innovative solutions, including a new hotel hospitality application from Ingenius and a powerful doctor’s office prescription management application from DiamondPhone. Both are practical examples of the integration that is possible as a result of the Xtended-powered linkage between developers, BroadSoft and service providers.
Quality. I know it when I see it.
Many years ago I read a book entitled I Know It When I See It: A Modern Fable About Quality that illustrates how difficult it is to identify and describe a quality product or service and that many times it is easier to describe poor quality.
Today we announced that we will acquire Packet Island, a leader in Quality of Service (QoS) assurance for both VoIP and Video services. Our rationale for this acquisition is simple; we feel that quality is critical for the evolution of our industry and that being able to deliver a cost effective way for our carriers to ensure quality is important. It might be hard to describe a high quality voice call, but we can all describe the attributes (and frustration) of a poor quality call. Clearly, one of the remaining obstacles to convincing customers to move to VoIP and Video communications is their concern about how well they will hear and see the other person.
When we witnessed Packet Island’s power to first qualify the ability of a customer’s network to run voice and video and then to monitor and identify possible problems in both the LAN and WAN, we knew we had to make it a part of the BroadSoft solution. This complete lifecycle assessment and monitoring approach will ensure that our customers can deliver superior, quality service to their customers.
The second exciting part of this acquisition is the service delivery method, which is a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. This approach does not require a major investment by our customers to get started, so we can quickly deliver the service to them and make an immediate, positive impact on our industry. This is a first for BroadSoft, expanding from our networked base BroadWorks solutions to a cloud- based service. This is an exciting new way for us to deliver value, and we will continue to explore other cloud-based services that will benefit our customers.
Finally, I want to personally welcome Praveen Kumar, Packet Island’s founder, and his team to BroadSoft. I know their expertise will quickly contribute to the growth of our business.