November 13, 2015
It is not surprising that David Walsh (pictured) continuously talks, muses and thinks about the future. As CEO and chairman of Genband Inc., staying in the present is simply not acceptable when the company’s entire existence revolves around real-time communications (RTC).
For many it represents the new frontier in which people’s personal habits, needs and wants will dictate what sticks and becomes popular, which is contrary to how the entire telecommunications industry has worked in the past.
It is, says Walsh, who spoke in June at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto, a consumption-based model.
“You only pay for what you consume, which is completely different to the way the industry worked in the past,” he told Connections+. “In the past, the carriers would say we want to build a service, we would all bid, they would select a supplier and hope people sign on. That is not the model anymore.
“The model is far different. We provide the ability for carriers or anyone for that matter to build an application or enhance an application.”
Genband as a company has certainly evolved. While Walsh has been at the helm for five years, the company was founded in 1999 as General Bandwidth, a media gateway vendor and over the years has bought the following as a lead up to where it is today: Siemens Digital Central Office business (2006), Tekelec’s switching solutions group (2007), Nokia Siemens SURPASS hiG fixed line trunking media gateway product line (2009), all the assets of Nortel’s Carrier VoIP and Application Solutions Business (2010), integrated switching platform vendor Cedar Point Communications (2011) and Aztek Networks, a vendor whose hardware allows for a smoother transition from legacy to IP networks.
They were a prelude to the acquisition of an Over-the-Top offering in 2013 called fring and the launch of the Kandy Platform-as-a-Service last year. The latter is defined by the company as a disruptive real time communications software development initiative, “designed to help companies build communications that are more integrated an immediate – built right into the way their customers interact with them and their employees work.
“Kandy combines the simplicity of the Web and mobile applications with enterprise-grade real time communications capabilities, making it more cost-effective and expedious to enable communications applications.”
Paul Pluschkell, founder of Kandy and executive vice president of strategy and cloud services for Genband, says it is designed to allow anyone from IT to business owners to embed real time video, voice, presence and text into their Web and mobile applications.
Kandy, according to Jim Lundy, founder and CEO of Aragon Research, “represents a catalyst in the move towards cloud-based embedded communications – conversations will happen without dialing a phone number. Contextual, embedded communications will change how we get things done.”
The fring Alliance, meanwhile, which was formed in February, is an Over-the-Top (OTT) platform that enables Communications Service Providers to provide instant messaging and voice and video to their subscribers.
“A lot of effort went into developing the components to real-time communications,” says Walsh. “The way of the world is embedding it in business applications such as SAP or Salesforce. With Salesforce you are in that application all day long. Why would you ever leave that application to make a phone call? You want it integrated.
“When you see real-time communications embedded in an SAP app versus not, the difference is so stark. To be able to have this functionality, the experience is so different that it’s hard to imagine how anyone lived without it before.”
To that end, Walsh adds, millions of apps are going to evolve, but not in traditional ways. “Former software developers are out of work and have missed the boat completely,” he says. “We have these hackathons and just average people come up with really cool applications.
“You almost can’t keep track of what is going on. Every minute there is a new application that is using location, real-time communications.
An example of that is Waze, a navigation system that Walsh says has become a de-facto standard. “Waze combines real-time communications, social, navigation and GPS. It is like Google in terms of maps, but people are rewarded to participate. It is way more accurate when it comes to time between two locations. It is deadly accurate. Even in New York where it is congested, you will rarely be off by a minute on any drive
“On the social aspect, it encourages people to tell you where potholes are, were cops are, where speed traps are … everyone is reporting in on this stuff.”