Thinking Phone Networks Thinks Global
February 18, 2014
Thinking Phone Networks, a Unified Communications (News - Alert) as a Service (UCaaS) provider based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is expanding its global footprint. The company began offering hosted/cloud voice and UC services to mid-size and larger enterprises in North America in 2006, then launched its service in the EMEA region in 2013, opening a regional headquarters in Amsterdam in May 2013 and a data center in Frankfurt, Germany in January 2014 to serve 17 Western European countries. Plans are to open additional data centers in Europe and other regions to accommodate a growing number of larger, multi-site customers with offices overseas.
Hosted/cloud services continue to gain in popularity as an alternative to purchasing an on-premises telephony system (more on this trend here), and Thinking Phone (News - Alert) Networks, in operation for just eight years, has already earned some important industry recognition as a top UCaaS provider. Market research firm Gartner has positioned Thinking Phone Networks as a market leader in its Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service report for demonstrating significant market presence as a VoIP solution with integrated conferencing (audio, video, and Web), instant messaging, presence, messaging and mobility. Frost & Sullivan named Thinking Phone Networks as the 2013 Company of the Year in the North American hosted IP telephony and UCC services market, citing the company’s “sustainable growth strategy, highly effective execution, strong focus on product innovation and delivery of superior customer value.”
Customers can subscribe to UC services directly through Thinking Phone Networks’ sales team or indirectly through one of the company’s wholesale partners that can choose to brand and tailor the offer as their own under a white-label/OEM program. To date, Thinking Phone Networks has 700 enterprise customers with a combined total of 5,000 sites and over 100,000 endpoints.
The Hosted/Cloud UC Service
Thinking Phone Networks uses a distributed data center architecture that provides built-in disaster recovery through multiple, global data center facilities, each of which has a redundant network and service infrastructure. There is no single point of failure since service delivery is not dependent on a particular data center site or on any single underlying service element. Additionally, the service does not rely on the public Internet with its potential security and outage issues; instead, Thinking Phone Networks utilizes private MPLS network connections or can utilize a customer’s existing network.
Typically, target customers are mid-size and larger businesses with 500-3,000 employees (the sweet spot in terms of optimal cost-effectiveness), but the solution scales to meet the requirements of even larger organizations with 5,000-10,000 users or more.
Key Applications: Mobility and Analytics
Because Thinking Phone Networks has developed its own platform, the company is able to steadily add new and forward-looking capabilities that differentiate its UCaaS portfolio from other hosted/cloud UC services in the market.
Thinking Phone Networks’ UC service has a comprehensive voice feature set, but also delivers more advanced UC capabilities such as mobility, presence and instant messaging, Web and video conferencing and contact center – all with an eye toward supporting these applications on mobile devices since accessing business communications with a smartphone or tablet has become a necessity in today’s fast-paced, competitive business environment.
ThinkingMobile, the company’s in-house Fixed Mobile Communications (FMC) solution is included with the company’s “Core” feature bundle and all higher-level bundles (more on feature bundles below). The ThinkingMobile application, downloaded to an Android (News - Alert) and iOS smartphone or tablet, provides end-users with ‘single number reach’ and convenient access to all voice features and UC applications from their mobile device.
The company has also developed an analytics application called ThinkingAnalytics that goes above and beyond competing UCaaS offers to equip businesses with intelligence about employee performance, customer engagement and business processes. Data is collected and aggregated across all ThinkingSuite applications (voice, mobility, video, presence, contact center and conferencing), as well as third-party CRM applications, to provide visibility and insights into how teams and business units are performing and how applications are being utilized. By acting on this intelligence, a business can streamline operations, enhance business processes and improve services.
A number of third-party applications, such as from Microsoft (News - Alert) and salesforce.com, can also be integrated, and customers can tie in their own business applications using Thinking Phone Networks’ library of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Thinking Phone Networks has designed feature ‘bundles’ for basic, mid-range or more advanced business needs and user requirements.
The most basic ‘UC Utility’ package supports popular telephony features and voicemail. A ‘UC Basic’ package adds access to the ThinkingAnalytics business intelligence application, with dashboard statistics viewable via the customer portal. ‘UC Core’ comes with significantly more productivity features, including a softphone, a mobile client and click-to-call plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook and major Web browsers. The ‘UC Power’ user package adds advanced application support for meet-me audio conferencing, 6-party video conferencing, fax-to-email and API Connectors for Lync and CRM applications.
Three additional feature bundles for Contact Center Agents and Supervisors and Attendants include relevant features like call recording, monitoring and administration.
On the Roadmap
Thinking Phone Networks plans to continue its international expansion in 2014; opening additional data centers that will help the company serve its growing number of enterprise customers with offices overseas. New mobile capabilities are also on the roadmap, as well as an embeddable WebRTC-based UC client that will “streamline and contextualize” customer interactions, helping to improve the overall customer experience. Stay tuned for more.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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