We've written about softswitch replacement and migration, but it's not all about rip and replace. Another use case for a cloud communications platform is to power new business VoIP and unified communication services (what some call white label cloud PBX).
With the acquisitions of the VoIP 1.0 softswitch vendors, including BroadSoft, GENBAND, and Metaswitch, communication service providers are asking: what is the future of my VoIP softswitch network? Is my current supplier the one that can take me to the web-scale, cloud-centric future?
Inform your voice network evolution and VoIP road map. Learn how the cloud can help you with cost reduction initiatives, virtualizing voice infrastructure and powering new service launches.
Your softswitch has had a good life. It's time to retire it before your switch techs do. For many technological innovations, what was considered state-of-the-art 15 or 20 years go has now gotten to the point where end of life is looming large. Softswitches are no exception. They may morph to a virtual form, but in reality the risks are still very real.
The cloud is one of the most impactful technological innovations of the past ten years. The way we build and consume software has changed radically and continues to evolve daily. As the value of cloud infrastructure and cloud software delivery becomes clearer, more vendors are looking for a way to jump on the bandwagon. In this rush to be seen as a cloud solution, new terms are being defined and old terms are being redefined. Separating true cloud solutions from vendors wanting to appear to have a cloud solution has never been more difficult. In this post, I attempt to clarify key cloud related terms, address how to determine if a vendor’s solution is truly cloud or is simply being marketed as cloud and explain why cloud sourcing is clearly the future-proof software delivery model for many services, including service provider VoIP.
The call to quarantine and work from home to stem the spread of the coronavirus has caused a massive shift in network usage patterns, affecting where and when a network is used and the amount of traffic over these broadband networks. These shifts have also led to an increase in wireline voice traffic.
To our Customers: Alianza’s purpose of connecting people is more important than ever. You make that possible; you are enabling the critical communications homes and businesses rely on during this time of social distancing. I applaud you and your teams for your dedication and business flexibility as you deliver essential services to your subscribers.
The world over hates robocalls. The telecommunications industry and regulatory bodies are taking action to combat them. Central to solving one of the robocall challenges is a new standard called STIR/SHAKEN. But call blocking is needed too, and there are solutions for that available today. Alianza is addressing both requirements.
As VoIP 1.0 softswitches near end-of-life, service providers face decisions on how to evolve their voice networks to be more agile, competitive, and profitable. There's a softswitch migration coming, so what are the replacement options? What is the role of the cloud-based vs cloud-building solutions?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is funding rural broadband builds again with its 2020 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). And VoIP will play a role in making that happen as offering phone is a requirement for winners.
One of the topics I've been talking with customers and prospects about lately is innovation. Usually, when people discuss VoIP and UC innovation, they think of the highly visible, cool new end-user products and features. This is what I refer to as, "above-ground innovation". But above-ground innovation is only half of what we focus on when it comes to innovation at Alianza. The other kind of innovation is what I call "below-ground innovation" and it's all about less visible supporting services and solutions that make service providers more efficient and accelerate revenue.
We are two decades into the VoIP transition and there are still many businesses moving from traditional communication systems to modern VoIP services, like hosted PBX. Now is an ideal time for service providers to help these businesses make that transition and participate in the fast growing cloud communication services market.
At Alianza, we say: “Got Fiber? You need VoIP!” We say this because many new ISPs are entering the market without a background in voice services, and there’s great opportunity for them to grow revenue, accelerate ROI and deliver a better customer experience with a phone service portfolio. This includes rural electric cooperatives, municipal providers and new overbuilder ISPs that are building broadband networks for rural and underserved communities.
The VoIP market in the United States is strong and it's growing. VoIP subscriptions grew 5% annually according to the latest FCC data. Yes, there’s cord-cutting and wireless-only homes, but there are still over 60 million residential phone lines, mostly VoIP, in the U.S. Some customers still want a landline and there are good reasons for that.
