In a technological era where most everyone has access to the same network equipment, the differentiating factor for service providers becomes the efficiency with which they are able to roll out new services, especially when it means keeping pace with the competition. Too frequently, however, network operators find they do not have the capabilities to develop their own applications, and must look to the traditional application vendors. Unfortunately, that can take unbearably long, to the point where it can push a provider right out of the market by the time they are able to launch a new product.
This was what David Jodoin, CEO at Iperia, understood when he joined the firm back in 2005. Realizing that the hardware market was quickly becoming commoditized, and that IP
technology held considerable power that needed to be harnessed — but also knowing how long it can take to grow the adoption rate of new technologies — he decided the real power play was going to be with voice assets.
“Taking voice assets and making them homogenous to large enterprises’ current initiatives, and being able to implement them in a way that allows them to tightly couple their voice applications with their mission critical applications, helps create process improvements and value enhancers to the way they do business,” he explained.
So, when he joined Iperia, he almost immediately restructured the company’s development plans and decided to develop a service creation platform that would enable customers to bring their voice assets into a Web services architecture to tightly integrate them into their existing efforts, which, in turn, would help them retain a competitive advantage.
David’s plan was to create an advanced SIP
engine that would work in conjunction with an SOA-based application server to enable not only services providers, but enterprises as well — he felt this capability could easily be extended into the enterprise space as well — to quickly and easily roll out new services to meet the changing needs of their customers.
Since there are two vendors that own the bulk of the application server
market — BEA Systems and IBM (News
) — Iperia opted to sign global agreements with both of them to adopt their platforms, because that would provide them access to the lion’s share of the market Iperia was after.
“We designed our product to sit on top of their SDPs (service delivery platforms), and, because now we’re adding componentized voice assets, we now are completely homogeneous in the SOA environment that a majority of the enterprise market is using today,” explained Jodoin. “So, we become an upgrade for the majority of enterprises that our out there that they could just bring into their existing environments, and instead of needing a development team to understand the SIP communication between handsets and gateways and proxies and routers.”
Iperia launched a beta version of the IperiaVX platform last fall, and has expanded that product to include not just unified messaging
, but also all other unified communications offerings, like conferencing, fax, voice mail, auto attendant, soft media server, proxy services, and are continuing to further enhance the product.
According to Jodoin, UM is a commoditized market, which he saw as a reality early on when he opted to shift the company’s focus.
“But we’re not selling UM anymore,” he said. “We’re selling a service creation platform, and yes, one of the features you get with it is unified messaging, but what you’re really getting is a service creation platform that allows you to introduce new services much more quickly that if you had to go to a traditional large scale unified communications vendor.”
In fact, whereas it could take 12 to 18 months to get those new services rolled out, IperiaVX enables the same rollout in a week, or even less. And that’s the real power of the service creation platform — users are able to shorten their time to market and bring new applications and services to their customers much more rapidly than ever before. In addition, product testing is considerably simplified as well, since testing does not have to be performed across the entire network — only on the one new piece. That’s the benefit of building new applications on top of an existing stable platform.
With IperiaVX, new communications applications can be seamlessly integrated into a single, unified platform, reducing costs, management time, and time to market. The standards-based platform unites common business applications with next generation voice technologies.
For instance, a local realtor could, using the IperiaVX platform, assign local DIDs to each house his firm is selling. When a potential customer drives past the house and dials the number, it can then offer a variety of options, including having a virtual tour sent to the mobile device. In the mean time, the system can send a text message to the agent with details about the property and the caller ID of the prospective buyer. Then, even if the agent is in the middle of showing a house, he can place the call and tell the new buyer if he can wait ten minutes, he can get a tour of the property immediately.
That is just one of limitless ways businesses of any size can benefit from IperiaVX. What’s more, there is also the potential for carrier customers to experience considerable cost savings as well, even if they are upgrading from a previous Iperia platform. A 10,000 subscriber network operator, for instance, might have to deploy three Sun servers, external media servers, and would still be restricted by Iperia’s old platform — yet the deployment would cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars. The operator would be hard pressed to generate a reasonable ROI in that instance.
On the other hand, with the new IperiaVX platform and a single Dell (News
) dual processor, Iperia was able to serve as many as 100,000 subscribers, process three million calls in a 72-hour period, yet experience fewer than 300 dropped calls. Including the soft media server, the system can be in place for the same 10,000 subscriber operator for less than $100,000. Also, since it is a platform-based solution, Iperia charges a flat fee for the system, and only minimal recurring fees for voice mail and the media server.
While not all customers will realize this level of cost savings, they can all benefit from the ability to reduce their time to market with new services and applications, which allows them to rapidly adjust to market shifts. When they see a competitor introducing a new capability, they can quickly create something comparable. And when they discover a new opportunity, they can ensure they are first to market. Also, because the platform is IMS
compliant — Iperia is part of Motorola’s (News
) recently announced IMS ecosystem — it becomes an essential tool for organizations looking to leverage their IMS investments to quickly enhance their service offerings.
As with the services Iperia’s customers bring to market, Iperia says timing is everything. The key, as a software company, is to be an early market entrant, so you’re ready to ride the wave as it occurs, because it is difficult to make up ground if you’re caught behind the wave. On the other hand, you also do not want to be too early, where you risk people not understanding what you’re offering.
“In this case,” said Jodoin, “we felt we predicted the wave and are releasing our product just as the swell is coming at us.”
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and Unified Communications. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert), he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.