Having just wrapped up our 4th consecutive IT Nation, we ponder an interesting comment in day 1 keynote by ConnectWise CEO, Arnie Bellini. Just in case you missed it, ChannelE2E covered the event and you can see their live blog from the event here.
"Telephony is dead: partners should dive into collaboration. Without mentioning Cisco Systems by name, he’s surely referring to potential synergies between ConnectWise, Cisco Spark and more." - ChannelE2E
It is an interesting topic and one that we have written about already. You can find our article titled here. "The Death of On-Prem PBX Confirmed with Mitel Acquisition of Shoretel & Avaya Bankruptcy."
What is also interesting is ConnectWise and Cisco just announced a pretty clear and obvious partnership with what they are calling Unite which allows Cisco partners to automate billing and manage simple day-to-day tasks of many popular Cisco products including Spark. For what it's worth, Arnie Bellini stated that ConnectWise is moving to Cisco Spark internally moving at least partially off a Shoretel system that has been in place for years saving $70,000.00 according to Bellini's keynote.
With all of that being said, it is also worth mentioning something we have already written about - Cisco acquired Broadsoft less than 10 days ago for $1.9 Billion. You can read that article here Cisco Acquires Broadsoft: When Your Vendor Becomes a Direct Competitor!
Ok, so now that we have laid out all the relevant details, clearly a $1.9 Billion investment makes everything EXTREMELY clear that telephony is FAR FROM DEAD. I would argue, that Cisco's acquisition of Broadsoft potentially puts the Cisco Spark offering in jeopardy for something far more mature, widely used, and proven. Cisco Spark doesn't even come close to the install base, user count, and feature set of Broadsoft. It's also worth mentioning that the telephony service provider, hosted voip, and cloud PBX industry is buzzing with hesitant firms that have invested millions upon millions of dollars worried that the rug was just pulled from underneath of them not knowing to what degree they will be impacted by Cisco's plans for Broadsoft.
"...telephony is THRIVING and no time is better than the present to offer your customers the answer that you have chosen to provide and add value by being a single source technology provider. " - BVoIP CEO, George Bardissi
All things being considered, if I had to guess I would hope that the point that was trying to be made by Arnie Bellini is that traditional telephony is dead and that newer features like chat, web meeting, white boarding, etc are needed in today's age. No differently than how the IT industry evolved from break/fix to Managed Services is how the PBX industry has evolved to Unified Communications. If that is the case, I would have to agree that it is and the traditional , proprietary, limited, on-prem telephony system is dying and on it's way out.
However, more than half of North America is still running on analog lines powered by an aging copper or POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) lines. Sure, the triple play cable company offering of converting from voip to analog dilutes the numbers but isn't really anything more than a copy of what is the copper or POTS story being delivered differently.
With that opportunity being as large in North American and even larger is many other parts of the world by percentage, the value proposition for telephony, voip, pbx, communications - as-a-Service is HUGE. As MSPs, technology service providers, and IT firms should seize the opportunity to standardize, stack, and bundle that solution immediately.
In closing, telephony is THRIVING and no time is better than the present to offer your customers the answer that you have chosen to provide and add value by being a single source technology provider. If you need assistance on that front BVoIP is here to help you!