VoIP 2.0 in the Cloud - Vyve's View
Last week Alianza and Level 3 sponsored a FierceCable webinar Cable VoIP 2.0 — Delivered and Managed in The Cloud 2.0 featuring our customer Vyve Broadband. Alex Harris, Vyve's VP of Network Planning, provided a first-hand experience on cloud sourcing VoIP for Vyve’s next generation VoIP solution. Leading into that account, JP Gonzalez and I summarized the current state of voice along with opportunities and a need for change in the way voice is delivered and managed by cable providers.
In fact, we polled the audience on their plans for voice services. The results, while unscientific, are telling. Launch of new business VoIP/UC services was the number one driver followed by expanding voice to new markets (both are new revenue focused). No attendees planned on keeping the status quo on voice. Change is necessary.
In the webinar we also outlined the argument that the old ways of delivering voice—white label or building a VoIP/IMS network—are no longer the right ways for most providers. If you’re heard me speak at a show or read my blog posts over the last year plus, these themes have been explored. But the highlight of the webinar was that Vyve made it all concrete.
Reality and Challenges of VoIP 1.0
From Alex’s Bresnan Communications days, he had experience with the VoIP 1.0 approach: white label solutions and building a network and becoming a CLEC. When Vyve was formed they had old-school white label solution in place and Alex noted that this was not ideal for the company’s future path. Some of the pain points included:
- Lack of flexibility and speed — while a white label provider may be eager to deliver new functionality, the underlying technology platform they use is not ideal and so innovation is slower. For example, it might be 9-12 months just to go from initial feature request passed to the white label provider and in turn to the third party vendor(s) who then need to develop the new functions. Then there is additional time to deploy and productize these new features at the white label provider. Then they must expose this new wholesale product to the retail service providers who in turn need to test and productize the features as part of their services.
- Swivel chair complexity and manual processes – cutting and pasting subscriber information between management portals meant slower time to revenue and increased probability of errors, which negatively impacted cost of customer acquisition and overall customer experience
- Lack of comprehensive voice solution for SMBs
Benefits of Moving to Cloud
The benefits and factors that Vyve looked for included in their next gen VoIP solution include:
- Lower TCO and better margins – the service pricing is a big factor but also the positive impacts across order entry, customer care, provisioning as the cloud solution was able to remove friction and reduce error rate
- Integration and automation of billing and provisioning – flow-through provisioning from billing system through provisioning with feedback and real-time validation
- Ease of migration – this was a big factor in the decision making and Alex gave Alianza and Level 3 high marks on how we managed the process, delivered new features and matched user settings
- Flexibility and ability to customize services – with a single price/all features approach coupled with a feature-rich platform, Vyve can productize what they want
- Faster innovation – with the cloud provider owning the intellectual property and being able to develop new functions, Vyve could expect faster time to market and with a deployment model that removes friction and time
- Rate center coverage – Level 3's coverage and ability to build-out was a critical factor
- Quality and reach of IP network – another core strength that Level 3 brings to the solution
- Supplier reputation and focus and strong customer references
- Operational and business model of cloud provider optimized for wholesale – choosing a partner focused on this market and with incentive structure aligned with Vyve was important
- Universal platform —one platform across Vyve’s entire footprint means lowering OPEX further and enabling growth including acquisitions
- All SIP - full migration to SIP signaling on the eMTAs gives Vyve a future proof foundation
In all, Alex painted a very vivid picture of before and after and why choosing the cloud was the clear choice for Vyve’s next generation voice.
After presenting our view we also asked attendees what they thought the greatest impact of cloud sourcing voice would be for their business; new revenue/growth initiatives were two of the top 3 answers reflecting the sentiment of the first poll. Re-allocating CAPEX and resources to fund other initiatives was number one, followed by reducing TCO and third was allowing them to innovate more quickly concerning voice.