How NFV and Cloud are Reinventing Enterprise Communications and Increasing Productivity

Patrick Joggerst

Businesses have fully embraced cloud computing for all the right reasons, with an estimated 95% of them now operating on a public, private, hybrid or multi-cloud platform according to the latest research from Rightscale’s State of the Cloud survey.

Businesses who have invested in moving to the cloud have enjoyed significant operational improvements and cost reductions, while also gaining competitive advantages through the agility cloud computing has proven; by reducing or eliminating IT costs and headaches, companies across every industry sector have embraced cloud, and are now expanding from basic cloud computing to Real Time Communications (RTC), including voice, messaging, video, collaboration and embedded services.

We’ve all lived through the challenges of early Voice over IP (VoIP) applications, with quality problems and security risks, but with the advancement of Communications Service Provider (CSP) networks after a decade or more of virtualization, Quality of Service (QoS) and protection of data has never been better.

In the fast-growing Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) markets, Ribbon Communications, invested early in technologies including WebRTC, session border controllers (SBCs) for security, and most recently enterprise edge capabilities with their acquisition of Edgewater Networks last year.

TelecomDrive recently caught up with Patrick Joggerst, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development for Ribbon, to get his take on the future of cloud communications for service providers, enterprises and businesses in 2019 and rolling forward.

Enterprise communications space is changing fast and today NFV and Cloud are playing an important role in terms of redefining productivity for enterprise. How does Ribbon look at this trend?

The big pay-off for CSPs, having completed major transformations of their infrastructure and virtualized network functions which are now running on standardized equipment, is their ability to serve their largest and most demanding enterprise customers with higher quality voice, video and messaging built into productivity applications delivered via the cloud faster and more cost-effectively than ever before.

While consumer services are also growing, especially in the mobile space, enterprise and SMB accounts bring steady revenues to service providers, especially those who have made the move into managed services.

What are some of your offerings that can accelerate return on cloud investments for enterprise customers?

CSPs around the world rely on our product offering which they leverage as a platform for their own innovation and creativity in delivering competitive RTC solutions to their enterprise and business customers.

We don’t compete with CSPs as some companies do; we empower them by making it easy to package and sell everything from Cloud UC, APIs and apps to messaging platforms, UC clients, Session Border Controllers (SBCs), policy and routing for session control, to edge management that includes security and analytics. We are the foundation for their offerings to enterprises, including banks, hospital systems, universities, local, state and federal governments, retailers, e-commerce companies and more.

We’ve created cloud-based offerings working in collaboration with CSPs and their partners, including companies like Microsoft, AWS and others, optimizing not only basic voice, messaging and video, but optimizing more broadly workflow and productivity applications like Microsoft Teams. Our software has been built from the ground up to make it easy for our customers to roll out and manage services which work on any cloud – public, private, hybrid and most importantly across multiple clouds.

What are some of the big challenges that you see in this space? How do you plan to overcome these challenges?

The key challenge we’re seeing coming from the enterprise IT point of view is how to plan for, implement and scale RTC in the cloud; while basic cloud computing is now extremely familiar to them, running voice and video services via the cloud raises many new issues and concerns about reliability, resiliency, QoS and security. Concerns about information safety and security are paramount. That’s why we introduced  Ribbon Protect last year. This service is as “programmable” as our core RTC services, which is incredibly important as security and analytics, including AI, can be elegantly integrated into any offering, another advantage of NFV for the CSP.

Please share some of your product innovations in this space and how are these helping towards redefining productivity for enterprise?

Given the breadth of competition, service providers need a cloud provider that can enable multiple offers, and this is precisely why we built our Kandy cloud, truly pioneering in this space over the last five years. Kandy offers UCaaS, cloud-based unified communications, CPaaS, APIs and SDKs that make it easy to embed communications everywhere, Wrappers, pre-packaged applications that communication enable web pages and apps, and SIP Trunking as a Service. Kandy is the foundation for AT&T’s API Marketplace, for example.

What according to you does future hold for NVF and cloud for the enterprise space? What can we expect here?

Migration of real-time communications to a public cloud or to a service provider’s private cloud has already begun and will continue to accelerate as the economics of being cloud-based outweigh the economics of remaining on legacy infrastructure.  To ensure the security, performance, and service quality of cloud-based real-time communications, complementary core network solutions that are cloud-native are a must.

To enable a successful migration for our customers, Ribbon moved our core network portfolio from legacy hardware through virtualization to cloud-native designs that can be deployed in multiple cloud environments.

CSPS who wish to retain control over their core network functions, instead of deploying in a public cloud, will typically deploy network functions virtualization (NFV) in their private cloud environments.  NFV eliminates proprietary hardware dependencies, drives efficiency of scale, improves service agility and fundamentally improves the way service providers do business.

By delivering a suite of OpenStack-based virtual network functions (VNFs), Ribbon’s NFV solution helps ensure successful cloud deployments for real-time communications, enabling our customers to create competitive enterprise and SMB offerings more easily and profitability than was ever possible with legacy networks.

What do we see in this space? Endless opportunity and continued growth. The combination of NFV and cloud communications is the future, and we’ve only just begun to see what is possible.

Ribbon is bringing together its global ecosystem of customers, technology partners, software partners and channel partners for the seventh annual edition of Ribbon Perspectives, being held this year in Washington, D.C. during April 28 – May 2, 2019.