Learn how to improve your company’s VoIP call quality by adding SD-WAN to your Hosted VoIP service. Listen to Vonage Business‘ Sales Engineer, Jake Fry, explain how SD-WAN performs voice improving tasks like Forward Error Correction, Deep Packet Inspection and Multi-Path Selection.
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Mike: Cloud Therapy Episode 24. Hey, IT Nation, welcome to Cloud Therapy with Aerocominc.com where you learn about the latest cloud and telecom technology that is gonna take your career to the next level. I’m your host, Mike Smith. Let’s do it.
Hey, welcome to the jungle, Cloud Therapy listeners. That is a little tribute to Guns N’ Roses because I’m still excited about the concert that I went to down in Qualcomm Stadium a few weeks ago for Guns N’ Roses. My wife and I went. It was absolutely awesome. They played for three hours. It was incredible. And the crazy thing, I actually ended up sitting right next to Rick Mirer, the old quarterback for Notre Dame. And he and I had a lot of good talks. We have a lot of friends in common through football so just if anybody is a Notre Dame follower that was just kind of a weird thing. Nobody else recognized him there except for me but I digress, still excited about that concert. It’s amazing. They played for three hours and like I said I’m still excited about it.
So to the show at hand, we have an amazing guest for you today. His name is Jake Fry. He is a sales engineer for Vonage Business. And if any of you IT professionals are looking into hosted VoIP and you’re a little bit leery about the voice quality aspect of it, this is a fantastic episode for you because Vonage Business just came out with an SD-WAN product that they can deploy with their hosted VoIP over a public internet connection which increases your voice quality with hosted VoIP over the public internet. And even cooler, they can do it over a single location. You don’t have to have multiple locations to get this SD-WAN service which is kind of weird because it’s called a WAN service but nonetheless as you’re hearing this episode, I learned that about their products. So Jake is going to tell you all about that product that they have, how it works, how it helps your voice quality improve a little bit. So definitely listen for that.
Funny story about Jake. Jake’s been with Vonage Business a while and before Vonage Business, he was with the company called SimpleSignal that ended up getting bought by Vonage Business and Jake was actually the technician that helped me install hosted VoIP into our office in Newport Beach when we first installed it there. And so I’ve known Jake for a long time. He is actually a technician and he really helped me out. We had some glitches when we’re installing it and he walked me through. He was an awesome guy at the time and now he’s a sales engineer. So now we work with him a lot more often than when he was a technician. So a fantastic guy as you’ll hear on the phone. Big Broncos fan and at the time we did this interview, the Broncos were playing, were kicking off the NFL season that night and playing. So actually on video when we first started the interview, I could see him on video and he was wearing a big Broncos jersey so it’s pretty funny there. But nonetheless, it’s an awesome show, definitely listen to this.
And just a reminder, as Jake is talking, don’t freak out that you have to take all these notes or anything. Don’t worry, we have transcripts of the episode on our website. So all you have to do is go to Aerocominc.com, that’s A-E-R-O-C-O-M-I-N-C.com — Aerocominc.com, go to the blogs section, and then search within the blog section for this episode and you’ll find it and it’ll have the entire transcripts so you don’t have to take notes. You can also re-listen to the same episode right there so it’s good little resource that we go out of our way to do for you so that you can relax and listen to this in peace and not be scrambling trying to write as you’re driving and all that good stuff. And sometimes so we get pretty technical here. So why did I mention that?
Also, we have a fantastic giveaway, as usual. This time it’s a little bit different than we normally do. This is actually a webinar that I’m gonna do personally. It’s free to our listeners. It’s a webinar on how to purchase business VoIP for your company. So during this webinar, I’m gonna go through and tell you all the secrets that you need to know to do a fantastic job purchasing hosted VoIP for your company. And how do I know those secrets? Well, because our company shops at VoIP providers for businesses every single day and so for a living, we sort through all the mess of VoIP providers and find the best ones for different companies. So we share or I share with you all my secrets in how we do that, how do we go from hundreds of VoIP providers and narrow it down to one and do a really thorough job. There’s little tricks that we do. And I’ll walk you through all these things on this webinar, all the things that you need to know in order to do a great job purchasing hosted VoIP for your company, that’s what
I talk about. So all you have to do to find out how to register for the webinar is text the word VoIPWebinar to the number 44222 and we will send you all the information to sign up for the webinar. Again, text the word VoIPWebinar to the number 44-222 and we will send you all the information you need to get you signed up.
