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BroadSoft Capitalizing on Growth in Hosted

BroadSoft is well positioned with a strong portfolio, growth, cash flow, significant R&D, worldwide footprint, a clear channel strategy, and product breadth.

Many UC professionals I meet are not that familiar with BroadSoft. The company is virtually unknown among end users, it doesn't manufacture hardware, and frankly doesn't draw a lot of attention to itself.

BroadSoft is a pioneer in hosted IP-based communications. The company was founded in 1998, and its two co-founders continue to hold the titles of CEO and CTO. The company did $138 million revenues in 2011. Last August, the company announced better-than-expected second quarter results, with revenue up 26% over the same period the previous year. BroadSoft now employs over 600 people.

The software company provides solutions to service providers (SPs) around the globe--all of which rebrand the technology. These service providers include major carriers in the US, and PTTs abroad, as well as smaller and younger providers focused solely on hosted communications. The majority of these providers gathered last week in Phoenix for BroadSoft Connections, the company's annual partner event.

I attend numerous vendor conferences, and BroadSoft Connections was unique in several ways. First and foremost was the upbeat tempo among all attendees--the hosted space is growing and everyone was excited. A fair portion of the people I met were new hires. Despite the fact that most SPs compete with each other nationally, there was a strong sense of partnership and sharing among attendees. Also, attendance was very international.

BroadSoft exclusively sells its solutions to SPs. Therefore, it is one of the few communications vendors for whom the cloud is not creating channel conflict. Nor was there much concern that BroadSoft would be changing this anytime soon. That point is directed at several of the alternative technology platforms that SPs consider--SPs fear the "dumb pipe" and "over the top" (OTT) models, and some get a queasy feeling when promoting external brands like Cisco or Microsoft within their offerings.

I knew BroadSoft was getting traction in the SMB and consumer segments, but I didn't realize its apparent success with enterprise customers. The company's messaging and conversations are increasingly enterprise focused, including its latest release called UC One, which is a comprehensive hosted platform for voice, video, IM/presence, text, and web collaboration within a single client interface.

UC One is not as much a product as it is a toolset intended to allow service providers to create unique offers. Its cloud-based architecture simplifies mobility and interactions. In one demo, presence was natively integrated with Google Chat, and the directory included both corporate data and personal contacts from Outlook. Conferences can be easily expanded to external members with a single link. BroadSoft's APIs are cloud ready.

BroadSoft believes that the ubiquity of smart mobile devices will accelerate cloud adoption. The firm has enabled and simplified access to UC services from desk phones, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Core product offerings are seeing substantial enterprise-ready upgrades including skills-based ACD, richer auto attendant features, 2B channel transfers, enhanced performance metrics, improved device management utilities, IPv6, and more.

Each SP customer has discretion over the specific features and bundles implemented in their offering, starting with basic SIP trunking, as the BroadSoft platform now enables providers to offer SIPConnect 1.1-compliant trunking services to its business customers. The new video features work within the BroadSoft client, or SPs can select H.264 hardware endpoints (such as the new Polycom VVX 600 launched at the conference), or potentially add MCUs to their service offering.

Polycom wasn't the only partner in attendance; the expo hall featured more than 60 companies. The partner ecosystem includes products and services aimed at service providers including operational tools, consultant services, endpoint makers, server manufacturers, and lots of applications and tools such as contact centers, call recording, desktop suites, and solutions optimized for specific verticals. Many applications directly integrate via BroadSoft's Xtended family of APIs. The second day of the conference featured "IP Live" keynote-like product demonstrations from BroadSoft and its partners.

It was an impressive conference--not just because of product features and improvements, but because of the momentum. Hosted communications has momentum of its own, but BroadSoft is well positioned with a strong portfolio, growth, cash flow, ongoing significant R&D, a worldwide footprint, SP loyalty, a clear channel strategy servicing SPs of all sizes, and product breadth that spans from trunks to enterprise hosted communications.

Dave Michels is a Contributing Editor and Independent Analyst at