SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Beth Schultz | December 01, 2016 |

 
   

UCaaS on the Mind for AWS Watchers

UCaaS on the Mind for AWS Watchers Word on the street places UCaaS and video-enabled team collaboration on Amazon's cloud services to-do list.

Word on the street places UCaaS and video-enabled team collaboration on Amazon's cloud services to-do list.

We've heard speculation in recent days that Amazon, already providing behind-the-scenes cloud resources for some UC- and contact center-as-a-service providers, might be readying a move of its own into the communications space. Analyst and regular No Jitter contributor Dave Michels laid out a few good reasons why such may be the case in his recent TalkingPointz post, "Will Amazon Reinvent UCaaS?"

For example, Michels pointed to several acquisitions that strengthen Amazon, technology wise, for a move into communications -- particularly of the video collaboration sort. It gained a livestreaming service when it picked up Twitch, high-speed video encoding and transcoding software with the purchase of Elemental Technologies, and an early workstream messaging product complete with WebRTC-enabled video with its acquisition of Biba.

And, of course, competitiveness could play a role in Amazon's potential move into communications, too. "Top cloud competitors Microsoft and Google offer business communications services including video conferencing. Amazon has lagged in commercial communications services, but clearly has the know-how," Michels wrote, citing its three-year-old Mayday video customer service app as an example.

As of this writing, we've heard lots of interesting stuff coming out of the AWS re:Invent conference taking place this week in Las Vegas. And while some of the news is tangentially related to enterprise communications, none firmly positions the company as a UCaaS provider akin to a company like, say, an 8x8, Microsoft, RingCentral, or Vonage. Regardless, the idea that we might soon have Amazon knocking on the business communications door makes for some interesting thought.

William Blair equity research analyst Dmitry Netis delved into the question in a research note published today, reiterating the firm's belief (detailed in a March research note) that Amazon's emergence as a "wildcard disruptor" in the UCaaS space would be a "natural progression" for the company. As articulated in that earlier note, William Blair believed such a move "would have to happen through inorganic efforts (buying one of the pure-plays in the UCaaS space) or via partnership efforts (by outsourcing a best-of-breed, white-label VoIP engine from BroadSoft)," Netis wrote.

While Netis said he could see Amazon announce a video-enabled team collaboration service yet this week, "UCaaS is an entirely different story, but only a matter of time."

Telecom, so critical to the voice piece of UCaaS, is a big sticking point -- what with all that peering and trunking and regulatory mandates (including obtaining CLEC status from the FCC), etc. with which a provider must contend. At this point in time, Netis wrote, the question still remains as to what Amazon's go-to-market strategy would be for UCaaS. Amazon could sell UCaaS via a portal and inside sales team like 8x8 does, he speculated, or it could simply become a reseller for channel partners by enabling them with IaaS and PaaS. "Both cases would work, though the FCC regulation requirement could be likely avoided in the latter case or offloaded to another interconnect CLEC partner (Intelepeer comes to mind)," he concluded.

To date, UCaaS providers like RingCentral and 8x8 that have their own clouds for communications have had to defend themselves against providers, such as Interactive Intelligence, that have built their UCaaS offerings on top of AWS. And they've done that based on the infrastructure control story, in large part.

As RingCentral CEO Vlad Shmunis told me a month or so ago in a briefing, RingCentral feels it must control its infrastructure for mission-critical communication components such as dial tone and voice quality of service.

"As great as AWS is, we don't control its uptime... and we control ours," he said, noting that RingCentral has invested in at least double redundancy, and in many places, quadruple. "This is what allows us to run through a very rapid innovation cycle. We have six to eight major releases per year, and are able to do that without taking the system down. It's like refueling your plane in the air, and only in the air, forever."

Some time ago I also spoke with Mehdi Salour, SVP of global network and DevOps at 8x8, and he stressed the same sort of thinking. Using a public cloud might have some advantages, especially when looking to provision services in foreign countries in which a public cloud provider has data sovereignty, compliance, and other regulatory issues squared away, he said. However, "public cloud is not ready for all elements of communications types of services. ... The media handling, the signaling elements of VoIP or UC services still need to be at data centers under our control."

But Amazon's entry into UCaaS would change the competitive landscape rather dramatically -- if not for larger enterprises evaluating their options than at least for smaller businesses. Should Amazon decide, or perhaps when it does decide, to dive into UCaaS, the wake it creates will be substantial -- or, as Netis wrote, "nothing short of disruptive to existing market participants, particularly given Amazon's unstained execution track record."

Follow Beth Schultz and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
@nojitter
@Beth_Schultz
Beth Schultz on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.