All right. Well, let’s move on to Jake and start the learning process so you guys can get a little bit better today. Here’s Jake.
Hey, Jake, welcome to the program.
Jake: Hey, thanks, Mike for having me.
Mike: No problem. So tell us a little bit about yourself personally and professionally.
Jake: Well, professionally, I started my career as a tech engineer for a company called SimpleSignal. We were acquired by Vonage back in 2015 where I moved in to a training role and most recently sales engineer has been my title for about six months now.
Jake: So that’s professionally. I guess in the personal life, I’m a husband and a father first and foremost. So spending time with my family is, you know, what I love to do most. Big sports fan, love the Broncos. Broncos are playing tonight. Gonna a do what we did to Carolina. I’m also a writer. I enjoyed, you know, writing and working on a novel right now. That’s kind of my creative release, I guess.
Mike: Oh, that’s awesome. So what kind of, I guess, genre? Is that the correct term like what…
Jake: Well, yeah, yeah. Well, I am a nerd through and through so it’s a fantasy novel. It’s in a fictional fantasy universe.
Mike: That’s cool. That’s awesome. So is that something that you’ve always done or is that something that you just picked up recently? I mean, I’m a husband and a father too and I know sometimes that kind of brings out those moments of clarity of like, what am I gonna do with them? Like what are my talents like is this just it? My working and taking care of kids or what’s my, you know, what do I enjoy doing? Did that bring it out or is it something you’ve always done?
Jake: I mean, it definitely strengthened it, for sure. You know, I’ve, you know, written mostly poetry, you know, throughout, you know, high school and it really–it was pretty dramatic though after having a kid just how much your perspective changes on everything.
The first half of the novel that I’m working on right now reads completely different than the second half and you can really see, you know, that changing point in my life which is pretty interesting.
Mike: That’s cool. That’s really neat. Yeah, it’s like a, you know, I think for me it’s been that way too, you know, as soon as, you know, we’ve got four kids so…
Jake: Oh, man.
Mike: It’s like we, you know, it’s like definitely brings out those moments of gosh, like, what am I good at? And other than taking care of kids and going to work and trying to make money like is there anything that like I enjoy doing that doesn’t require me to leave the house like for long periods of time?
Jake: Oh, absolutely.
Mike: That, you know, like oh, yeah, well, I like to golf. Or, you know like oh, yeah, well, I’m gone for six hours on the week and that really doesn’t bode well for the family life, you know, but like, yeah, like little stuff right there. Oh, what can I do that is just kinda my little hidden talent that I like to express. That’s cool. That’s really neat. Like do you have like times of the day where, you know, like every day or every week, do you have like scheduled times to write or you just do it like when you’re inspired?
Jake: Well, I did but that kinda gets thrown off when you have a newborn at home. You know, typically, you know, I would like to write, you know, first thing in the morning your brain is kinda working in this, you know, dream state and, you know, it doesn’t sound very fluid but I tend of I guess the best ideas then and then edit, you know, later on in the day when you’re a little bit more lucid is kinda what I found to be best. But now it’s just kind of, you know, sticking it in the gaps between, you know, dirty diapers and bottles kind of wherever I can.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of–myself and a lot of listeners can probably relate to you on that one. It’s a–yeah, that’s tough, you know, especially those first year or two like man, that’s a lot of heavy lifting and lot of labor involved there. And then I think slowly I’m in the stage where my oldest is 12 and then my youngest is five. So it’s kinda like we’re like for the first time going, “Wow, we don’t have any strollers?” Like everybody is eating normal food. This is crazy. We’re kind of in this little sweet spot right now. My oldest, you know, daughter is just kind of like almost a teenager but not really so she, you know, she’s still got that innocence. I’m just like kind of, you know, just a little bit naïve and so it’s great. It’s like but yeah, it’s like my wife and I have the hardest time with that diaper phase and the baby phase like we just we love our kids but that was just so much work.
Jake: Oh, for sure. You know, it’s amazing how somebody who, you know, doesn’t really move and really doesn’t do anything affects your life so much, right? You’re doing laundry, you’re doing this, you’re doing that just for them to kinda just hanging out and sitting there, it’s pretty remarkable.