The U.S. VoIP market is strong and it's growing. Despite cord-cutting and wireless-only homes, VoIP subscriptions grew 5% from 2016 to 2017 according to FCC data. VoIP lines have grown 39% since 2013! There are 67 million interconnected VoIP subscriptions, representing 57% of all wireline phone lines in the U.S., upping its share from 52% in 2016. VoIP remains a lucrative market with strong margins.
As we mark our 10th anniversary transforming cloud communications, it's time to reflect back and look forward.
If you're new to offering VoIP one of the key considerations in preparing to launch phone service is rate center coverage. While you have global connectivity with an upstream Internet connection, this old telco world concept regarding local boundaries remains relevant and important when it comes to the telephone numbers you can offer.
The U.S. VoIP market is strong and it's growing. VoIP subscriptions have grown 32% since 2013, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 10%. And interconnected VoIP subscribers outnumber wireline switched access lines for the first time ever in the FCC's biannual status report.
ETI Software Solutions announced the support and integration with Alianza’s Cloud Voice Platform providing a simplified operational environment for VoIP service management.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is funding rural broadband investments with its 2018 Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction. And VoIP will play a role in making that happen.
Over the past year I’ve spent a lot of time talking to key new players in deploying broadband to rural America: electric cooperatives. Due to the lack of investment by the local telcos and cable operators, these co-ops have decided to deliver a suite of modern connectivity and communication services to their members and help enrich life and commerce in their communities.
Rural telcos are adopting VoIP, but it's a slow go. According to the NTCA's latest survey, just one-third of members have a VoIP service offering. Today's legacy networks are dangerously obsolete and telcos need to move to next-gen IP solutions. Cloud sourcing next-generation VoIP infrastructure can help telcos migrate to IP faster in order to deliver a better experience to their customers and realize impactful financial and operational improvements.
For over a decade, Broadband Communities Magazine has recognized organizations that lead the way in "building a fiber-connected world" in its Top 100 Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) list. Alianza is one of those companies and we are honored as to be named one of the FTTH leaders and innovators for 2017 for our Cloud Voice Platform that powers VoIP phone services for broadband ISPs.
In March two reports were published offering more proof that the telecom industry is embracing cloud solutions. Communication service providers (CSPs) are increasingly saying yes to cloud sourcing, not cloud building, when it comes to network evolution.
Last week at the UTC Telecom and Technology annual show Alianza was recognized with the UTC Impact Award for services. The Utilities Technology Council (UTC), a trade association for power utilities, awards this annually to a UTC Associate Member that is “making a great impact on the utilities industry through an innovative and proven solution.”
For the past several years I’ve started the year with a post looking back on how service provider voice is moving away from legacy approaches to a radically new solution we call the cloud voice platform (see last year’s Service Provider Voice - On the Road to the Cloud).
The FCC is making a big push to help consumers combat robocalls and telemarketing calls. Robocalling is an awful abuse of technology and our telecom infrastructure. It's time for us to fight back and block these robocalls with new tools.
Last month Level 3 and Alianza announced the release of a new Heavy Reading white paper Migrating Service Provider Voice Infrastructure to the Cloud.
Build versus buy is a classic question when it comes to technology adoption. It’s true for enterprises as well as service providers. When it comes to voice, there is a spectrum of classic outsource options that include agent resale, white label/reseller VoIP programs and wholesale hosted VoIP. Now there is a new option: the cloud voice platform.
2015 was another banner year for moving service provider voice from old school ways to deliver voice to cloud-based solutions. As residential and business VoIP continues the shift to cloud delivery models, that transition is also happening to service provider VoIP infrastructure. As part of the movement to web-scale, virtualized solutions, cloud voice platforms are increasingly adopted by all types of service providers to power new services and replace aging, obsolete networks.
Heavy Reading released The Future of Virtualization Index Report this week giving a read out on the network virtualization evolution across three dimensions: planning, deploying and investment status. Planning is in full swing, but deployments are rare. Cloud sourced NFV can accelerate that actualization.
