Voice enablement is bringing plenty of opportunities to the Channel. Comms Business finds out more.

Cavell Enable was held in Bishopsgate, London, with the event bringing together telcos, service providers, and partners to examine the opportunities around voice enablement. It was attended by over 200 guests representing over 85 service providers and included speakers from Microsoft, Cisco, and Zoom.

The analyst firm sees telephony enablement marketplaces as a growing opportunity, forecasting the number of telephony-enabled users within Microsoft Teams, Webex Calling, and Zoom Phone to exceed 100 million by 2028.

Making money

One key session looked at how to make money in telephony enablement, with Rui Ferraz, product manager, Colt, Sara Sheikh, head of product management, Gamma, William Rubio, CRO, CallTower, and Shams Khan, vice president, SCB Global.

Sheikh explained that she looks after Gamma’s voice enablement portfolio and pointed out the importance of providing customers with vendor choice.

She said, “Do you go with one provider? Or do you go with multiple? Within this industry we have a tendency to divorce vendors and solutions from the customer problem. We get too excited when we see a vendor like Microsoft, Zoom or Cisco and we can lose focus on customer needs. Microsoft, for example, could be the right solution for most of your base, but it won’t be the only solution. Making multiple solutions available to our indirect partners is key as they then serve multiple customers.”

Sheikh explained there are two avenues to success here: volume or value-added services. She added, “Getting the price point right is key and it is challenging because ultimately what you are providing is something that will be commoditised and the price will come down. This is where brand and resilience come in.”

Rubio, from CallTower, discussed how the company has tackled the “commercial conundrum” of per seat pricing being reduced over time as the technology became commoditised.

He said, “We have been dealing with this for a while, going back to Skype where we had several hundred thousand users that we transitioned to Teams going from $20 per seat down to $7. First and foremost, if you’re going to enable voice and just be a transactional player, you’re going to slice your business down overall.

“You have to do different things like analytics, call recording, AI and CCaaS to really differentiate yourself from the competitors that are out there. You need to provide value to your customers.”

Elsewhere, Dom Black, director of research, Cavell Group, hosted a panel discussion that examined how to take your business international. The panelists were Rick Garcia, CEO, G12 Communications, Tony Parish, CEO, Aura, Ian Guest, marketing director, PureIP, and Rubio from CallTower. Parish, from Aura, discussed the importance of partnering with like-minded organisations to effectively deliver on a global scale.

Parish explained, “You can’t be in every place all of the time, so you need to partner. And those partners need to be on the same page as you. Partnering with someone you can trust can be vital to delivering the right service in a particular country, giving you the understanding of local customs that will help you succeed.”

Mobile UC

Later in the day, Alastair Buck, senior consultant, Cavell Group, dived into mobile opportunities with insights from Andrew Small, managing director, global portfolio, BT, Lee Essex, head of business development, Tango Networks, Mark Herbert, head of partner innovation, Dstny, and Ant Morse, head of innovation, Virgin Media O2 Business.

Buck explained that Cavell is forecasting about a million users across the UK will adopt mobile UC over the next five years. As such, Buck explained, this will be “quite a significant area for service providers to start to target”.

Morse, from Virgin Media O2 Business, added, “One of the key things is to actually be a guide for partners and, for us, that means upskilling our people to a point where they can advise the relevant service to deploy [for mobile UC]. There is a huge amount of different products, services, integrations, migrations, and everything in between.

“ If it’s complicated for this audience, imagine what it is like for a customer. There isn’t one solution that will fit all [customers], so you must educate your salespeople to really understand the products so they can advise customers on the best solution so they get to the right outcomes.”

This article appeared in our January 2024 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.

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