Leverage your voice assets – capitalising on native voice to unify UC islands
There are several strategies that can be pursued in order to provide UC capabilities to business users – but the reality is that many companies have already chosen one or more popular OTT solutions. Operators need to leverage their voice and interworking capabilities in order to capitalise on this. They can play a key role in enabling effective remote, mobile communications while connecting different UC siloes.
OTT UC adoption has surged – what role should operators play?
As everyone now knows, business adoption of collaboration and UC solutions has rocketed in recent months. As the business community has adapted to remote working – a phenomenon that looks set to stay in many countries – it has eagerly embraced OTT platforms that enable effective collaboration and team working.
Of course, while the popularity of these is clear, it must be remembered that they effectively form closed communities – MS Teams, Zoom and others are essentially islands. And, while some are used in an ad-hoc fashion, others are optimised for scheduled events.
Some operators have chosen to promote specific platforms, while others have adopted a more agnostic position. That’s fine – but as industry consultants Analysys Mason have pointed out, there’s a clear opportunity emerging to provide real value by leveraging a key operator asset: voice.
Operator networks are tightly interconnected
Operator networks are not islands. They are linked via a complex web of interconnections, which means that any user of the network can reach any user of another operator’s network – this may be an obvious point, but it’s often overlooked. Phone numbers are ubiquitous – and therefore valuable assets.
As such, connecting users with publicly-reachable phone numbers to those with identities that are associated with a specific UC or collaboration platform can provide a useful extension that enables communities to interact and to break out of their siloes.
And this is where opportunity lies for operators. They may – or may not – offer a preferred UC platform, but they can provide interconnection and routing capabilities that enable different platforms to be linked.
This is actually rather important. Despite the popularity of solutions such as Teams, there will always be fragmentation in the marketplace, as solution providers build focus for specific segments. Solutions such as Hangouts, Slack, Teamwork, Whereby, Videonor and others have their niches and will likely continue to have enthusiastic supporters. Similarly, home-grown solutions can gain traction in individual markets.
Unify the fragmented UC ecosystem for your customers
It is in unifying the fragmented UC environment that operators can take a leading position. They can offer integration capabilities to unify the UC market and enable effective cross-platform communication.
As Analysys Mason notes, this is particularly important for national operators with largely domestic customer bases. They already have strong traditional voice businesses and it’s an easier step to leverage this than to go all in with a specific UC platform:
“The bulk of operators’ UC revenue typically comes from voice services, and the integration of UC with PSTN services forms a key point of differentiation from many OTT solutions. Operators could exploit this more by further developing fixed–mobile integration, support for mobile workers and integrated call centre capabilities. For many, this may be a wiser investment than seeking to replicate all the advanced features and functions that are offered by specialist UC providers.’
Gintel as the glue to mobilise and interconnect UC solutions
This is clear and helpful advice. If it sounds convincing, we can help. We can provide the glue to unify different UC platforms, enable PSTN / PLMN breakout and identity federation (enabling phone numbers to be aligned with profiles in different platforms). We can also provide the fixed-mobile integration to ensure that all devices and users can be reached.
The market reality is that many business users have already chosen one or more UC solutions – without reference to their voice operator. Operators have to accept this, but they can do more to leverage what they have and provide a better experience to business customers. It’s not a difficult step, but it does need an agile partner who can help.
So, if you are thinking about your role in the new world of UC, remote working and more, why not talk to Gintel?