How is Microsoft disrupting the voice market?

– Written by Helen Johnstone

Hello, today we have Mark from Carrier Automate and we are going to talk about the changing marketplace and how Microsoft is disrupting the voice market. So, Mark, tell me how is the voice market evolving?

I think we’ve seen the voice market move almost entirely to the cloud. If you think 20 years ago where email servers were, you would buy an email server for your company, plug it in, stick it under the desk and that would be your email system. People don’t buy email servers anymore, that whole on-premise business has basically gone away, and voice is going the same way. If you look at some of the fortunes of major on-premise telecommunications providers like Avaya, for example, they are not doing so well because they’re not selling any more tin. There is going to be an inevitable long tail of on-premise PBX’s, and there are places where only on-prem can work but ultimately, I think you’ll see just a default move for people to choose cloud communications for their voice services. Everyone’s used to it during the pandemic, you know, being at a distance from the PBX, there’s no need to now run your own. You might as well just pay someone else to do it. It’s a lot less hassle, it’s more reliable and probably more secure as well.

So, you talk about the pandemic, what have been the key drivers for change within the marketplace?

Well, remote working, work anywhere, work across multiple devices, but still retaining corporate control, security compliance are the things, they’ve had to learn kind of a new paradigm which has forced the acceptance I think of cloud for voice communications. Microsoft has been at the forefront of that, delivering an end-user experience in Teams, which many companies have needed to deliver. Us, as Call2Teams and Carrier Automate, have all been about providing that end-user experience whilst retaining back-end Carrier and UCaaS services. So that’s what we do, we enable those two worlds to exist side by side.

Microsoft’s move into voice means they have seen tremendous growth, I think they’re possibly the number one cloud UCaaS, with 12 million PSTN enabled users at the moment, so that puts them up in the top tier at least, so there’s a very firm direction of travel from Microsoft and we can see some future developments which are going to make that even more interesting.

So for the Carriers, for the Operators, what does this mean, Microsoft’s rise in the market? What do Carriers need to think of?

Microsoft has left a lot of things open on this. So, for example, the ability for companies to bring their existing Carrier with Operator Connect and direct routing has been really important, I think in terms of the opportunity for Carriers and Operators. So, working with Microsoft, I think is a winning strategy as you’re benefiting from some of their strategic growth, so it is a big opportunity. For carriers, I think they should look at how do I work with Teams? Do I provide carrier services to Teams? Do I Teams-enable my existing UCaaS using something like Call2Teams? It is a big opportunity to really take advantage of the customer’s desire to use Teams as an end user experience.

Thank you very much Mark.


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