Mike: Yeah, totally. So today, Jake is gonna talk to us about SD-WAN and I know that, you know, SD-WAN, if you don’t know what that is that’s a pretty hot topic in our industry right now. It’s a newer technology that’s really taking a foothold and a lot of providers are talking about, a lot of providers are starting to offer it. I know some of you super IT people out there are probably are saying SD-WAN is not new. It’s been around a long time and yeah, I know that, you know, technically but in terms of our industry, it’s definitely all of a sudden taking off and providers are offering a lot more than they were a little bit ago. So it’s a hot topic and Jake is gonna talk to us about SD-WAN as it relates to VoIP. So SD-WAN is a big topic, right? But in terms of VoIP, what SD-WAN can do for you I think it’s an interesting thing to talk about and Jake definitely knows a lot about VoIP in, you know, from his career. So with that, Jake, I’ll kinda turn it over to you and let you run with it from there and as long as you don’t mind if you I chime in once in a while with a question.
Jake: No, you–no, not at all. I think you tell it up, you know, fairly well. You know, SD-WAN being out there in the market place for some time but it’s kinda now just being pushed out to the masses. So what I’d like to start off by talking about is one of my favorite parts of SD-WAN, and that’s something called forward error correction. Really, really–as we all know voice over IP is only as good as the internet that I’m putting it over, right? I could have the most rock solid LAN in the world, right? And that voice leaves squeaky clean on my edge device but then it’s handled by the ISP, right? What happens when that ISP, you know, starts to have some jitter, some packet lost.
Particularly in areas where you might only, you know, be able to get a mediocre DSL connection, right? Regional offices that are all solid get some good fiber then you have some remote offices that are, you know, again, that’s the only thing that’s available. So what forward error correction does–well, I’ll explain it. So, basically an SD-WAN device is a, you know, appliance that’s on-site for a customer and it communicates with a gateway that sits Rated R Core, right? Now, when a phone call is live, the SD-WAN devices constantly monitoring the health of that connection that it’s going over. And I should point out that it doesn’t have to be, you know, a service provider’s internet connection that they’re reselling like an MPLS solution, it doesn’t need that. It’s really cool to work over the top of any connection.
At any rate, these devices constantly communicating with the gateway that’s at our core. Now, let’s say there again starts to be some packet lost and jitter. Well, this forward error correction is gonna kick in. And what it does is it literally is gonna clone that RTP stream so now I had two times ten packets and it’s literally doing this thousands of times a second, right? So it’s cloning each packet and it’s sending them both down to the gateway at our core. You’re in effect doubling your chances of that packet reaching us, you know, on touch and then the gateway strips off the band packet and passes off the good packet to the terminating–and again, you’re doubling your chances of bad audio sounding great which is really, really cool.
The second piece that is opened up with this is so we all use our own devices, right? Every provider out there has the, you know, you have a sat phone that you can install on your PC, your Mac, maybe you’re running, you know, your smart phone over wifi, right? Well, that’s great but it’s really hard for most edge devices to pick up on that traffic and prioritize it. It just looks like, you know, any traffic that’s normally leaving your PC. What SD-WAN–some SD-WAN devices have is they have deep packet inspection. Yeah. So what it does is it actually–because it’s doing this deep packet inspection, it can strip off the RTP, the actual audio phone call and it can prioritize it and traffic shape appropriately, right? So with this edge device any, you know, HTTP traffic that you’re trying to push out or, you know, whatever, you still want your voice to be prioritized over that and with this deep packet inspection, you know, it allows for that. So you probably have to be a super nerd to fully, you know, understand why that’s so cool but it’s really neat. Suffice it is to say that it’s just going to–again, if you wanna use sat phones, you want that type of environment, SD-WAN can accommodate for that. Now, the favorite thing, my absolute favorite thing about SD-WAN is what’s called dynamic multipath selection.
So we talked about, you know, smart WAN, you know, being able to detect, you know, internet connectivity issues and then do that forward error correction to kind of mitigate that, right? But what we didn’t talk about is when you introduce two internet connections to this SD box. And what that is gonna do is literally real-time as a phone call is live, it’s going to send the voice down the best looking circuit or internet connection. So I might be sending you down this, you know, cable connection because it’s really high speed but then it has some issues so I’m sending you down a backup T1 because it’s super stable. But it can do this, you know, 50 times, you know, the different, choosing a different path during a phone call. So might be going down this one and then that–it detects some issues there so it sends it down the other one. Really, really neat. It really improves the sound of a phone call, you know, as supposed to just having one internet connection.
Now the next piece…
Mike: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Jake: Go ahead, Mike. Sorry.
Mike: No, I was just gonna say, “That’s awesome.”
