Growth In Hosted UCaaS and IP Telephony Not Limited To Big Providers

Frost & Sullivan has recently updated their North American Hosted IP Telephony and UCaaS Market, Forecast to 2023.  The news continues to be positive. The report shows that we can expect to continue on the current growth trajectory through 2023. In 2016, the market experienced healthy growth of 32.1 percent in terms of installed users and 30.6 percent in terms of revenue (without access).

Continued Growth Forecast

“Growing customer demand for more flexible technology consumption models to support digital transformation projects represents a key growth driver. Premises-based communications solutions reaching end of life and increasing availability of compelling UCaaS offerings are also encouraging the move to cloud communications.”

Not Limited To Big Providers

The other good news is that this growth is not limited to only a few big providers.

“Currently, the market is relatively untapped and can support a large number of providers with a diverse background and skill set. As the market matures, highly diversified telecommunications companies and software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers are likely to dominate the market,” said Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation Vice President Elka Popova.

The report states that such issues as security, control, and more flexible customization will be important drivers as companies continue to move away from premise-based systems. Bigger providers must deliver a more “cookie-cutter” solution in order to maintain scale. This is the antithesis of what customers are looking for.

We believe that a local provider (backed by an outstanding white label partner like SkySwitch)  is best positioned to deliver the customized solutions that many companies are looking for.

North American Hosted IP Telephony and UCaaS Market, Forecast to 2023 InfoGraphic

SkySwitch Featured In Telecom Reseller Podcast

Jayson Jones, Executive Vice-President of Business Development at SkySwitch was recently featured in a podcast with Douglas Green, Editor & Publisher of Telecom Reseller. In the podcast, Jayson discusses the recent expansion of the SkySwitch network, the Active-Active architecture that is used to deliver high-availability and the impact of the new Las Vegas geo-node on load balancing and network capacity.  They also follow-up on an earlier podcast that featured a discussion about the integration between SkySwitch and the Amazon Echo/Alexa products.

Jayson also explains the SkySwitch business model and how white label UCaaS providers realize significant benefits when they place their customers and VoIP traffic with SkySwitch.

You can listen to or download the podcast from this link.


VTech Desktop Cordless SIP Phones Now Available in SkySwitch Store

VTech, well known for their outstanding cordless DECT phones for the consumer market, is expanding  into the world of business SIP phones.

A unique feature of VTech Eris SIP phone line is the use of DECT cordless technology in desktop and conference room phones.  These phones can be deployed without the need for ethernet cabling by pairing them with an ErisTerminal base-station or repeater using DECT 6 technology.

Until now, there were two choices when deploying SIP phones in areas with no network cabling:  use a portable DECT SIP phone (like the Yealink W56P); or, use a Wifi dongle on a standard SIP handset .  Neither approach worked well for stationary users.  Wifi is notoriously bad when it comes to VoIP QoS, and most cordless handsets have small form factors that do not work well on a desk.  The VTech approach is unique because it pairs the desktop form factor with DECT cordless technology.

While these phones are missing some of the bells and whistles that are becoming de rigueur from other manufacturers (features such as color LCD and touchscreen display are not currently available) they look and feel solid and have all the basic features required for a hosted PBX user.   In deployments where ethernet cabling is a limitation, these phones definitely meet a need that is unfilled by other manufacturers.

The VTech ErisTerminal line of phones is now available for purchase in the SkySwitch Store.  In the coming weeks, single-screen provisioning will be available so that both the phone and the PBX can be auto-provisioned at the time of purchase.  Look for upcoming promotions that will make it easy for SkySwitch resellers to test-drive these phones.

Significant Upgrades And Improvements to Meeting Manager with Release 7.0

The ability to collaborate with co-workers or clients is a key driver for companies moving to a Unified Communications as a Service Platform. The upcoming release of Meeting Manager will significantly improve and enhance the user experience for this key component of our offering.

