The Magic of Winning with ‘As a Service’ Model, the Ribbon Way


With Gartner predicting more than 20.8 billion connected things, including phones, tablets, PCs, remote sensors, routers and more by next year, the Internet of everything must become a Real Time Communications (RTC) network or collection of networks, both private, public and hybrid.

APIs and Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) have enabled this “online consumption model” by connecting devices, machines and people for a growing and already massive exchange of data, information and ideas.

More and more companies are integrating RTC directly into their applications and business processes to improve Customer Experience (CX), enable secure transactions including payments, automate what used to be manual and complex, and create thousands of creative applications consumed on smartphones, laptops, kiosks, and more.

IDC forecasts that by embedding voice, video and messaging via APIs, RTC will dramatically improve applications, and stimulate continued innovation in solution creation. The potential for real time communications remains strong with a forecasted compounded annual growth rate of 50.9 percent from 2015 to 2020 continuing beyond next year.

Whatever the future holds, RTC will only grow in importance as enterprises consider it more vital for day-to-day operations. Secure instant communications are now fundamental requirements for enterprises and SMBs, whether it’s real-time voice, video, messaging, productivity apps, customer service platforms, or others.

We caught up with Sacha Gera, Senior Vice President, Cloud Products at Ribbon Communications, to get his take on the future of “Everything as a Service” (XaaS) but more specifically RTC as a service, delivered via cloud and NFV networks.

How does Ribbon look at this trend of ‘As a Service’ model for telecoms?

We’ve been positioning ourselves for this trend for quite a while: we took an early position in WebRTC and made the decision to virtualize all of our core services, and compile our high-quality technology and software assets into a platform called Kandy. Kandy is consumed as a service, with a flexible OPEX model.

This Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS), was created to help companies embed communications right into the software applications and web applications that are part of their workflow and how they do business – with the same communication options and convenience that mobile devices provide for their customers and employees in their personal lives.

An additional advantage we have as the world moves to the cloud for Real-Time Communications (RTC,) is our history of RTC leadership, backed by our 800+ patents. This deep expertise enables us to deliver Quality of Service and security to some of the world’s largest service providers, enterprises and organizations.

How can Ribbon enable as a service model for telecoms and become a big catalyst towards its future adoption?

Built from Ribbon’s core communications, presence, security and real-time technologies, Kandy is broad, deep, and extremely flexible including APIs, SDKs and more so CSPs and their enterprise and SMB customers can add communications anywhere. These communications options include Cloud Unified Communications (UCaaS) which we deliver through the largest service providers to enterprises around the globe, and lightweight apps we call Kandy Wrappers: pre-packaged, fully functional software applications that can be delivered standalone or embedded into any website or application.

Please share some of your customer wins in this space.

We’ve announced a number of important deployments over the past 12 months including AT&T, KPN, Empire Access, Optus and Hong Kong Broadband Networks.

The AT&T announcement tells the full story; the new AT&T API Marketplace provides businesses pre-packaged software code to embed in their websites and applications, enabling simpler, faster and more efficient ways to communicate with customers in near real-time. Using Kandy as the underlying platform,  businesses can easily add or upgrade services to their websites, such as click-to-connect voice, video and text as well as 2-factor authentication, conferencing, virtual directories and contact center.

Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer, AT&T Business said it best: “Even the largest enterprises struggle with securing the time and resources needed to deploy capabilities that can enhance customer service and create personalized experiences. In today’s omnichannel communications environment, customers expect timely responses. By giving businesses a consistent experience and easy-to-use tools, we can help address common pain points efficiently and effectively.”

As with nearly all AT&T Business solutions, the AT&T API Marketplace is powered by a highly-secure network and cloud infrastructure that helps businesses accelerate digital transformation through sophisticated edge-to-edge capabilities. As 5G technology becomes more widespread, the AT&T API Marketplace will help businesses create video-intensive apps via next-generation wireless technology.

What are some of the big advantages that this is bringing for the industry today?

Flexibility, creativity, cost-efficiency, and limitless scale. Because as-a-service solutions can be consumed based on demand, spinning up new services on the Kandy cloud and platform significantly limits risk compared to time-consuming “build your own” models.

Kandy also empowers CSPs to “go digital”, for example by short circuiting their OSS/BSS system with lightweight cloud solutions to enable new services to market in agile fashion. This positions them to better compete with the Over The Top (OTT) providers and keep pace with the digital evolution taking place in the enterprise.

At times telecoms tend to be careful towards security of their data and customers privacy. How can ‘as a service’ model ensure safety and security of telecoms operations?

Disruption is happening all around us in the incredibly fast-moving world of real time communications, whether the movement to telco cloud, to full NFV environments, to software defined networking inside enterprises, to the embedding of voice and video messaging into business applications, to AI, IoT, biometrics and more.

As connection opportunities between people, things and system expand, unfortunately so does the threat surface, including for voice and video applications.

That’s why we created Ribbon Protect. It provides a machine learning, network behavioral analytics solution for unified communications (UC) network and fraud management and provides a single view for network operations of the end to end communications network which is critical in stopping UC attacks and intelligently pinpointing network operational issues.

The platform enables users to accurately block toll fraud and Robo-dialers as well as disseminate security policies across network “enforcers” such as SBCs and firewalls.

How do you as an organization look at the future possibilities of As a Service model?

RTC delivered as a service has an extraordinary appeal among CSPs, enterprises, SMBs, application developers and more. CPaaS is truly a “blue ocean” opportunity, as our customers shift from traditional communication solutions to user-centric business communication, truly contextual and providing unprecedented customer experiences along with operational simplification.