Cable MSOs have delivered impressive growth, but in order to not shed value they must respond to the coming disruption with innovation across products and business models. That's the message from Accenture's report Driving a New Era of Value Growth in the Cable Industry. We see the cloud voice platform as one such response to the headwinds associated with cable voice services and aging VoIP networks today.
I find that NFV and cloud get conflated frequently and, while related, they are not the same. Even the term cloud can represent distinct approaches and adverse philosophies to next-generation infrastructure solutions. NFV is integral to the cloud, but a true cloud solution is much more.
VoIP fraud is serious business and rightly worries the finance, security and operations teams at service providers. And so we take it seriously with a collection of tools, safeguards and policies that first aim to prevent fraud from taking place and then, secondly, mitigate the exposure should a bad guy get through. The limits we put into place translate into minimized risk.
DevOps is one of the buzziest terms out there and for good reason. To deliver on the service agility and "fail fast" goals, both technology and culture transformations are needed. Cloud, NFV and web-scale technologies need a companion organizational philosophy for service providers to truly thrive and rapidly respond to market opportunities.
The state of voice demands change. There’s no escaping that fact; service providers will need to make a change this year or in the next two-three years. We also think that service providers should change and rethink the approach for virtualizing voice. That’s the gist of the great conversation I had with Liz Coyne, editor of The New IP, earlier this week. During the conversation we explored why an alternative approach is needed and how service providers can evolve their voice network infrastructure through cloud-based, hosted NFV.
Change is coming for network infrastructure. Service providers must upgrade their aging and inflexible networks to remain competitive in today’s increasingly challenging environment. NFV and web scale technologies will lie at the heart of all that change. But in what form? How is NFV best consumed? We think the application or technology should play a large role in defining the approach. When it comes to voice, we think that approach should be leveraging the cloud, not building one.
Start-ups always have the zeal and faith that what they are doing is right, helpful and transformative. It's nice when that vision gets validated from analysts and press, especially critical, show-me-the-proof ones. I'm very pleased that Alianza has received that recognition from Light Reading.
Any new venture has risks. Building the next network for voice is no exception. We often talk about TCO reduction and operational simplification as easy justifications for moving to the cloud. So, too, is de-risking the VoIP 2.0 endeavor.
I spend many hours talking with executives and senior leadership at all types of broadband service providers—cable companies, ISPs and telcos. I really like to dig in and see what challenges they face, what keeps them up at night and what goals they are driving for and how they want to improve their companies. For those that have delivered VoIP services for decades, including CLECs, ILECs and cable providers—executives at those companies are facing a changing and challenging landscape for their voice services over the next five years.
Infonetics Research hosted a webinar earlier last week entitled Migrating to IMS in the Cloud with NFV. That's three of my favorite topics right there: IMS, cloud and NFV. IMS NFV can be consumed in two ways: build the cloud or use the cloud. That's two options: IMS in the cloud or IMS from the cloud. There is an important distinction to be made between cloud technologies and cloud X-as-a-service solutions. The former requires building, the latter is about leveraging what's already built.
"Cloud is not about technology but rather about a business model." That statement boldly stands out to me in this No Jitter article The Cloud Revolution: Dropping Voice Prices Will Deliver Big Impact. Absolutely. We agree fully. While No Jitter is focused on enterprise consumed communications and UC, this is a truth that applies to the way service providers deploy, manage and monetize their VoIP and UCaaS offerings.
Light Reading's The New IP concept is focused on technology that powers better financials and agility. Management of technology is a big part of seeing that vision realized. In a new video interview, Order Management Driving The New IP, Heavy Reading Principal Analyst Ari Banerjee says the ability to automate and insure order management is critical to all aspects of new services.
Analyst firm STL Partners, as part of the Telco 2.0 Initiative, issued a report last month entitled Cloud: What is the role of telcos in cloud services in 2015? I’m flipping this question and asking: what is the role of cloud in telco services? When it comes to voice, we think it’s central to business model transformation for telcos, ISPs and cable operators.