Highlights of the version 7.0

An Entirely New and Modernized GUI

All the functionality is there and accessible through a much smaller widget that takes considerably less desktop space. During a session, it can be minimized all the way down to this:

But just hovering over the widget instantly exposes every control Icon:

There is even more functionality available under the icons:

This is just the start of the benefits from the new interface. Here are a couple of screenshots showing off the new interface.

This is the new look for meeting set-up


Here is the scheduler:


Improved Integration with SkySwitch Platform

The web meeting audio will automatically be connected with the Meeting Host’s PBX conference bridge when a meeting starts. Previously, this required the Meeting Host to press a ‘Connect’ button. This screenshot shows a meeting in progress with the direct PBX Integration:

Additional New Features

Live Streaming.

Stream desktop, HD video, and audio to browser-based viewers across all platforms including PC, MAC, iOS and Android.

Up to 20 frames per second desktop sharing.

Share HD video and audio from your desktop to attendees at up to 20 frames per second. This incredible feature brings desktop sharing to the next level over the public Internet by delivering a smooth HD experience in real-time with only milliseconds of delay.

MAC HD Video Recording and Conversion to MP4.

It is now possible to record HD video and desktop sharing sessions on a MAC.  The file format of the recording can be converted to MP4 from the MAC.

More improvements in the future

We are already working on the next release of Meeting Manager that will include an integration with Google and Outlook calendars.

See the Tenfold Connector for Salesforce in Action

Tenfold has produced a video showing how the Salesforce Connector works with SkySwitch.

The Death Rattle Of On-Premise Telecom

For the past three days, every analyst, pundit, and blogger has been putting their own spin on Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft.

It’s about Consolidation

Some are saying that the biggest impact will be fewer available customers due to consolidation.  Others say there will be new opportunity, because many companies (particularly enterprises) have gone to BroadSoft because they did not want to use Cisco or Microsoft.

It’s about Cisco Spark  

Art Schoeller, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research has another take. He believes this is all about getting traction for Cisco Spark. “It’s as if the train had already left the station [for Cisco]. Nine times out of ten, BroadSoft was what I call the ‘weapons merchant,’ the white-label solution for many Tier 1 carriers … it’s cloud, multi-tenant, and BroadSoft has already worked through the economic model of working with a partner ecosystem that’s driving subscription solutions, not premise[s] solutions. So, Cisco is trying to get traction in the market for its multi-tenant solution, i.e. Spark and the future of Spark … the channel says, ‘I’ve already got one, BroadSoft.’”

It’s about Buying Access To Telcos

Rob Salvagno, head of Cisco’s M&A and venture investment team, wrote that Cisco chose BroadSoft not only for its portfolio of cloud collaboration platforms and business applications – assets Cisco already holds – but for BroadSoft’s partnerships with more than 450 telecom carriers in 80 countries, including 25 of the top 30 globally, and some 19 million BroadSoft business subscribers. This is simply Cisco’s way of getting a stronger foothold in selling products to big telecos.

It’s about Buying Talent

Lorna Garey at Channel Partners writes, “Scooping up BroadSoft also demonstrates that there’s a shortage of IT talent — and Cisco is recognizing it.”

It’s about the End of the On-Prem World

For those of us in the trenches selling UCaaS, I’ll go with this statement from Drew Lydeck, co-founder and president of Avant Communications, “This is the biggest validation that we’ve seen that the on-prem world is officially over. Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft is also a validation that everything is moving to a software-defined, subscription-based economy.”  This is particularly true when you consider that BroadSoft can be used to displace the premise-based Cisco Call Manager.

You can see from our last blog post that the UCassS market is still growing. There are still plenty of customers, both SMB and Enterprise, whose next phone system will be cloud-based.  They will want to buy the service from a provider that can give them the customized service and support that only a local reseller can give them.

Lots of Room for Revenue in UCaaS

According to Synergy Research Group, the UCaaS market continues to grow in the US at an astounding 29% a year.  Retail UCaaS services account for well over 80% of the total market. The UCaaS market is now generating revenues exceeding $400 million per quarter and approaching $2 billion annually.

