Mavenir Analyst Day - Quick Take and Pix

It’s been quite a week - or two, actually. Last week, I drove to - and back - from Florida for a much-needed family visit. A day after that, I was off to Dallas for Mavenir’s analyst day, then to San Francisco for Twilio’s SIGNAL conference. Both events were first-timers for me, and Mavenir was of particular interest since I’m not that strong on wireless, so this was a good way to get caught up.

That said, the event was pretty much under NDA, so I don’t have a narrative to share. There certainly is a good story here, especially to give carriers an alternative to the Tier 1 mobile vendors, and Mavenir is one of those “best kept secrets” kind of players. Over time, my learnings will come out in other ways, so for now, I just have some photos to share.

First, some pix from the event, both during the sessions and the demos. And then, there’s this fantastical “George” poster. Take a close look - “master of magic” - and deep in the heart of Texas - kinda has that travelling medicine show look, and it’s not a stretch to say that sometimes applies to tech companies selling complicated solutions that buyers don’t really understand. But no, not here at Mavenir, right? :-)

The event was held at the hotel - Zaza - and it’s one of the most eclectic hotels I’ve been to. Definitely gotta come back here for fun. All kinds of quirky sculptures, paintings, photos and knick knacks. Check out their shuttle vehicle - soooo Texas. And then, my friendly man at the front desk. This hotel has a cool, retro vibe - really - really slow elevators, and on the desks in our rooms - pencils (not pens), paper clips and staplers - when was the last time you saw or used those? And for the topper, he’s showing off their manual credit card imprinter, which they actually use. Millennials have probably never seen one of these analog relics, but hey, they still work - even if the broadband is slow!

Ribbon Communications, Perspectives18 - Photos and Quick Take

Am back now from the Ribbon Communications conference in Los Angeles, and definitely glad I went. For me, there were both good answers and new questions, and I'm going to explore those in a separate post that will run next week on the BCStrategies portal. For now, I'll just share a few high-level impressions, along with some photos to give you a feel for what was on tap there.

First is the changing of the guard, with Fritz Hobbs taking on the CEO role, and David Walsh taking on a more focused role as Founder of Kandy. Fritz Hobbs is unknown to pretty much everyone I spoke with, and clearly he's a finance guy, not a tech guy. He said very little on stage, so it's hard to tell how he's going run things, but it's safe to say he'll be focused on keeping shareholders and investors happy. David's entrepreneurial and visionary style seems likely to be applied to Kandy rather than the entire organization, so it's also hard to tell what his overall impact is going to be now.

Speaking of Kandy, that was clearly the focus of the conference, and we didn't hear much about the core products that drive revenues and get the attention of analyst houses that track market share and build forecasts. This was also the case at last year's conference, but with the newly-formed Ribbon being a public company, I was surprised about that. We heard even less about how Kandy is actually doing - lots of use cases, customer success stories and touting of CPaaS and UCaaS capabilities, but no metrics. David Walsh made it clear that it's too early for that so let's just move on.

I really liked the clear focus on how Kandy is a great way to leverage the cloud so service providers can be more competitive, not just against other carriers, but the disruptors like Amazon and Twilio. It's debateable how much of a threat those players really are, but they're definitely in the mix, and service providers really do need an innovation engine to bring new services to market, and that's exactly Kandy's MO. Sound like another platform provider serving the carrier market? I'll have more to say about that in my BCStrategies post. And with that, let's shift from text to images with a few photos from the event - and to follow further, check out the twitter feed, #RBBNP18.

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New CEO, Fritz Hobbs

New CEO, Fritz Hobbs

David Walsh, no longer CEO, but now Founder, Kandy, and I love those cons - my kind of sneaker.

David Walsh, no longer CEO, but now Founder, Kandy, and I love those cons - my kind of sneaker.

Patrick Joggerst and Bita Milanian

Patrick Joggerst and Bita Milanian

Innovation Panel

Innovation Panel

Service Provider Panel

Service Provider Panel

10-piece band AMFM, who played throughout the show - great energy and very fun!

10-piece band AMFM, who played throughout the show - great energy and very fun!

The LA sunset - a hotel specialty - did I pick the right cocktail for this conference  or what?

The LA sunset - a hotel specialty - did I pick the right cocktail for this conference  or what?