Last week Dell’Oro Group reported on the telecom CAPEX stating that "telecom operators around the world invested heavily in their fiber and LTE networks in 1H14 as the transformation from voice-centric to data-centric drivers continued." The research firm says that 2014 will see an increase in spending but a decline is projected for 2015. CAPEX is precious. It enables new technology to be deployed in a service provider network and can jump start new solutions and revenue producing services. In order for CAPEX to be spent, it needs high ROI justification. That's why it's being spent on broadband, LTE, WiFi, IoT and other high-impact, high-growth potential technologies.
The NFV hype is omnipresent. Last month I had the opportunity of presenting at the Software Telco Congress show in Las Vegas held at the Rio. The show is a semi-annual opportunity for the movers and shakers in the software telco movement to come together and discuss the latest trends and innovations, as well as review the progress that has been made in the last six months in the areas of NFV, SDN and the over-arching objective of moving telco off of hardware and into software. This week my colleague Ryan Higgins will be presenting on the Cloud and NFV: Carrier VoIP Business Model Transformation Showdown session at the IIT RTC Conference in Chicago. Is it hype or is there substance?
Next week Alianza will be exhibiting at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. Throughout the year Alianza has been investing in the cable market to help MSOs with their next generation voice initiatives. Throughout our history we have helped ISPs deliver voice (such as Clearwire and ViaSat) and now many traditional providers of VoIP are turning to cloud given the challenging consumer voice dynamics, aging networks and the need to be extremely agile in delivering new features and SMB voice solutions.
At the CableLabs Summer Conference Alianza is demonstrating the simplicity of managing voice with a cloud voice platform. While the economics and business model of cloud services are well understood, Alianza is demonstrating the ease of operations that cloud voice platforms enable. Cloud voice platforms provide real-time visibility and control that simplifies service definition, order entry, provisioning, and customer care functions.
Tom Nolle of CIMI Corp wrote another thoughtful piece on NFV this week Is NaaS a Good Conceptual Framework for SDN and NFV? He introduces a concept termed Network as a Service (NaaS). You can refer to the cloud voice platform as Voice NaaS (as a prospect once did).
SCTE and cable operators have pledged to reduce network energy use by 2020 and Network World recently wrote about the power costs behind the PSTN and the benefits an of IP transition. One quick and easy way for cable operators and telcos to do that is turn off the voice network and put it in the cloud—not their cloud, but the cloud voice platform. Power savings, going green and reducing cooling are all initiatives that are good for the world at large and help the bottom line as well.
This is the second post in a series discussing Alianza’s Cloud Voice Platform (see Next Generation Voice Platform – Leaping From Network to Cloud) from the Alianza development team. I'm exploring how we got where we are and how it's different from the hosted solutions of yesteryear.
The operational and support challenges of building and running a multi-vendor VoIP network were highlighted by Verizon's Kyle Malady, SVP of global network operations at a recent conference (see Light Reading's article Verizon Worried About SDN, NFV Impacts).
NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, recently released the results of its annual member survey. The NTCA 2013 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report provides a number of stats that underscore how telco companies are becoming broadband multi-play providers. However, they face some challenges and there are a number of areas where the cloud can help these providers, especially telco voice and broadband.
On Tuesday at the CommTech East in Ontario we announced that Alianza has officially headed north. Our Cloud Voice Platform is now available to help service providers throughout Canada. We’ve done it for five years in the United States and we are taking that experience and solution to help cable companies, ISPs, telcos and resellers.
Here at Alianza we have been working with Cable MSOs looking to have their VoIP services managed in the cloud. Throughout our company’s history we have worked with numerous service providers that use different broadband access networks (DSL, WiMAX, LTE, etc.) and they invariably ask: “How can we assure quality of service with voice hosted outside our network?”
Light Reading's Sarah Reedy posted a thoughtful article on NFV (Will NFV Save CapEx, OpEx, or None of the Above?) and its (empty?) promise. We see NFV as necessary (we are using that in our cloud voice platform) to build the elastic, scalable infrastructure. But NFV technology by itself lacks an elastic business model (vendors want to sell you something and generally not for less). The cloud-based approach to using NFV is the true path forward as it fundamentally transforms the business model to risk-free, success-based pricing vs build it and (we hope) they come.
