Peter Radizeski is Founder and President of RAD-INFO INC. He is an accomplished blogalyst, speaker, author and consultant. He has helped many service providers with sales training, marketing, channel development and business strategy. He is a trusted source of knowledge about the telecom sector. His honest and direct approach make him a refreshing speaker.

Look for his innovative ideas and analysis of current technology on his blogs.

Meet him at one of the many conferences he attends and speaks at.

Hire RAD-INFO today!

East Coast assets of FiberLight were finally sold!

The East Coast assets of FiberLight were finally sold, according to Ramblings (and notes in an investor report by Atlantic Broadband owner, Cogeco).

FiberLight’s history dates back to 1993 when the original assets were founded as ASCI. ASCI went on to became e.spire. In 2002, after another management buy-out, it became Xspedius Fiber Group. This company later spun out the fiber division as FiberLight in 2005 after yet another PE firm change.

Interesting to me: Atlantic Broadband purchased several dark fibres throughout south Florida from FiberLight, LLC for a consideration of US$16.8 million.

So an IRU cost that much now.

Peter Radizeski is a telecommunications consultant and analyst with RAD-INFO INC.

What Does All This Mean?

I missed the announcement that West acquired PhoneTree.

Some of these acquisition like Glip, PhoneTree, Fuze, etc. have been either acqui-hires or functionality fill-ins. In other words, buy it, don’t build it! (Smart strategy actually, because you get some revenue as well as talent and functionality.)

Much of the acquisitions in UC space have to do with 2 things: too many players, not enough growth; and I-have-no-idea-what-is-happening!

Star2Star and Blueface is a good example of “We took VC money and didn’t grow fast enough.” There are plenty of smaller examples of this.

TechTarget made a good point:

According to Gartner’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant, Star2Star, based in Sarasota, Fla., is a niche player with competitive pricing and a hybrid architecture that offers high reliability over low-speed broadband networks. However, Star2Star is smaller than other providers in the market in terms of revenue, number of employees and capital structure. The company also lacks brand recognition because of its channel-only sales approach.

RC spends 60 cents per dollar on sales & marketing. While some would say that isn’t profitable, it does fuel growth and brand. Isn’t that the name of the game right now?

Fusion (+Birch) said organic growth was less than 4%!! And instead of spending like RC on marketing, acquisitions hd a lower cost of sales. I take that to mean: we suck at sales and marketing!

You have to wonder a few things: What does that about not just the Brand, but also service delivery and customer retention?

EVERYONE says churn is low to zero. Everyone is full of shit. If you never lose a customer, revenue and margin should both increase every quarter.

BSFT getting bought by Cisco is an example of what are we doing? For both companies. They were both stalled. Not sure if together they can get the party started again. We’ll see.

I thought that Siris (the PE firm that owns Polycom, Tekelec, PGi and Airvana) should have acquired BSFT. Apparently they made a swipe, but didn’t want to pay the premium.

So to summarize: too many providers; not enough growth; no brand; all niche players.

There will need to be much more consolidation.

We are 15 years into Hosted PBX (or UCaaS or Cloud Comms) and if you aren’t growing, you are either stagnant or voice is just a small part of your business.

On another segment of the VoIP Market:

Polycom+Obihai, Vtech+snom, Mitel+Aastra, Mitel trying to grab Polycom are examples of too many vendors resulting in minimal growth. And in the handset space, we have peaked. It just starts declining at this point. Too many on the grey market. And many sales are app/softphone or browser based at this point. If there is a handset it is likely a bluetooth headset.

Get the Most out of the Trade Show

How do you maximize your benefits from a trade show?

Here are some simple tips to follow:

  1. Register early to get the best rate.
  2. Stay at the host hotel because you will run into more folks than if you are commuting to your hotel.
  3. Research travel arrangements – like airfare, cabs, buses, Uber, whatever. How expensive is parking?
  4. Have plenty of business cards [In fact, order some now at MOO!]
  5. What is your Goal? What two or three things do you need to take away from this show for it to be positive?
  6. Plan in Advance. Check to see what sponsors and speakers will be there. What sessions look interesting? Mark your calendar!
  7. For the biggest impact vendors like to have a booth or table. See about opportunities to sit on a panel. This gives you a little bit of spotlight.
  8. Bring two pairs of comfortable shoes and wear them on alternate days.
  9. Wear your badge in plain site. 
  10. Be sure to follow up with new contacts and vendors after the show. 
  11. Note anything interesting in a notebook (or a note taking app like Evernote). 
  12. Carry a pen or 2! 

Lately, some folks just take a photo of my business card – or quickly add me to LinkedIn. I still take notes on business cards  (hence the pens)

Good thought:  Take a moment after the show to make note of any exhibits or displays that you thought were particularly effective. What did they do that you could implement in your own company’s marketing campaign?

Dinner:  Having a meal is a bonding experience. I always have dinner gatherings at shows. You can too. Many attendees have no plans, so inviting folks to dinner (even a Dutch treat) will quickly make you a friend.

Peter Shankman has some interesting things to add.

We’ll see you in New Orleans on Feb 5-7 for FISPA LIVE and the following week on 2/13-2/16 at ITEXPO + CVX Expo + SDWAN in Ft Lauderdale.

Peter Radizeski is a telecommunications consultant and analyst with RAD-INFO INC.

VoIP M&A in 2018 Vol 1

Well, 5 days into 2018 and we have some M&A activity.

First up, the newly merged entity called STARBLUE, which is the result of Star2Star merging with Ireland’s Blueface. Star2Star is a hybrid provider based on Freeswitch that has on-premise hardware (Asterisk box) at the customer premise, gets SIP trunks from Level3 or other, and has some elements in the cloud (like voicemail). Star2Star was mainly channel sales driven. Blueface is a member of the Cloud Comm Alliance and is a Broadsoft shop. Weird pair.

Tired of these articles (mainly written to promote the stock): Why Cisco’s Acquisition of Broadsoft Is a Strategic Fit. “BroadSoft owns about 19 million subscribers and is a provider of cloud calling, contact center solutions, and other services.” That is NOT true. Most of those subs are owned by the BSFT client. And most are SIP trunks. True, BSFT has a white-label division (that the VoIP Logic acquisition bolstered) but they don’t have 19M users directly.

BTW, a number of BSFT shops are dropping BSFT for Netsapiens and other platforms.

Polycom (owned by PE firm Siris Capital Group) is buying Obihai. This is a consolidation in the VoIP end-point space, not unlike snom-Vtech or Mitel-Aastra.

Element VoIP, a Tampa Florida based Hosted VoIP provider, has changed its name to Viirtue. That should be no less confusing for people to find. Element recently merged with another Netsapiens provider, so this name change is kind of a launch.

IP Centrex to Hosted PBX eventually it was called Cloud Comms, then UCaaS now Unified Collab.

This is interesting (and will make Craig Walker sad): Report: Google working on major G Suite improvements, including ‘Wolverine’ VoIP service.

Even some SD-WAN M&A: Martello Technologies, the provider of performance management solutions for real-time communications, announced today that it has merged with SD WAN network performance and business continuity company Elfiq Networks. [source]

On Talent Especially Millennials

FISPA wanted me to do a talk on Millennials but I just don’t have enough real world experience except in the startup world. But NYU Professor Scott Galloway does a good job of giving some advice on managing Millennials. Despite that it is about Retail, the data can be extrapolated to your business as well.

Enjoy this podcast

Peter Radizeski is a telecommunications consultant and analyst with RAD-INFO INC.