One of the major trends we observed in 2014 was cloud companies’ expansion from the US and into international markets.
This trend will increase dramatically in the coming year, and bring with it several distinct trends. Cloud providers today are taking over market share from premise/PSTN-based approaches with major strides. CPE equipment companies are adopting cloud models to compete with the pure plays, and adding API functionalities to attract developers. Many of them are raising large funding rounds and/or going public, which increases expectations for growth that will likely be fulfilled through international expansion.
Europe, Asia and emerging markets present unchartered territory for the new cloud & sharing economies – from Salesforce.com to Uber – and Unified Communications (UC) companies are no exception. A few elements of this overall trend will be important in 2015:
Number portability: As companies ditch their PBXs and move to UC solutions, they want to keep their numbers as their external identity. While this is easy in the US, for multi-national corporations or cloud companies serving international SMB clientele, they will need to be able to manage portability requests country across country, and will begin investing in solutions to help them do so.
Regulatory compliance: It is challenging enough for domestic companies to figure out what the FCC is planning in the United States. Imagine what it’s like for cloud companies expanding into Europe, with its federal EU regulations, as well as 28 national governments to manage? In order to remain compliant with local licensing requirements, address verifications and other essentials, many US companies will choose to outsource this to specialist companies.
Provisioning APIs: Onboarding a customer or fulfilling an order no longer needs to be delayed by telecom provisioning. APIs enable cloud UC companies to source telephone number and SIP trunking resources instantly right from their vendor’s own clouds. 2015 will mark many more companies beginning to take advantage of this capability.
WebRTC: This initiative to bring real-time voice and video into browsers and apps will continue to gain traction and industry acceptance over the coming year, with a high potential to hit mainstream adoption by early 2016.
These functionalities will be increasingly bundled into globalised telecom experiences throughout 2015, via WebRTC and global telephone numbers. Web-based models can translate easily across borders: localisation of content, opening up data centers in new markets; and for telecom: sourcing local telephone number resources. Through all of this, it is clear that local telephone numbers will be the glue that pin cloud services to local markets.
Hugh Goldstein is the Head of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at Voxbone.