Yesterday marked the 138th anniversary of the first phone call. “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you." These were the first words spoken on the world's first telephone call on March 10, 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell here in my home town of Boston. The technology that made that call possible has been made obsolete long ago. So is the technology that made telephony possible throughout most of the 20th century. So, too, is the case for early generation VoIP gear that was deployed in the last decade. The pace of obsolescence has accelerated.
AT&T’s recent FCC filing describing the two trials for all-IP services and removal of TDM contains some interesting perspective and revelatory details on how one of the largest providers of voice and data will firmly move into the all-IP world this decade. The end-of-life of the PSTN is coming soon and the cloud can play an important role in the transition for many service providers.
This month Alianza turned 5 years old. As I mentioned in my first post Voice Business Transformation: Why I Founded Alianza, our team has set out to use the cloud to deliver what service providers have been asking for: a clear business model, not just cool technology.
This is a nice way to start the new year: Carrier Cloud Voice, Alianza's joint VoIP solution with Level 3 wins a 2014 Product of the Year award from Internet Telephony.
Given the business model transformation that service providers have demanded and vendors have failed to deliver for VoIP, I think 2013 showed some strong momentum for an emerging voice delivery model that addresses that need. Here at Alianza we believe a new technology and business model is essential for VoIP given market dynamics and the various strategic growth initiatives that could use the CAPEX/OPEX needed to normally fund a voice network (see my various posts on this topic throughout the year). This new model is the cloud voice platform.
Service providers have a high-wire act to pull off: they must balance the need to have voice services in their portfolios along with the mandate to reduce spending on that very network.
Since joining Alianza in March I've spoken with a number of industry analysts about VoIP market dynamics and why there is a compelling need to change how voice services are delivered. Some analysts I've know for many years since my days as a member of that same institution of industry illuminators or from my time at Acme Packet. And some are recent acquaintances that have resulted in some great dialogues on cloud and the wholesale voice market. One such new conversation was with Ovum's Paris Burstyn.
I absolutely love this new article by Geoffrey Moore on the power of software as a service (SaaS) business model. In SaaS’s Real Triumph he writes: "by far the greatest contribution of SaaS is to free the enterprise from the tyranny of the product release model." He cites the operational burden, enterprise-wide distraction and associated cost to roll out an enterprise IT application and then the subsequent hesitation to repeat that when a new release of that software becomes available as that deployment model is not sustainable nor affordable. There are gobs of dollars spent on buying and then deploying an application that the enterprise knows will be outdated in just a few years' time.
This week I am headed to a Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) focused event called the Software Telco Congress. I’ll be speaking on Thursday about real time communications and how the future network is based on virtualized and pure software environments. This is a great topic as it traces some of Alianza's roots and also showcases where we are headed as we help service providers deliver cutting-edge, margin-rich voice services.
At last month's Competitive Carrier Association Convention I was interviewed by bnetTV about the Alianza VoIP solution, working with mobile providers and why the CCA is an important organization. Here is the video clip of the interview.
There was an interesting article yesterday in Light Reading about a new TDM to VoIP migration solution from a next gen voice vendor. It features financing, new equipment purchases and decade-long commitment to maintenance and support. One of its central tenets is the cost savings from power and real estate. Yes, moving to VoIP means lower opex, smaller equipment and energy savings. However, we think the true way for cost savings is not to build a next generation network at all.
I've just returned from Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) annual convention held this week in Las Vegas, a great event for education and networking in this tight-knit community of indepdent mobile operatotes. We joined CCA earlier this year as we think our mission to radically transform voice aligns nicely with member needs as they deploy LTE. VoIP is a perfect compliment to the CCA members deploying LTE for fixed broadband services in their markets.
Last week Level 3 Communications and Alianza sponsored a COMPTEL webinar focused on a transformative approach to delivering voice services. In the webinar, The Clear Choice for Voice: The Cloud Outsource Model for Carriers, Level 3's J.P. Gonzalez and I talked through the market dynamics forcing change and how the cloud can transform the business case to one that is clear and profitable while enhancing the ability to execute on other strategic initiatives. The archived webinar is available for replay and the slides can downloaded from COMPTEL's website.
Yesterday we announced a new hosted fixed voice over LTE (VoLTE) solution that enables mobile service providers to further monetize their LTE spectrum with easy-to-launch and profitable VoIP services. This is ideally suited for the rural, regional and competitive mobile network operators (MNOs), but it works for any mobile operator that wants to additional voice revenue to their fixed LTE broadband service without taking on the risk and significant investments.
Today it was announced that Carrier Cloud Voice, the joint solution with Level 3 Communications and Alianza, was named a finalist for Most Innovative Carrier Cloud Service in the 2013 Leading Lights, Light Reading's annual awards program. We are pleased that the editorial staff at Light Reading recognize the compelling value that Carrier Cloud Voice delivers to fixed and mobile service providers. Together our companies leverage the power of the cloud, innovative VoIP technology and one of the nation's leading wholesale carrier and IP networks to solve real pain points for service provider VoIP.
I have just returned from Aruba where I attended CANTO's annual conference. Yes, a business trip to Aruba—friends and family had trouble comprehending that fact. So while the setting was quite beautiful with azure water lapping at the convention center doors, you can take some solace in the fact that I was wearing a jacket and tie in 90-degree Caribbean heat. It was a fantastic experience nonetheless.
Earlier this week industry analyst firm Analysys Mason released research revealing that broadband speeds can play an important role in customer retention. While price is important to many, the researchers note that "customers who take higher-speed broadband services are both more satisfied and less likely to churn than those with lower-speed services." This is not surprising; the focus for service providers is coverage and speed as they invest to cover the land or air with faster pipes and radios. Analysys Mason went on to posit that "offering superfast broadband speeds to all customers could reduce annual churn rates by 3 percentage points per year."
A common question for all of us to answer: so, what does your company do? A start-up and early stage growth company has more explaining to do than normal. Alianza provides a wholesale VoIP solution based on a cloud voice platform. Ok, so what does that mean?
Yesterday we announced that ViaSat selected Alianza to power their newly launched Exede Voice residential phone service. Given integration, customization, and control we provide, this is not outsourcing VoIP and it isn't a white label approach either. ViaSat embraced a whole new approach: cloud sourcing VoIP.
Yesterday the big 5 U.S. cable operators—Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable—announced a new WiFi service extension that allows their broadband subscribers to access more than 150,000 wireless hotspots across the country. This network was built by the MSOs and they created a common WiFi SSID called CableWiFi to simplify the sign-on and roaming experience for their subscribers. In fact, while I write this post at a Starbucks in Watertown, MA, I see CableWiFi network pop up as an option; there must be a Comcast subscriber nearby.
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.
There may have been a few hairs pulled in corporate boardrooms and many excited cheers coming from consumers in the US today. FreedomPop dropped some disruptive news as announcing a free mobile service covering the big three services: voice, text and data. This new offering includes 500 MBs of 4G data for free, unlimited messaging, and 200 free anytime voice minutes each month along with unlimited free calls to other FreedomPop users. FreedomPop will also sell an inexpensive unlimited calling plan ($10/month) as a part of the company’s freemium approach. They claim it’s the world’s first and while it’s not available yet, the expectation is for later this summer.
Last week Level 3 Communications announced Carrier Cloud Voice, a new wholesale voice solution as part of a partnership arrangement with Alianza.
Hello! Thanks for visiting. This is Call to the Cloud. Today we have launched a new voice about cloud voice. As Alianza’s solution spans many spaces and touches on many themes, we’ll be exploring them all here in Call to the Cloud. Look for coverage on VoIP and IMS infrastructure, software-as-a-service (SaaS), wholesale voice, hosted and outsourced services, and, of course, THE CLOUD