Zeroing in on Genband's Future

With Genband's annual partner and customer conference taking place next week and its pending $745 million deal with Sonus Networks top of mind, I recently checked in with company executives and industry watchers to get a little perspective on what changes the merger might bring.

From Genband's point of view, one of the big ideas behind the merger is to create a company that has all the necessary components to enable businesses and service providers to transform their networks to IP and cloud, Patrick Joggerst, EVP, Global Sales & Marketing at Genband, told me. In particular, Genband is excited about what Sonus has been doing in terms of securing IP traffic flows and "taking the firewall to the next level," Joggerst said.

And Sonus sees the merger in part as an opportunity to accelerate its signaling business, said Kevin Riley, Sonus CTO. While Genband had been a Sonus reseller, it had only done a "modest job" -- a situation he attributed to competitive overlap in Genband's portfolio. That will change once the companies have joined forces, he said.

Experts Weigh In

Whatever the companies' motivations might be, industry watchers largely see the merger as a positive.

"The merger of Genband and Sonus has great potential to define the future of real-time communications platforms for service providers, enterprises, and business application software developers," said Marty Parker, independent consultant and co-founder of UCStrategies.com, in an email exchange. The merged company should give BroadSoft a "run for its money," he added.

In particular, Genband's strength in providing real-time communications through its platform, Kandy, marries nicely with Sonus's broad connectivity family of session border controllers (SBCs) and gateways, Parker said.

The merger is a logical step for both companies, agreed Phil Edholm, president and founder of PKE Consulting. As the rural telecom market, one of Genband's strengths, moves to IP-based solutions, having an integrated SBC product suite will enhance its competitiveness, he said. "The combination of the Genband softswitch and the Sonus SBC are a complete solution for a telco looking to move to an IP communications solution."

What's Next?

While the pending Sonus merger will surely be on the minds of attendees at next week's Perspectives conference, they shouldn't expect to hear much about the deal at the event, as the two companies are in a quiet period pending approvals.

However, regarding the future of its Kandy communications platform as a service (CPaaS), Joggerst did promise a "stronger story after the close," as the real-time CPaaS capability gets merged with Sonus cloud-based security products. Enterprises should expect to see Genband getting new services out more quickly and in an "ultra-secure fashion," he added.

While specifics on the Sonus merger won't be forthcoming at Perspectives, the agenda will include a healthy mix of carrier and enterprise content, Joggerst said. In particular, enterprise IT should put Tuesday afternoon's innovation panel on their must-attend lists; the session will feature perspectives from enterprises and carriers alike on how to address unique market opportunities in a way that generates revenue.

On my to-do list is to check out a demo of the Live Support Kandy Wrapper introduced at Enterprise Connect in March. The Live Support tool includes a chat bot, allowing enterprises to offload FAQ interactions to the bot, freeing up the call center queue for more challenging customer inquiries. The nice thing about the Live Support wrapper is that if the bot is unable to fulfill a customer request, the entire interaction is forwarded on to agents so no information has to be repeated when a request is escalated, Joggerst pointed out.

In addition, Joggerst hinted that attendees should expect to hear updates on Genband's partnerships with IBM and Five9, with executives from those companies taking the keynote stage. Further, the company expects to share a handful of customer announcements, one of which involves a municipality with a large-scale Kandy deployment.

Check back in to No Jitter next week to stay in the know about happenings out of Genband Perspectives.

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