There is much debate among business leaders in the telecommunications industry as to the dominance in the smartphone arena. One name that continues to find favor is the iPhone (News - Alert) and for Gregory Giagnocavo, CEO of CarrierCloud, this dominance is obvious.
In a conversation with TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani, Giagnocavo also shared his view that “high definition VoIP will have to wait until 2011 before it takes hold and becomes a must-have in new telephone/PBX quotations for service.”
The full interview is provided below.
While CarrierCloud experienced growth and expansion during the recessionary 2009, Giagnocavo is disappointed, he said, that the new presidency did not provide true and accessible help for small business, which would have been a much needed boost for the economy. As for innovation in 2010, Giagnocavo anticipates the upcoming exciting marketspace for VoIP will depend greatly on the intersection of VoIP and the mobile device. Consumers continue to demand more from their mobile devices and this is where everything is going to happen.
If he were to take the highest office in the United States, Giagnocavo would develop a plan for Internet literally everywhere. He would also give tax credits and rebates for those companies providing Internet to underserved areas. As for areas of market growth in the next few years, Giagnocavo – who is speaking during ITEXPO East 2010, to be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami – believes the general telecom market looks great and innovation will make up where margins have been eroded. Bundling will be an important aspect and companies need to be sure they offer value to avoid increased customer churn.
His outrageous prediction – TMCnet is purchased or merges with a mega-company in its space.
Their conversation follows:
Rich Tehrani (News - Alert): Smartphones continue to rise, find their ways into offices and homes alike. Who will dominate that market and why?
Gregory Giagnocavo: Well, without naming names, I’d say it’s easy to think that iPhone and its “clones” will dominate. Clones in the sense of the feature set. The attractiveness is the obvious “all in one” feature set and access they provide. Four to six years ago, the smartphone was touted as giving access to Word and Excel. Now it’s more the allure of always-on instant connectivity to everything online from email, mobile payments, social networks, two-way SMS and chat and texting (SMS and MMS), hop on to VoIP and Skype (News - Alert), and, any service that uses a browser. Look for increase in services that provide advertising and text-back for businesses.
RT: We hear more and more about high-definition voice features in IP communications products and services. What is going to drive wideband audio and HD VoIP into the mainstream market? How long will it take?
GG: Polycom has convinced many that HD VoIP is affordable and worth the effort. But while HD will gain traction in 2010, I venture to say that it will be 2011 before it takes hold and becomes a must-have in new telephone/PBX quotations for service. HD VoIP is a small portion of the equipment for sale, and it won’t be until 2012 when a large percentage of already-installed VoIP systems may be looking for an upgrade.
RT: What’s the most innovative product that’s going to hit the market in 2010, from a company other than your own?
GG: As I ‘predicted’ in 2008 in this very publication, the upcoming exciting marketspace for VoIP is going to hinge on and revolve around the intersection of VoIP and the mobile device. Mobile devices (previously called mobile phones) are where everything is going to happen. VoIP to mobile, mobile to VoIP. This will include 2-way texting and messaging in all forms and formats, and extensions or improvements to mobile devices to accommodate conference calls.
Find-me, follow-me features will be essential in PBX or VoIP lines in every case, and not only *to* the mobile device, but from the mobile device in forms of more forwarding options. In 2010 it will be more and more the norm to utilize the mobile device for Skype-In and –Out, and calls to and from a mobile device will be more and more via VoIP. Remember too, that most of the growth in global communications is in countries with no legacy telecom infrastructure and the hundreds of millions of new lines will be mostly in mobile. We are only two years away from good video conferencing on, or using, mobile devices.
RT: We entered 2009 in a recession and now we’re seeing signs of the economy picking up. How did the slow economy affect demand for your products and services and what are you anticipating in 2010?
GG: We and our related companies didn’t notice the recession, except that it allowed us to buy equipment and get more space at better rates. For us in wholesale, it was a year of constant growth, expansion and launch of new products and services. It could be that many businesses and VARs were seeking out better value in the last year, and we tend to benefit when that happens.
RT: President Barack Obama has been in office for nearly a year. What has surprised you, whether a pleasant surprise or disappointment, about his presidency, policies and administration?
GG: I was disappointed that we haven’t seen true and accessible help for small business in terms of financing options, incentives to create new jobs, job training reimbursements, tax credits for investments – all the things I would have expected to help small business do its job to invigorate the economy. If 50 percent of the bailout funds would have been made easily accessible to small businesses, we all would have seen a much needed boost to the economy and fewer small businesses would still be struggling.
RT: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
GG: Come up with a plan to have Internet literally everywhere. Give tax credits and rebates for any company providing Internet to underserved areas. Create a program to encourage the adoption of new technologies and the training that has to be a part of that.
RT: What are some of the areas of market growth in the next few years?
GG: Telecom, which of course is going to be largely VoIP- related ( IP –related) isn’t going to retract, so the general telecom market looks really great. Margins will erode in many sectors, but innovation will win out. I’d say that if you are in any VoIP-related area and you aren’t planning to strive to innovate in whatever you do, you will be squeezed out. In this context innovation isn’t just related to “new technology” – the world still needs lots of the technology we already have. But you will need to innovate in relation to your business processes, practices and vision.
And, in your product mix. If you are offering three well-received services/products, you will need to offer more and do so more efficiently. Customers of all types and sizes are looking to reduce the number of vendors, and you need to be the one to offer a wider range of products and services, and, bundles… or you may be the one that the Customer decides to drop. If you are wise in this, you can increase the bottom line easier than you might have first thought; after all, your main overhead is already covered, so your new offerings don’t need a high gross margin.
RT: I understand you are speaking during ITEXPO East 2010 in Miami, to be held Jan. 20 to 22. Talk to us about your session or sessions. Who should attend and why?
GG: The topic I came up with is “Co-Opetition” and how in my view, there are many benefits to be gained, and much profit to be earned, by working in cooperation with a competitor. Look for ways to work together, because you just can’t beat out all competitors. Perhaps not necessarily a head-on competitor, but one that is generally in the same marketspace offering complimentary products and services.
The idea is that instead of waiting for that competitor to add the services you offer and then go after your customers, instead you can work out various types of deals with that competitor that allow each of you to win, but not at the expense of each other. We can’t all do everything well, so I think each of us should adopt a strategy of seeking out others and forming alliances. In the widest sense of the term, this could include private/white label - private branding (you to them, they to you), VAR programs, Affiliates, licensing, co-marketing, co-branding… and there are other possible strategies, too. We’ll touch on the mantra of Think Globally –Act Globally – after all, in many cases there is no reason to limit your market share to only your home country.
I think this will be of interest to companies who are looking for growth, but don’t want to invest in an entirely new set of products and services yet they realize that their existing customers have needs that are not being met by the current products and services they offer.
RT: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
GG: I don’t know if this qualifies for “outrageous” but I’d guess there will be some surprise purchases, along the line of Google buying Grand Central for $53 million more than a year ago. That is, big money paid for something when the rest of use can’t understand why. There will be increased activity in mergers and acquisitions and more small companies and even startups will be bought by some very large companies for big money. TMC will be “almost” bought or merged with a mega-company in their space.
To find out more about Gregory Giagnocavo and CarrierCloud, visit the company at ITEXPO East 2010. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Don’t wait. Register now.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan