Ahead of Swoop Datacom’s upcoming launch of version 2 of their platform, Dominic Kent of UC Today spoke to John Bennett, CEO of Swoop Datacom, to see what’s coming in their latest release.
Swoop Datacom v2
“The key thing we’re doing is expanding our portfolio. When we first started, we came from a telephony background, were involved with Snom for the first IP Phone, made the first IP-PBX and realised there was a huge gap in the market for provisioning multi-vendor endpoints and subsequently developed the first ‘born in the cloud’, multi-vendor provisioning and management SaaS. We’ve delivered a commercial channel based model and been very successful. Now, we have access to 65% of the global market in terms of distribution of IP based end points across our multi-vendor estate”.
“We’re looking to migrate over 15 million legacy endpoints across 5 or 6 vendors as they continue their journey to the cloud. We’re working closely with Cisco, Polycom, Mitel and Avaya and are launching campaigns to empower them. With version 2, you’ll see these vendors exclusive features added to the platform at a granular level that have never been implemented in the cloud before. You’ll not only be able to provision to the major call control platforms. So, we’re talking about BroadSoft, MiCloud, IP Office Cloud, 8×8, RingCentral and many more but also real time manage device from the cloud.
One of the things we’ve found on this journey over the last 3 years is that companies don’t just want provisioning of their SIP phones. They want to monitor their devices and have access to analytics and in-life management. The uptake has been brilliant. Primary, enterprise customers have been toying with it, but we are now bringing it down to small businesses and mid-market. One example, they’ll be able to schedule firmware updates at a specific time for a group or location of deployed in-life devices and actually manage their own estate from the cloud.
The biggest element of version 2 is managing other devices like session border controllers, routers and switches. Anything we can get our hands on and send information too will be our key play over the next year.
“By the time we get to Q1 next year, we should have 5 or 6 more vendors on board and tens of new third party devices supported”
“We’re bringing the kind of features that you associate with huge enterprises to the lower end of the market and making it affordable. When I was involved in launching SIP devices and services in its infancy the vision was affordable and flexible solutions, this is still our focus to this day some 17 years later”.
Passion for provisioning
All the above is direct from John as he explained what was coming in version 2. I stopped him briefly to jump in and say how refreshing it was to hear his passion for provisioning, given my background running provisioning teams. I told him that I knew first hand the types of challenges that are faced on a day to day basis – and wished Swoop Datacom was around when I was trying to find new staff to manually configure phones without any experience.
“We didn’t do this to make a quick buck. The idea was longevity and to grow over many years. We’re still in our infancy and still developing but we’ve been quickly adopted by 15 distribution partners serving around 80 countries in our first two years after launching v1.0. We’ve had huge uptake which tells us we’re doing the right thing and 9 versions later we’re leading the market, supporting the largest telephony manufacturers and distributors in the world.
It’s not been difficult to develop this technology now SIP is established and it’s been enjoyable on the way. Honestly, my team were bored making IP phones, there’s only so much you can do with the hardware.”
“Services offered a new lease of life to my team that are once again paving the way for the next generation of IoT based services”
“From a service side, the case study stats make this rewarding. You must stop and say this is something special. Take Vodafone who increased productivity by 63% and decreased overheads by 72%. This is Vodafone Germany selling Yealink, Snom, Obihai and Polycom IP devices. It’s the perfect multi-vendor environment utilised by Vodafone and facilitating sales of One Net Business in the move to SIP from ISDN.
We can take pride in saying that we are doing something big here to make sure companies are getting efficient and seamless comms. Everything is done in the back office. We’re often told it’s almost too good to be true.”
“Provisioning is an absolute nightmare when you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve removed that barrier”
“There are probably 60 features wrapped around the provisioning tool and for the price our channel partners are blown away when they actually gain a 50% margin for using the product whilst cutting costs. I guess that’s why we’re successful. We decrease overheads for the distributors and resellers whilst increase their margin and the end customer seen improvements in service levels and support.
One of the major things we wanted to move into is the legacy comms companies that aren’t yet embracing SIP technology. We know that just adding a SIP card to the PBX is not enough. We’ve modelled our solution so it’s easy for legacy providers to get on board with provisioning for the cloud. Anyone with any level of technical competency can use ForgeServe to deploy and manage their devices seamlessly in real time”.
Does Plantronics and Polycom’s rebrand to Poly impact you?
I was keen to see how some recent announcements would impact Swoop Datacom. John said that it won’t impact the technical side at all. “We work closely with Polycom daily. They are the second largest adopted vendor on our platform with some very powerful supported features. 70% of Polycom’s route to market are already using ForgeServe so we help them grow at every possible opportunity. Poly will bring a new angle for us with headsets and we already work with Obihai equipment so there are no negatives to their mergers and acquisitions from our perspective.
We meet on a regular basis for projects and its exciting times for both them and us. We’ll certainly be working with them in the near and distance future as our products become tightly integrated. I wish them best of luck as Poly and look forward to continuing our close relationship.
Does the Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams transition change things?
I mentioned the volume of Skype to Teams literature there is online at the moment. John told me “from a provisioning perspective, there might be a few changes as Teams devices are Android based. The key thing for us is that our major growth will be measured on managing metrics, analytics and in life management of those devices. I would think it will change the way we work slightly, but it there won’t be any show stoppers or a negative impact. In fact we actually recommend that Android is adopted where possible as we develop our own apps and hooks in this technology”.
About Swoop Datacom Ltd
Swoop Datacom are the developers of ForgeServe, the award winning, multi-tier, vendor agnostic device provisioning and life-cycle management platform. The cloud-based SaaS simplifies complex technology and processes whilst unlocking best of breed solutions. Empowering voice eco-system distributors and resellers with a toolbox of deployment, maintenance and support features giving vendors a clear edge over their competition. The cutting-edge features delivered through the intuitive UI allow any compatible IP device to be deployed and provisioned to any chosen call control platform and further maintained whilst in their in-life state. Delivered through the distribution channel and nurturing long term customer retention, by allowing organisations to easily adopt the latest IP technologies. Bridging the gap between traditional telecoms and IP based SIP technology adoption.
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