VoIP – A Common Market for Europe?

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Getting together service providers from around Europe for a ‘drains up’ on the issues of the day they are facing makes for an interesting day out and a great opportunity for Comms Business to ‘eavesdrop’ on what they are talking about as Editor Ian Hunter reports.

February saw Comms Business attend the first European VoIP summit where the Cavell Group brought together 110 people from 7 countries and over 40 service providers to London to discuss the opportunities and issues the industry was facing.

The presenters and panellists were able to share their experiences from different countries, and from the discussions we heard it was clear that there was strong optimism among service providers about the growth of the market.

Matt Townend Cavell’s Director of Research and Consulting started the event, by presenting both their latest market data and also outlining the projects that they had been undertaking to assist service providers around the world.

There followed a panel debate with Peter Gradwell (Gradwell) Marcus OTTO (NFON) and Alan Foy (Blueface) and then a presentation from Todd Wilkens VP of Broadcloud at Broadsoft who discussed some of the key challenges they had overcome in launching their platform in Germany and the UK.

Comms Business will be reporting on the likely impact of Broadcloud in forthcoming issues.

We then had a great panel of providers who had recently entered the UK market from both Germany and the US, including; Ringcentral, Vonage, Nconnect and Broadsoft. Here the key issues discussed included how to get the correct team to do the new country start-up, what were the best channels to market initially and how to manage and deal with localisation and regulation.

Just before lunch there was some lively discussion particularly around the SIP market, where speculation on when the UK ISDN network might be end of life, caused some animated conversation about whether government and the regulator should play more of a role in this discussion rather than it being a decision at the mercy of BT Openreach.

We suspect that now this subject is being openly discussed that speculation on planning for this future will become a hot topic – one Comms Business will be reporting on very closely.

The afternoon started with a fascinating presentation on the role of WebRTC with Genband giving a Keynote on their thoughts and then a panel with great inputs from IPCortex and VOxhub.

In Cavell’s opinion it is clear that user cases are coming thick and fast but WebRTC is unlikely to replace the existing market, but rather augment it.

Again, this is a subject we are starting to cover – see our Conferencing article in this issue.

The final session of the day was a panel debate about what UC services you could charge a premium for, with 8×8, Kcom, Inclarity and 6DG.

Townend commented that he found it particularly interesting that the whole concept of UC, was probably now too blunt an instrument to describe the market, adding, “In fact where customers perceived value and therefore where potentially you could charge a premium differed greatly both by size of company and between companies of similar size. The bigger issue was helping your channels or direct sales force become more of a solutions sales force to understand where value lay for individual customers.”

Cavell Group are providing value to the channel in many ways and the work we at Comms Business are doing with them continues to be at the leading edge of channel thinking.