Got home from Twilio’s event late Thursday, and didn’t even bother to unpack. Barely home two days, and back out again, this time to Huntsville, AL and Adtran’s Connect event. Haven’t been to an Adtran event for a few years, and am glad to be back in the loop with them. Basic details are here on my Event Calendar page, but I’ll have more to share here and on social media over the next few days.
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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!
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.
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.
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.