Next Stop - Los Angeles and Ribbon Communications

Got industry events happening during the next two weeks, so it's travel time again. On Sunday, I'm flying to LA for Perspectives18, the annual confernce for Ribbon Communications. I've been to a few of these, but this marks the first Perspectives event under the Ribbon name, since the merger between Genband and Sonus happened shortly after last year's event.

I've always struggled a bit with the rationale for this pairing, and hearing more about how it's working out will be a primary focus for next week. Also, the messaging last year was heavy on Kandy, their CPaaS platform, and am keen to hear the progress report nearly a year later.

More details are here in the Event Calendar section of my website, and to follow the updates, my twitter handle is @arnoldjon, and for Ribbon's feed, it's #RBBNP18.

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Hackonomy - How BroadSoft Helps Service Providers Succeed with the Cloud

I wanted to start off 2018 with my extended thoughts about BroadSoft, a company that has continuously stayed on the forefront of innovation in our space from my earliest days as an analyst in 2001. Among independents, I can't think of many others that fit the bill, and as the industry continues to consolidate, this is a good time to reflect on what they have done right to be successful.

Not only is the technology changing so quickly, but the barriers to entry are getting higher. In today's market, it's not enough to have great technology, and slick marketing will only take you so far. Competing on price is a race to the bottom, and what really makes the difference is having a customer-centric vision, and a culture that allows the business to innovate around these levers. Very few companies do it well over time, and there are lessons to be learned from BroadSoft.

That's what I've tried to capture in my latest analysis, and you can read it here. The format is a bit different, but with all the writing I do, I'm always looking to try new things to connect with my followers. Feel free to share, and as always, your comments are welcome.

Genband Perspectives17 - Quick Take

As usual, I just have time to post a quick take on Day 1 from the conference, along with some photos. I'll be writing up my thoughts in a separate post after the event, and will be posting that on UCStrategies, so watch for that over the next few days.

In short, Genband is making big strides with Kandy as a platform play to help carriers compete in today's hyper-competitive market. Much like how Cisco is focusing heavily on Spark for their collaboration story - instead of all the other pieces around this LOB - Kandy is the main story so far here. Genband is transitioning away from hardware - but it's still the biggest part of their revenues - and so far, we haven't heard anything about those lines of business. So, to whatever extent Kandy is actually generating revenue, it's the big focus here, and perhaps it's necessary to keep their carrier customers in-house rather than drifting over to the unspoken competitor, BroadSoft.

That said, there's a lot to like about what Genband is doing with Kandy, and I'll have more to say about that in my proper analysis. So far, Genband has done a great job articulating the opportunity for carriers to differentiate via Kandy, but takeup has been slower than expected, and there are lots of reasons around this.To be fair, we heard about lots of success stories, so good things are happening here. Otherwise, Genband is in a "quiet period" with Sonus, so nothing is being said about where that's going, but it seems like a logical move, especially if you view Genband as a consolidator along the lines of what Mitel is doing, most recently with Toshiba.

The other partnership of note is with Five9, and we heard a good update from Wendell Black. Adding contact center may seem like a stretch for Genband, but the integration with Kandy makes this an appealing option, especially for SMBs who are frustrated by how long it takes for their incumbent vendor to make changes to enable a better customer experience. Given how service providers are being wooed away by the likes of Twilio and various OTT players, this is an important move by Genband to help their customers retain more business, especially as the lines between UC and the contact center become blurred.

Time's up, so I'll stop now, and hope you'll read my follow-on post after I digest everything from the conference. Until then, here are some photos to give you a sense of the vibe here from Day 1. Otherwise, you can keep tabs in real time by following the conference twitter feed - #GBP17.

patrick Joggerst, EVP

patrick Joggerst, EVP

CEO David walsh

CEO David walsh

Judit andrasi, ceo immmr

Judit andrasi, ceo immmr

network evolution panel

network evolution panel

the soul tones - great band, keeping the energy level high

the soul tones - great band, keeping the energy level high

this private tour on monday was really great and would love to see a game here someday.

this private tour on monday was really great and would love to see a game here someday.

view from the press box - everything is original here for the 3rd oldest ball park in mlb - even the phones!

view from the press box - everything is original here for the 3rd oldest ball park in mlb - even the phones!

the WS trophy case - a lot of what we saw isn't open to the public - this stuff was great.

the WS trophy case - a lot of what we saw isn't open to the public - this stuff was great.

great statue for dodger legend #1

great statue for dodger legend #1

only in la - palm trees, baseball and a great skyline view

only in la - palm trees, baseball and a great skyline view