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August 21, 2013

AudioCodes Talks WebRTC, Generation 'C' and 'The Woz'

One of the many high-profile companies participating at ITEXPO is AudioCodes, which manufactures and sells advanced Voice over IP and converged VoIP and Data networking products and applications to service providers and enterprises.

With more than 17 years of product development experience, AudioCodes is focused on VoIP network products and technology. During that period, the company has deployed tens of millions of media gateway and media server channels in over 100 countries.

At ITEXPO, Alan Percy, senior director of marketing at AudioCodes, will be hosting two sessions: “Microsoft Lync: Why You Need to Develop a Migration Strategy Now” and “SBCs – A Must for Your Enterprise IP Network.”

Webrtcworld caught up with Percy as he prepared for the show, and picked his brain for insights into how changing technology is impacting his company and its future plans:

TMC: The emergence of WebRTC has generated a host of new communications vendors looking to change the communications world. How will these new providers impact the communications market?

Alan Percy: We see strong interest in WebRTC and believe it will change communications – especially customer service communications, allowing you to not only talk to an agent, but see them and see instructional content. While this is possible today, the lack of standardization makes multimedia communications difficult as users may not have the proper client software installed. In a few years, everyone with a Web browser will have WebRTC capabilities – even on mobile devices.

TMC: How will the growing movement toward software impact traditional hardware vendors?

AP: With the growing capability of COTS (commercial off the shelf) servers, we’ve seen an opportunity to migrate some of our pure-IP network functions to software-only products. Case in point is our new Mediant Session Border Controller software product. It’s a great fit for both enterprises and mid-size service providers to host applications in the cloud or data center, providing security and interoperability without dedicated hardware. Software-only SBCs are well-suited for situations where there is a limited need for transcoding, call progress detection or no need for a mix of gateway/SBC functions.

TMC:  How have you used video in your business communications?  What do you think is the potential for video as a mainstream business technology?

AP: Video does have the potential to change the way we collaborate with each other; however, there are challenges that lie ahead that are not technical and more difficult to resolve – our vanity. We at AudioCodes have had desktop video conferencing abilities for well over two years and it just hasn’t become a regular, everyday tool. Maybe it’s my messy office, maybe my co-worker’s hair isn’t right, but while the technology is there, the will to use it isn’t … Yet. Maybe some of the “Generation C” (C is for Connected) youth will use it more often, but in our case, it’s just not there yet.

TMC: Should we be concerned that government entities, like the NSA, may be monitoring our communications?  What impact will recent information surrounding the PRISM program have on technology vendors?

AP: Are we aware of the implications? Yes. Are we worried? No. Frankly, it is very easy to have a fully encrypted conversation with someone (if you feel compelled to do so). Between electronic means like Skype, and good old-fashioned face-to-face meetings, there are plenty of ways to have a private conversation.

TMC: Does your business have a defined social marketing strategy?  If so, can you define its impact on your business?

AP: We do have a social marketing strategy and a key element of it is our LyncMigration.com site where our partners and other advocates post content, blogs and related materials. We use Facebook and Twitter to share little bits of news and stay connected with our customers – always keeping an open channel of communications available.

TMC: How has social media changed your approach to customer service?

AP: After attending some valuable seminars on the topic of social media and customer service, we’ve learned where the balance point is between being responsive, while not opening Pandora’s Box with letting everyone pepper our support staff.

TMC: To what degree has cloud computing influenced your business model?

AP: We’ve seen a strong push by businesses to move to cloud-based communications, moving the application to shared data centers. This has created some new opportunities for survivability appliances and networking equipment – facilitating cloud, but keeping the resilience needed in cases where network outages would otherwise be very disruptive.

TMC: What recent tech innovation do you think will have the greatest impact on our lives?

AP: I’m still astounded by how mobile devices have changed the way and location of work. I suspect that 4G and ubiquitous Internet access is going to make a huge change in the “where” of work. It’s already clear that the Generation C (connected) kids in college now are going to be more mobile and less tied to a “where” of work than a “what.”

TMC: What are you looking forward to accomplishing at ITEXPO Las Vegas?  What topics are you most looking forward to discussing or hearing about?

AP: I’m looking forward most to hearing from “Woz” [Keynote speaker Steve Wozniak] and (hopefully) getting a chance to meet him. Being a computer whiz myself in the mid-1970’s meant that he and I shared a lot of experiences of home-made computers with solder-together circuit boards, machine language and paper tape.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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