In December of 2008 I completed the sale of my company, GetFon, to AT&T. It was the end of a great ride and the beginning of another as Alianza was founded just one month later. At Alianza we are applying what we learned at GetFon to a new and much larger and more compelling opportunity: transforming service provider voice delivery.
I co-founded GetFon about five years earlier with the vision of helping SMBs communicate better. GetFon’s hosted PBX service displaced clunky legacy PBXs and key systems with an innovative cloud-based solution that eliminated the need for our customers to dedicate internal resources to managing in-house voice infrastructure. Our SaaS-based financial model was a welcome alternative to traditional CAPEX-intensive solutions. Our team really thrived off of seeing the positive impact that our solutions had on thousands of businesses and we were excited to see GetFon be assimilated into an organization that had the resources capable of growing our solution much faster than we could on our own.
My experience at GetFon taught me a lot that led to the nexus of Alianza and impacts how we do things today. I learned that I was really passionate about helping people communicate better. I also learned (sometimes the hard way) about the reliance we all place on having ubiquitous access to high-quality, always-available sources of communication. I also learned that to successfully build a new technology company you have to have a quality product that relieves pain for your customers and you have to deliver it in a way that creates meaningful cost savings.
At Alianza rather than directly helping SMBs communicate better, we are helping communications service providers to be more successful with the delivery and monetization of voice services. We are solving similar pain as we did at GetFon, but on a bigger scale. Instead of helping businesses with 20 lines, we are helping service providers deploy voice to hundreds of thousands and even millions of customers.
We are again leveraging the power of the cloud, but this time we are replacing carrier’s old-iron voice networks and infrastructure with a comprehensive cloud-based voice platform that eliminates the need for them to manage complex, multi-vendor networks for voice services. The SaaS-based financial model creates a clear business case that eliminates all CAPEX and generates significant OPEX savings. But perhaps even more impactful to our customers are the “collateral benefits” they experience by being able to reallocate their capital and human resources to their most mission-critical and strategic challenges; resources that would otherwise be required to manage and deploy voice network infrastructure and solutions the old way.
Some analysts like to talk about voice services going away—being displaced by SMS and even more passive forms of communication like Facebook—but I don’t see voice going away any time soon. What would our personal or business lives be like if we didn’t have access to voice services? Maybe industry pundits like to talk about the demise of voice because of the demise of the profitable business case for voice service providers. While the price we pay for voice services will continue to decline, successful operators will find ways to migrate to new, innovative communications delivery platforms capable of improving overall costs of service delivery and service management. Alianza offers one such approach.
Alianza’s earliest customers were mostly wireless broadband providers—WiFi, WiMAX and even satellite broadband. We cut our teeth learning how to provide high-quality voice over the most challenging of all last mile networks where high latency and inconsistent signal strength are the rule, not the exception. Now that we’ve proven our solution solves pain points for service providers in that segment, we’re excited to expand our focus to include cable, mobile, telco, CLEC and OTT service providers.
If you believe service providers will remain key players in the voice ecosystem but need to see a better business case for doing so, I hope you’ll contact us to learn more about how Alianza is powering the next big transformation in how service providers deliver voice.