Introducing GENBAND fring
The technology and telecommunications industries are littered with cautionary tales of innovative companies surrendering market dominance due to their inability to react quickly enough to new and disruptive competitive forces.
The fate of BlackBerry, the one-time 800 pound gorilla of the mobile device market, currently hangs in the balance, the result of a deer-in-the-headlights response to Apple’s introduction of the consumer-friendly iPhone, or so surmises a consensus of industry observers.
Then there’s the rise and fall of the Wang word processor, which is likely an unfamiliar saga to anyone under the age of 55. That’s because Wang’s bigwigs were apparently eating cake when the first shots of the IBM-led personal computing revolution were fired back in the 1980s.
While no one is suggesting that the current headliners of the telecommunication market are on the verge of becoming footnotes in the annals of the communications industry, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to see that more and more consumers are turning to the Web -- the so-called OTT or Over-the-Top community -- as a viable option for much of their real-time communications and messaging.
Infonetics Research, for example, projects that the number of active mobile VoIP users will grow from roughly 50 million in 2010 to more than 600 million in 2016.
With the writing on the wall inscribed in large font, it’s clear that network operators of all types need to respond in some manner to this OTT threat by incorporating a Web-based communications offering into their service portfolio.
That, in a nutshell, is the reason GENBAND acquired fring, a pioneer in the mobile consumer video and messaging over the Internet space with tens of millions of subscribers and a bedrock cloud services platform. GENBAND fring will empower fixed and mobile operators, as well as MSOs and MVNOs, to control their own destinies by offering white-labeled OTT services that complement existing services and leverage operator assets to deliver an OTT experience to subscribers that independent OTT providers, lacking telecom pedigrees, are unable to match.
Fortunately, telecom operators, especially those with mobile networks, are recognizing both the threat and opportunity that Web-based communications mean to their bottom lines and positions in the communications value chain. A handful of the world’s largest operators have already unveiled commercial OTT offerings or strategies -- and more will follow. For the most part, operators can choose from three different options for entering the OTT market: partner with an independent OTT service provider, acquire an OTT service or build out their own OTT service infrastructure.
GENBAND fring delivers a fourth, and, we believe, superior option. Based on the same business principles as GENBAND NUViA™, our cloud-based UC offering for enterprises, GENBAND fring provides operators with a proven and scalable mobile OTT solution that enables operators to introduce services quickly and without the financial risks associated with an acquisition or infrastructure investment.
The cloud-based GENBAND fring is essentially “OTT in a box”.
By leveraging GENBAND fring’s carrier-class facilities and capabilities, network operators can deliver user experiences that are vastly superior to what any independent OTT service can provide. For example, the seamless routing of calls between PSTN/mobile and IP networks allows users to initiate or receive calls on the device of their choice, be it a home phone, a smartphone or tablet application or a web application running on a laptop or desktop computer anywhere in the world. In addition, operators can exploit their existing billing relationship with their users and easily bundle new services into existing service plans.
GENBAND’s acquisition of fring is tightly aligned with our Making Networks Smarter initiative, which is all about providing our customers with whatever they need to remain competitive and successfully expand into new business opportunities. The fring acquisition is another example of how the requirements of our customers are driving our corporate strategy and shaping our solutions portfolio.
As the Web continues to flower as a medium for communications, the interplay between OTT and traditional telecom services will evolve accordingly. GENBAND is continuing to invest in solutions, such as GENBAND fring and the recently introduced SPiDR™ WebRTC gateway, to ensure that network operators retain a dominant role in the delivery of future communications services.
It may be a year or more before mobile operators have a reasonable understanding of how their multimedia communications mix will breakdown between low-cost or even free services and their more traditional telecom services, such as those based on VoLTE or the Rich Communications Suite (RCS). GENBAND fring enables operators to take an active and low-risk role in making sure they are well positioned regardless of which direction the market winds blow.
As the heaps of fallen technology giants illustrate, inaction is a recipe for failure.