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Vonage Solidifies Platform Story
While Vonage continues to take “the grit out the gears” as it works toward delivering a cohesive UC, contact center, and API platform, it has no more holes to plug, CEO Alan Masarek shared last week in a briefing with No Jitter.
That’s to say, the company is done with its “portfolio acquisition phase,” Masarek said.
As it looked to grow beyond its VoIP beginnings into a full-scale cloud-based business communications services provider, Vonage acquired nine varying kinds of cloud communications companies in the last six years. The buying spree began with the November 2013 acquisition of UCaaS provider Vocalocity, and concluded this past August when Vonage picked up conversational AI provider Over.ai. Particularly notable among the others were its acquisitions of Nexmo, one of the earliest communications platform-as-a-service providers (CPaaS); TokBox, for programmable video; and NewVoiceMedia, for contact center services.
To signal the completion of its transformation, Vonage last week announced what it calls a “brand revitalization” manifest in use of the singular Vonage name across all services and a new logo. The Vonage Business Cloud (VBC) platform, with embedded APIs, leverages the company’s global carrier network and third-party integrations, said Rishi Dave, Vonage CMO. Moving forward, Vonage wants everybody to be clear on its future direction: “One message, one culture, one platform,” he said.
Vonage reiterated that point with the announcement of Vonage Meetings, a programmable video collaboration solution delivered natively with the VBC platform. With Vonage Meetings, users can invite group participants from Google Calendar or VBC or launch meetings on the fly from a VBC contact list, Vonage said. Guests can join via web browser.
Think of video as the poster child for Vonage’s vision of a unified platform, Masarek said. Vonage added video APIs to its portfolio with the TokBox acquisition. Having video APIs enabled Vonage to do two things, he said. First, add native support for video in the VBC platform. And second, offer developers the opportunity to use video APIs in creating their own applications. This “monetize twice” strategy applies to messaging and voice, as well, Masarek added.
Vonage Meetings, in beta testing now, will be generally available next month, Vonage said.
Also, in beta is the Conversation API that’s now available as part of the Vonage API platform. With this API, developers can create customized, real-time conversations that maintain context across voice, message, and other channels.
Speaking to the importance of carrying context forward modality to modality, Masarek concluded: “Communications is ever-more important to a brand, because [with the global and Internet economy] they no longer can effectively differentiate themselves based on their product, price, or availability. They have to differentiate based upon experience, and that experience is really so communications-dependent.”