SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Zeus Kerravala | January 04, 2018 |

 
   

Polycom Acquires Obihai to Bolster Endpoint Business

Polycom Acquires Obihai to Bolster Endpoint Business Gains powerful software stack from this VoIP solutions provider, and more.

Gains powerful software stack from this VoIP solutions provider, and more.

As I wrote in a No Jitter post late last year, Polycom CEO Mary McDowell is busy delivering on her endpoint-first strategy. Polycom accelerates that transformation this week, announcing its intent to acquire Obihai Technology, a VoIP solutions company.

In case you're not familiar with Obihai, it was founded in 2010 by Jan Fandrianto (CEO) and Sam Sin (VP Engineering), both of whom also created Komodo Technology and Sipura Technology -- two companies Cisco acquired and rolled into its Linksys division (subsequently sold to Belkin). Interestingly, Polycom's new EVP of Products and Solutions, Tarun Loomba, had worked with the Komodo and then the Sipura teams during his tenure at Cisco Linksys -- so this will be his third go around with Fandrianto and Sin.

Engineering First
A first glance, the Obihai website reveals a couple of things. First, the website is woefully outdated; it looks like something from 1995. So, the company's success has come on the strength of engineering and not slick marketing.

Second, you'll see the company offers a broad range of IP phones, analog terminal adapters (ATAs), and other devices that IP telephony service providers (ITSPs) sell to consumers and businesses. However, Obihai's strength is its software stack. It's designed to be highly modular and flexible so it can address specific service provider needs. On the surface, the voice offerings of one ITSP or another may seem very similar, but each one has its own specific requirements -- and Obihai's software enables service providers to make changes, add features, or quickly do anything else requested.

The software also has a number of features that make the Obihai devices easy to deploy, manage, and maintain. For example, OBiTALK Link enables Obihai phones and ATAs to link to one another for seamless connectivity and call transfers. The company aggregates the data from the phones and presents health status, deployment information, and basic trending and other analytics, via a portal or APIs. Polycom has some of this capability already, but the Obihai portal is more advanced.

As an example, Polycom provides its service provider partners basic mean opinion score information, which is certainly useful for alerting them about problems. But Obihai provides richer data, such as the number of reboots, total uptime, and other information that service providers can use to help diagnose issues. The analytics are basic, but the company does gather a tremendous amount of data that the smart folks at Polycom should be able to utilize to provide much deeper insights.

Ready for the Big Time
I poked fun at Obihai's website, but the company is a classic engineering firm that needs a larger company to take it to the next level. As I mentioned, it has a great software stack, and is collecting a tremendous amount of information, but it's only scratched the surface of what's possible. Polycom can drop the existing products, particularly the ATAs, into its channel and significantly grow that business. It's never offered ATAs before, so I'm sure some partners are licking their chops as that prospect. In addition, Polycom can drop Obihai's software into its voice -- as well as video and meeting room -- products to improve manageability. As VoIP providers shift to UCaaS, the data, diagnostic information, and insights become critical to their successes.

Also interesting is that Obihai has a consumer business that works through Google Voice. Polycom hasn't previously established relationships with ITSPs focused on consumers and micro-businesses since it hasn't had appropriate products for this market. I don't expect Polycom's focus to shift going forward, but having that added reach will certainly help it.

The Real Deal
This is the first acquisition for Polycom under McDowell's leadership, and it's important for a couple of reasons. First, it adds great technology and software that Polycom can use to improve its own products and will open up new markets and opportunities. Obihai's portal and APIs could wind up being the crown jewel of the acquisition, providing Polycom the ability to add more data and deeper insights for service provider partners. The most successful companies in the future will be the ones with the data and machine learning algorithms to interpret the data, and Polycom's larger engineering team should be able to accelerate what Obihai has put in place.

Lastly, from an internal, change-the-culture perspective, the Obihai purchase should be a shot in the arm for employees -- company leadership is putting its money where its mouth is. The direction that McDowell laid out is real, and not just lip service, and this acquisition shows that Polycom will make investments where necessary. It's a small acquisition, but could pay big dividends in the near future.

Related posts:

  • Polycom Continues Marketing to Its New Beat
  • Catching Up with Polycom
  • Polycom's Mary McDowell: Leading an Endpoint Empire


  • Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
    @zkerravala
    Zeus Kerravala on Google+





    COMMENTS




    August 8, 2018

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

    June 20, 2018

    Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

    In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

    June 6, 2018

    The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

    March 12, 2018
    An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
    March 9, 2018
    IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
    March 7, 2018
    In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
    February 28, 2018
    Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
    February 16, 2018
    What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
    February 9, 2018
    Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
    February 2, 2018
    UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
    January 26, 2018
    Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
    December 20, 2017
    Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
    December 20, 2017
    Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
    December 20, 2017
    Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
    November 30, 2017
    With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
    October 23, 2017
    Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
    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.