While the big guys like Ring Central, 8×8, Mitel, Broadsoft, and Vonage continue to duke it out at the top, there is plenty of market share available for those resellers who deliver a more personalized service to businesses in their local area. This is particularly true as smaller businesses, who have little or no dedicated IT personnel, migrate to UCaaS and Hosted PBX. This is becoming an under-served market as market leaders move to serving larger businesses and enterprises.

“UCaaS continues to provide a richer and more cost effective collaborative communication system for businesses globally,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group’s founder and Chief Analyst. “We are also seeing an up-market acceleration of UCaaS adoption, moving from serving mostly smaller sized organizations now to gaining traction in businesses of over 100 seats and over 1,000 seats. Given that the displacement of premise PBXs remains low today, there is ample ground for UCaaS to find strong growth in displacing these legacy systems over a long stretch of time.”

SkySwitch High Availability Explained

We are often asked how we achieve such phenomenal uptime and are able to offer 99.99 service level guarantees. The answer lies in the revolutionary network design that serves as the foundation of our unified communications and collaboration platform.

SkySwitch n-Share ArchitectureThe SkySwitch WebCentrex platform uses always-available n-Share clusters co-located in New York and Dallas.

Most high-availability or n+1 redundancy schemes rely on a primary and failover node. In contrast, the n-Share system is Always Available.  That means that we provide identical service across multiple locations in real-time. With seamless and transparent failover between nodes, service disruptions are avoided because customer connections are automatically transferred to any nodes available.
So, a voicemail can be left on a Dallas feature server, and retrieved on the New York server immediately, even if the Dallas server is no longer available. It also means that feature options (such as call-forwarding or other * codes) take effect across all servers immediately.

As network traffic grows, SkySwitch adds capacity by deploying additional n-Share nodes. Newly added nodes are added to the n-Share mesh and automatically become available to share call processing tasks across all nodes dynamically and with zero downtime.  This means that we can expand to accommodate Reseller growth with zero impact on the availability of services to end users.

Where other high-availability schemes require the use of active and standby servers (with the standby servers left idle in readiness for a problem) n-Share creates efficiencies by dynamically distributing load across all available servers. This means that load can be dynamically shared across all connected nodes based on geographic distance from the user. Especially in cases where media-anchoring is required, this optimizes quality of service by ensuring voice and video payload will take the shortest path between the sender and receiver.

Mobile workers are now using SIP mobility clients (such as the ReachUC apps) running over 3G and 4G wireless networks, where network conditions are often unpredictable. As a result, the ability to maximize quality of service in a scalable and reliable way is becoming more important than ever.  On that front, SkySwitch has you covered.

Now We’re Really Excited! Yealink Releases T54S And T52S Globally

You may remember back on May 30th when Corey Stoker, SkySwitch Director of Support, posted his unboxing videos for the T52S and T54S phones from Yealink.  Now, after a long 90 day wait, Yealink has announced that the T54S and T52S are now available worldwide.

Yealink C are members of the T5 Media Phone Series which provides an all-in-one solution for business of all sizes. The series brings together high-definition voice, video and various application capabilities. With enhanced HD video and audio technologies as well as an intuitive interface, the phones are ideal desktop communication tools for today’s busy executives and professionals in various vertical markets.

As a leader in the hosted UCaaS market, SkySwitch was among the first providers to get advanced versions of these phones.  They have been thoroughly tested with our platform and are available to SkySwitch Resellers. Through our partnership with 888VoIP, these phones and be purchased, provisioned, and drop shipped directly from the SkySwitch Dashmanager.

Jon Arnold Talks about Voice Assistants in the Workplace

Our friend Jon Arnold of J Arnold & Associates held an interesting webinar discussing the key drivers of digital assistants –  a term that he uses to include voice assistants (like Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa) and chatbots – used for business.  He was kind enough to mention the SkySwitch Amazon Alexa skill as an example of how voice assistants are  migrating from the home to the office.  Check it out here @ 36:44.

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