The fring Alliance Summit took place last week in Istanbul. To learn more about what happened at the summit and what’s next for the alliance, we spoke with Roy Timor-Rousso, general manager of the fring Alliance. Here’s an excerpt of our exchange.
What was the objective of the fring Alliance Summit?
Roy Timor-Rousso: This year's summit is the first of many annual meetings to come, bringing together members and prospective members of the fring Alliance to exchange information and ideas; to build together a platform and services roadmap for the near- and long-term future; and to create an exciting, federated real-time communications application that does more than allow people to message each other with voice, video, and text. The applications we are creating include embedded experiences, which we will be sharing in 2016.
What happened at the meeting?
Timor-Rousso: We welcomed fring Alliance members, their partners, and several of our technology ecosystem partners, including companies like Netas and Infobright to join us for a welcome dinner, followed by a very rich, full-day interactive session where GENBAND's fring Alliance team shared the latest fring customer wins, the latest fring features and applications built on the Kandy Platform-as-a-Service, as well as a very sophisticated digital marketing support platform. CMO Patrick Joggerst and SVP of Marketing Communications Bita Milanian previewed a state-of-the-art secure portal where alliance members will be able to access all the latest market information, service information, technical specifications, and more. The go-to-market programs for 2016 are very exciting, kicking off at Mobile World Congress in February.
A social network is embedded in the member portal, enabling the community to continue to grow. We have some of the best and brightest, most innovative and active next-generation thinkers as members, and they are joining working groups so we can truly build and federate the fring Alliance together.
We also shared some tangible yet forward looking – currently top secret -– services that will be made available exclusively to fring Alliance members, which we will be rolling out in 2016.
What were some of the key takeaways from the meeting?
Timor-Rousso: The discussion confirmed what we have been learning since we first announced the alliance in February of this year, literally traveling the globe, and meeting with dozens of service providers – new revenue streams are golden! We need to do more than just match the experiences that have allowed companies like Viber, WhatsApp, and more to grow so quickly and serve so many millions of subscribers. Those apps are free, and they are quite good. We need to create the highest quality Real Time Communications Services (like RCS but without the wait), provide monetizable services (whether ad-sponsored or transaction-based), and experiences for subscribers which leverage the unique assets of mobile operators.
The amount of creativity and value creation possible is thrilling. We will focus first on the things that matter most to our members, including federating including social media integration – implementing the new network and services with an interesting rev share marketplace in the same high-quality fashion we have been doing with fring. We will then build from there, as a truly collaborative community – not a non-profit organization with good intentions, but serious business people with great ideas and innovations!
What’s next for the fring Alliance?
Timor-Rousso: Growth! We are thrilled with the response so far and will be making a lot of exciting announcements in the coming months and sharing a lot more detail in Barcelona. We have learned a lot by listening closely, and will continue to shape the strategies and roll out the services that matter most to our community. In Istanbul, we brought the core community together – the pioneers. That community will grow to serve a community of billions of fring Alliance users who love the service that is branded by their provider, in their region, tuned to their tastes, and open, not closed to enable their friends and family from all over the world to stay connected in ever more meaningful and colorful ways.