Tuesday, September 28, 2010

INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO West 2010

I am looking forward to attending TMC’s IT EXPO next week in Los Angeles. I have attended the last several IT EXPOs and have found them well-run and well-attended. This time I am looking forward to being able to participate in a number of the sessions.

Tuesday, October 5th at 10am – Presenting at Reseller Day 2.0
This is an innovative session. Typically trade shows have lots of sessions about technology segments or other somewhat abstract topics and it falls on the attendees to figure out how the content can benefit them. The intent of this session is to allow attendees to hear a series of brief presentations about products and services that they can practically run right out and resell. Given that InPhonex pioneered private-label VoIP resale eight years ago and has more than 3,500 resellers today, I am especially excited about being able to speak directly to a room full of eager potential resellers.

Tuesday, October 5th at 10:30am – Moving from Concept to Cash Flow with SaaS-Based Switching & Network Management Services
For this session I will be on a panel with other executives discussing the evolving technical and business models in the cloud-based business environment. It’s tough to predict the actual direction that a panel will take (and that’s part of what makes them interesting) but I expect to offer input from the InPhonex perspective which is that we have entered “the era of applications” and the demands on telecom service providers have changed. The competitive battleground has shifted. For a generation customers’ telecom decisions have been based largely on the “price” leg of the three-legged product, price, support stool. Today the “product” or application leg is bearing a lot of weight: consumers and businesses are demanding advanced features, powerful integration, and ease-of-use. For a clear illustration of this shift look at the mobile service/device/application marketplace(s). Many Internet telephony service providers are so consumed with managing their telecom platform (which they perceive to be essential to maintaining control of their service and its cost) and maximizing their distribution that they haven’t prioritized creating competitive applications. InPhonex offers an alternative: outsource your telecom platform needs to InPhonex and focus your resources to succeed in “the era of applications”.

Tuesday, October 5th at 11:30am – Minutes Merchants: Peering from Arbitrage to Outsourcing
This panel will be hosted by Hugh Goldstein who is someone I always enjoy having a conversation with – especially about our industry – because he is so knowledgeable. Again, predicting the content of a panel is tough but this one should be interesting because it is focused on an interesting topic about which I expect there are passionate views. It seems to me that the central question at issue is whether the wholesale “minutes merchants” business is dead or dying. I have my opinion: which is that predictions of this sort are inherently risky. Sometimes a “dying” business or segment is just one innovation away from a new peak. What I do know is that InPhonex is not focused on being a wholesaler. We believe that while remaining aware of wholesale pricing levels – and their psychological impact on our customers – InPhonex needs to remain focused on the value-add that our platform delivers. A wholesale minute or DID is not a solution. It’s like a single piece of a puzzle that many current and aspiring service providers don’t fully appreciate. To continue the analogy, many tend to think they are building a 10-piece puzzle when the reality is closer to a 100-piece puzzle.

Wednesday, October 6th at 9:30am – The Business Case for VoIP – Going Beyond ROI and TCO
This should be a great panel. I will share the dais with executives from other Internet telephony service providers to discuss what could be the Big Question for all of us right now: what are benefits of VoIP services that don’t show up on a lower monthly bill and how will these benefits get communicated to the marketplace? We have or are soon to reach the end of the opportunity to “pick the low-hanging fruit” of businesses and consumers that can reap huge savings with a switch to VoIP. We need to get proficient having a persuasive conversation about increased productivity, improved reachability, lower administrative costs, and the like. The providers that succeed at this have an opportunity for tremendous growth. Those that fail will be left fighting tooth and nail over the price-focused buyers. InPhonex’ core offering is to liberate service providers to focus on product excellence and advancement – by allowing them to outsource their telephony platform. The service providers that focus on the power and innovation of their offerings will be in a better position to have a credible dialog beyond “here’s how much lower your monthly bill will be with us . . .”

So next week is shaping up to be an active and exciting one for InPhonex and me. I hope to see many of our current customers at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Please attend one or all of the sessions above and, if you do, come up and introduce yourself – I am always eager to speak with a current or prospective customer.