Sweet on Call Recording

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Gavin Sweet, Director at Skyrack Telecom, spoke to Comms Business about the latest opportunities in the call recording market.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What sort of demand are you seeing for call recording in the market at the moment?
Gavin Sweet (GS): We have reported before on the growing demand for call recording over the last few years in (both fixed and) mobile products. Over the last year this has shifted upwards a little to about 7% of customers. Customers using call recording are loyal and have very strong ARPU. Although still an advanced service feature, customer usage and requirements are becoming more diverse, driven by a range of commercial audit and compliance requirements, as well as by general training and security issues. Customers recognise the value that call recording brings to support these requirements and are prepared to pay for it, so call recording is becoming part of the expected mix of a standard business voice service.

CBM: Where are you seeing the differentiation in the market?
GS: Differentiation can be achieved through innovation such as more secure call recording options, and in the mobile space with on-network fully compliant mobile call recording – this is where we see unique and very high value niche growth for providers who can offer this.

The “traditional” fixed and hosted markets seem to have plenty of solutions available – both integrated with PBX (whether cloud or on-premise), and standalone. “Basic” call recording offerings that are part of a PBX solution do well if they are well priced; as price rises customers expect the more advanced dashboard and management features.

Skyrack has found that its solid but simple call recording service sells well because it is so easy to use and is already integrated in the cloud PBX solution. There’s no set up and really nothing complex for the customer to do, just login to a website and view recordings.

We differentiate ourselves over and above this in two ways, through security and through mobile solutions.

Secure archiving of call recordings provides extensive legal compliance –an important compliance feature.

On-network call recording for mobiles is in great demand now. Skyrack is able to deliver compliant on-network mobile call recording for mobiles using its Mobile-X service, because of the full MVNO network integration.

CBM: For the Channel, where is the opportunity?
GS: For ITSP’s, VAR’s, fixed CP’s, operating in the channel, call recording is a value added service. The revenue opportunity comes predominantly from the subscription, and the easiest way to access these revenues is to work with a hosted/cloud provider offering combined voice/PBX and call recording in the network so as to avoid all the difficulties of setting up on premise services (although these may be attractive initially, they are not as scalable in the long term – for each customer it represents yet another element on the LAN that must be managed; yet another security issue etc). Working with network based call recording takes away any of these issues, the solution is already up and running, all you need to do is sell it and bill it.

Network-based recording is completely under your admin control, with a single unified security model, not subject to problems with user/handset environments, and it cannot be circumvented, so you can guarantee compliances. Cloud-based storage and access makes management, playback, quality control, audit, analytics etc incredibly simple and converged across all services, with no requirement to set up additional management systems.

Once a customer adopts call recording it makes that customer very sticky, with longer lifetimes, more predictable revenues, and more overall growth in revenue as they see voice services as a more and more trusted part of their business process, not just about making phone calls.

There are also other healthy up-sell opportunities, such as charges for amount and length of storage of recorded calls; charging for increased security or custom compliance requirements (e.g where or how calls are stored); charging for specialist media services such as “in-media” keyword searching; charging for difficult services such as mobile.

CBM: What about the mobile market?
GS: Previously most mobile call recording offerings have used an app on the handset or required that the calls themselves are routed using a soft SIP client. This restricts ease of use, applicability, makes deployment difficult and unreliable and so on. However, for certain requirements this may be enough. More importantly, though, there’s really no guarantee of compliance because circumvention is trivial, so these solutions have limited suitability.

With on-network mobile call recording, such as on the Skyrack Mobile-X SIM, the control point is back in the network, so a completely transparent, reliable and fully compliant service is achieved. This is a really important step for FSA, or other, compliance.

There will be strong growth in this sector particularly, as it is under-served, and more generally because there is a continuing, ongoing “evolutionary” shift in the industry to fixed-mobile converged services.