Communications are evolving the way we do business. Even today, as we’ve already adopted so many leading edge solutions, new communications offerings continue to influence change and create new demands from service providers.
Kandy, GENBAND’s PaaS communications offering, has been around for two years now and has had numerous achievements. The company has been continuing to work with partners and make announcements across industries where real time communications are already being leveraged.
I had a chance recently to chat with Paul Pluschkell, CEO and Founder of Kandy, about the company’s achievements in 2016 and what they mean for the future of the industry. Our exchange follows.
1. Looking back at 2016, what are some highlights from the year for your company? New products, awards, company events, etc.?
In 2016 we celebrated the two-year anniversary since the launch of Kandy. In just two short years Kandy has quickly built an impressive roster of globally recognized customer and partner brands including IBM, SAP, XO Communications, Deloitte, Telecom Italia (TI Sparkle), AsiaInfo and Bharti Airtel. Most importantly, we are working with large service providers to enable their networks to deliver digital services.
Several service providers and enterprises are leveraging Kandy’s Consumer Mobility Solutions to enable true mobility and desktop synchronization. These market proven OTT solutions allow service providers to maintain the customer billing relationship for real time voice and video services, while also enabling enterprise CIOs to quickly introduce white label HTML-driven applications with instant consistency across mobile and desktop devices. Additionally, Kandy Consumer Mobility Solutions deliver service providers and enterprises a managed OTT solution that provides enhanced security and confidentiality protection features that are not offered by public OTT solutions.
In the past year Kandy has won six major awards including the 2016 Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award and the 2016 WebRTC Product of the Year Award.
Mobile World Congress continues to be one of the most important industry events for GENBAND, and this year we had another action-packed conference in the beautiful city of Barcelona with a ton of very productive customer and partner meetings as well as back-to-back-to-back media and analyst briefings with outlets from all over the world. Enterprise Connect is another key conference for us and at this year’s show we issued strategic announcements with the likes of XO Communications and Polycom about the excellent progress we are making on the enterprise and government fronts. We also held our fourth annual Customer & Partner summit, Perspectives16 in Orlando, Florida. Perspectives is a unique opportunity for us to bring our customers and partners from all over the world to one central location to hear from thought and business leaders discussing the issues and trends that are shaping the communications industry. Perspectives16 featured great presentations from global brands such as IBM, Verizon and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Next year’s Perspectives17 conference will be held at the beautiful JW Marriott Los Angeles LA LIVE. The five-star hotel is located in the heart of downtown and part of the world-class LA LIVE sports and entertainment district that surrounds STAPLES Center and Microsoft Theater. We’re excited to build on the momentum of previous Perspectives conferences with what promises to be one of the must-attend events of 2017 in our new venue.
2. Were there any obstacles or challenges your company or the market as a whole faced in 2016?
Many enterprises are still struggling with antiquated PBX/employee communications hardware and servers that don’t deliver the communications services their employees need or want. The real key is helping businesses realize they do not need to rip out their current contact centers or UC solutions. Additionally, some vendors try to lock their customers in to a one size fits all licensing model without consideration of the number of employees or their unique work environments. GENBAND and IBM recently introduced a compelling combination of IBM Connections Cloud and GENBAND Kandy Business Solutions to provide an integrated, cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) and collaboration platform for customers and channel partners.
GENBAND’s new Realtime Connections Client is integrated with IBM Connections Cloud to enable enterprises to modernize legacy voice infrastructure with advanced cloud communications services for improved collaboration and productivity. The combined solution allows users to utilize their Connections environment for collaboration purposes such as voice, video or chat from desktop and mobile environments.
The newly combined solution allows both organizations’ reseller partners to provide a complete cloud solution to the marketplace, delivered by experts in their respective fields. GENBAND is unique in its ability to migrate and transform existing legacy telecom solutions to the cloud, and IBM provides the same capabilities in the social and cognitive space.
Designed for ease of deployment, management and operation, the GENBAND and IBM solution enables elastic scaling to match employment dynamics and minimizes capital outlays. Additionally, knowledge and task-based employees have different collaboration requirements – someone working in a manufacturing environment will not require the same communications and collaboration tools as someone in a team office setting. GENBAND and IBM’s integrated solution delivers a superior communications experience, allowing employees to maximize productivity in their work environments while providing the ability to work from anywhere, and connect in real-time from almost any device and collaborate via text, voice or video.
3. Can you talk about some of the top RTC trends and innovations from this past year?
Over the past year the Kandy team has introduced a number of innovations such as Kandy Wrappers, which are pre-packaged intuitive, fully-developed, ready-to-deploy software apps that can do everything from creating a dynamic online shopping experience to providing secure, two-factor authentication that protects end-customers’ privacy. With Kandy Wrappers, Kandy customers can reduce the cost to deliver compelling new services and eliminate the management burden of custom application development.
4. How do you think the industry improved this year? Were there any technologies that were introduced / became popular that you’re particularly excited about?
I think the industry has made great strides in the area of Cognitive technology. Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) is rapidly entering the business/enterprise environment and as such employees will be utilizing tools to ensure they have instant access to their content, co-workers, and customers. The next step is to introduce cognitive technology/solutions (e.g. IBM’s Watson) to the mix. Interacting with cognitive technology enables the UC&C solution to analyze and interpret (Understand), provide personalized recommendations (Reason), grow expertise (Learn), and engage in dialog (Interact with Kandy apps such as Live Support). Greg Zweig, Director of Solutions Marketing, wrote a great blog on just that.
As mentioned above, Kandy Business and IBM Collaboration Solutions are working together to provide a complete communications and collaboration solution. Beginning with PBX/Voice calling and the ease of adding Omni technology, users will be able to seamlessly integrate voice and video with IBM’s IM/Presence and Directory as well as Content Sharing and IBM Meetings. Adding IBM’s Watson Technology will help expand and provide cognitive capabilities (or a more personalized and knowledgeable agent via RTC) to the solution. Watson will be able to “learn” your preferences and provide suggestions (“Reason”) to better schedule your time, or have access to needed resources, or reduce conflicts (“Interact”), etc. Kandy’s interaction with cognitive (Watson) will not be limited to our UC&C solution, it will also be used to provide the messaging platform for Bots.