On Wednesday 25th of February The Cavell Group hosted the first European VoIP summit, where we brought together 110 people from 7 countries and over 40 service providers to London to discuss the opportunities and issues the industry was facing. We had speakers from all the key VoIP providers in Europe including; NFON, Blueface, Gradwell, 8×8, RingCentral, Vonage, BT, Gamma, Talk Talk, Tipicall and many others, also we heard keynotes from Broadsoft and Genband. T
The presenters and panellists were able to share their experiences from different countries, from the discussions it was clear that there was strong optimism among service providers about the growth of the market, which was also backed up by our latest market figures which we announced to the audience and will be updated on the blog shortly. Matt Townend Cavells Director of research and consulting started the event, by presenting both Cavells latest market data and also demonstrated the projects that we had been undertaking both in our research, consulting and professional services businesses to assist service provides around the world
Peter Gradwell (Gradwell) Marcus OTTO (NFON) and Alan Foy (Blueface) kicked off the panel discussion with a fascinating insight into the market and its challenges from 3 of the leading pioneers. We then had a presentation from Todd Wilkens VP of Broadcloud at Broadsoft who discussed some of the key challenges they had overcome in launching their platform in Germany and the UK and he mentioned France was probably the next location in Europe.We then had a great panel of providers who had recently entered the UK market from both Germany and the US, including; Ringcentral, Vonage, Nconnect and Broadsoft. In this debate we discussed how do you get the correct team to do the new country startup, and what was the best channels to market initially and how do you deal with localisation and Regulation.
Just before lunch we had some lively discussion particularly around the SIP market, where speculation about when the UK ISDN network might be end of life, caused some lively discussion about whether government and the regulator should play more of a role in this discussion rather than it being a decision at the mercy of BT Openreach.
The afternoon was started with a fascinating presentation on the role of WebRTC with Genband giving a Keynote on their thoughts and then a panel with great inputs from IPCortex and VOxhub. It is clear that use cases are coming thick and fast but Webrtc is unlikely to replace the existing market, but rather augment it. One of the most amusing panels was the discussion about whether service providers should Build, Hire or Buy a new platform, we had Colin Duffy from VoIPfone who have been extremely successful building their own platform, explaining how he liked to own everything and have control over the customer service he provided and did not understand the principal of buying licenses or seats!. This was contered by both Genband/Boadsoft and SIPHON who are focussed on the commercial delivery of platforms. After a fascinating debate including a long discussion about the role now of OPEX based models, Colin pointed out that although he was passionate about building his own platform, it would be quite hard to replicate that model again now.
The final session of the day was about what UC services you could charge a premium for!, with 8×8, Kcom, Inclarity and 6DG. I found it particularly interesting that the hole concept of UC, was probably now to blunt an instrument to describe the market. In fact where customers perceived value and therefore where potentially you could charge a premium differed greatly both by size of company and between companies of similar size. The bigger issue was helping your channels or direct sales force become more of a solutions sales force to understand where value lay for individual customers. The day was ended with a networking drinks session sponsored by Siphon Networks, where the lively debate and networking was continued with the assistance of a few drinks.
We have had some great feedback already with all our attendees giving the event a 4 or 5 out of 5 in the exist interviews with comments including – “Terrific to get so many industry peers in the same room to share experiences”,”Really enjoyable day and some excellent content delivered by credible industry experts”
The date for next year is already set for 24th of February, in London and we will be expanding the venue so we can accommodate more attendees and potential sponsors/exhibitors. A big thank you again to all who attended or spoke and a particular thank you to our Gold sponsors; Broadsoft, Genband & Yealink for their great support.