Light Reading

Genband Builds Out Its Mobile Strategy

Sarah Thomas
9/3/2014
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Genband is hoping to shed its legacy, fixed-line vendor reputation once and for all, and it's building out its mobile messaging to do so.

The unified communications (UC) company introduced Wednesday what it's calling Simply Mobile, an umbrella term for all its mobile capabilities, including a new wireless gateway.

Simply Mobile is built around five key areas:

  • Mobile apps and cloud: Genband Inc. is publicly launching its Kandy developer platform, which it showed off at its annual conference back in June. Kandy lets developers add WebRTC-powered voice and video chat to any app or website via embeddable APIs, SDKs and quick starts. (See Genband Entices Devs With WebRTC Kandy and Genband Builds a Gateway to WebRTC.)

  • OTT: Genband's over-the-top (OTT) offering centers on fring, which it acquired a year ago, to offer its operator customers a white-labeled chat app. It's already in use at Bouygues Telecom and, Genband announced today, India's Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL). (See Genband Acquires fring to Help CSPs Go OTT and Bouygues First to Use Genband's fring.)

  • Messaging: This focus is the result of another Genband acquisition, that of uReach in February. With the platform, operators can offer mobile video messaging and improve their voicemail services. (See Genband Extends UC Reach With uReach Buy .)

  • Session Grid: This is Genband's framework for an "IP exchange," enabling communications across networks, apps and devices regardless of protocols and standards. Sanjay Bhatia, Genband's senior director of strategic marketing, says Session Grid takes care of the security, interoperability and compatibility between networks, including WebRTC, VoIP and fixed networks, and is enabled by Genband's presence in the session layer of networks. (See BT Deploys Genband's Diameter Signaling Controller and Top 10 Perspectives From Genband.)

    "We are in a key position with all our assets to bring an environment that interworks different networks in terms of media and protocols," Bhatia says.

  • Network densification: Genband's small cell and WiFi services are the newest bit of its mobile package. The company is launching the QUANTiX wireless access gateway, to connect the mini-basestations' traffic back to the core mobile network. Natasha Tamaskar, Genband's vice president of global solutions strategy, says this launch was spurred in part by the traction behind Hotspot 2.0, which makes authentication seamless, as well as the formation of more roaming agreements between mobile operators and hotspot vendors. (See BT's Wireless Re-Entry Starts With Small Cells.)

    "We also see that once you can offer WiFi for roaming, you then are in a great place to offer over-the-top services as well," Tamaskar says, adding that voice-over-WiFi is one good example of a service driven by improved WiFi. (See Taqua Lets Mobile Users Talk Over WiFi.)


    For more on the mobile market, check out our dedicated mobile content channel here on Light Reading.


    Why this matters
    Genband's Simply Mobile platform essentially amounts to a conglomeration of the services it has acquired and built up over the past year, but it's also important to the company from a market-positioning angle. The one-time hardware maker has had a tough time shaking its image as a legacy voice systems provider. (See Genband Plots Funding of TDM Death March.)

    When asked about its mobile strategy in the past, CEO David Walsh said that it doesn't segment between fixed and mobile, because its priority is unified communications across both networks. It's an explanation that might make sense, but the market is moving increasingly mobile and needs convincing Genband can keep up.

    Genband CMO Brad Bush admits mobility is where the action is today and says the vendor is now focused on making its customers aware of all the mobile-centric services it offers, as it tried to do when it repackaged its enterprise offerings earlier this year. (See Pulling the Strings At Genband and Genband Unifies Its Enterprise UC Story.)

    "This is not just a wrapper of old things, but all of this indicates we are all moving to a mobile world," Bush says. "The things we're offering here from wireline to Kandy and OTT all tie back into the same thing: one, it's all mobile and, two, we're trying to help traditional customers to move up the mobile value chain."

    Related posts:

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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    Mitch Wagner
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    Mitch Wagner,
    User Rank: Lightning
    9/3/2014 | 12:56:33 PM
    Re: Mobile story time

    Seems late in the day for a company to be pivoting away from a landline strategy to mobile. Like a car company announcing it's decided to embrace those newfangled horseless carriages.

    SReedy
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    SReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    9/3/2014 | 11:43:42 AM
    Mobile story time
    Today's announcement reminds me a lot of when Genband bundled together all its enterprise offers to make a comprehensive platform offering. It's important that the market understands what it offers and where it plays, and that's far-reaching on both fronts. It is trying to a bit to be everything to everyone, which isn't always a sound strategy, but we'll see if this is the mobile story investors were looking for.
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