Jake: Oh, yeah, super, super cool. Now what’s extraordinary about that is it can also provide sub-second failover. So we have the customer of ours that is a suicide hotline, right? So obviously, we’re very cautious about moving to a system that is reliance on Voice over IP because, you know, they have people calling themselves at 2:00 AM, you know, potentially going to harm themselves, right? So every phone call is mission critical.
What SD-WAN was proposed to them and they loved it because let’s say I have this great fiber connection but somebody comes in and they cut that fiber while I’m on the phone call. Well, an SD-WAN product can recognize that literally not even drop the phone call and send traffic down the other connection. So literally you’re on the phone talking over, you know, a stable connection. All of a sudden that connection goes down, I don’t even lose the phone call, it’s just routed right over the other connection. Now when the fiber is back online, it can continue to send, you know, traffic down either connection but it opens up a lot of really, really cool things like that.
Mike: That’s really cool. So with SD-WAN, can you–yeah, I’m just thinking for a customer with a single site because it’s a WAN product, could you get it just for a single site?
Jake: You absolutely can. So that, you know, there are advantages, you know, with going with multiple, you know, we can fully mesh, you know, the different edge devices, you know, control [inaudible] 00:17:38 and all that but, you know, we have tens, hundreds of customers that, you know, I’m just at, you know, a doctor’s office with a single site and one internet connection and, you know, I see the value in, you know, in improving my phone call, you know, again because, you know, if I’m talking to a patient or something like that, really it benefits anybody that once their voice to sound better than what’s out there today.
Mike: That’s cool. So like cost wise, I mean, is it something that, you know, you don’t have to give me exact cost–
Mike: But I’m just thinking, “Okay. So if I’m a single site and I have hosted VoIP, is this something if I wanted to add SD-WAN to it, like is it gonna cost me a lot of like $100 a month or is it $50 a month or is it $500 a month type of thing?”
Jake: Well, I would say this. So it’s very inexpensive for what you’re getting. So, you know, you’re obviously in the business so if you were to sell let’s say a 30 Meg MPLS connection for VoIP to a customer, you’re talking you know, what? 6, 7, 800 bucks, right?
Jake: Super, super expensive. Out of the rack rate on an SD-WAN for us, for up to 300 concurrent call paths so imagine that, right? An office where you have 300 active phone calls, you’re talking less than a hundred dollars a month.
Mike: Oh, wow. Do you guys price it out like per concurrent call path or is it for the bandwidth do you price it on?
Jake: Yeah. So it’s actually the bandwidth. This is a good question. So we have six tiers. So we have a 30 Meg, 50, and 100, and then a 200, 400 Gig. And so basically you just pick your price tier and really what it comes down to is, you know, do we want to traffic ship all of your traffic or just your voice, right? Do you have other high priority traffic, you know, that you wanna push out and you want RSD, you know, services to kinda assist with that. Well then you might wanna carve out more bandwidth and run that through us.
For the most part though honestly, people just see huge value in the voice and so that lowest tier that we have that’s up to, you know, 300 concurrent call paths which is that lowest tier, you know, that again is less than a hundred bucks and, you know, you get all the benefits that we’ve talked about today.
Mike: That’s cool. So then, yeah, even if you don’t have–so if you don’t have a secondary internet connection, you’re at least taking advantage of those first two points you talked about, right? Like the forward error correction and the deep packet inspection.
Jake: You got it.
Mike: Got it. And then I mean, I think anyone these days, any business out there needs to have a backup internet connection. If you have an office and you have people working in there you guys are just using way too much over the internet to not have a backup.
You know, in these days and times that’s just crazy sauce. So, you know, like it’s people will say like, “Oh, it’s too expensive.” It’s not. And when you can think about it in terms of and I’ve said it before in this podcast, when you think in terms of payroll cost, how much were you paying just to have butts and seats that are working? And if the internet goes down, those people cannot work. There’s just way too much everyone is doing over the internet. I mean most of the time there’s a couple rare exceptions to that but, you know, so I think for the most part, people should have a backup internet connection and this is a great way to actually, you know, utilize it and get used out of it all the times as opposed to just having it sit there idle.
Jake: Absolutely. I mean, to be able to such a commodity nowadays. I mean, they were in 2016 and it’s really not cost-prohibitive anymore. And oftentimes, you know, when we’re in that conversation it’s can you afford not to have backup, right?
Mike: Right, right. And so for you guys, you know, for Vonage, are you selling this as, you know, somebody has to have hosted VoIP with you already in order to get this service or is this something you guys can sell as just a one off just SD-WAN by itself to somebody who already has hosted VoIP with someone else or SIP or something like that?
Jake: Well, right now since we’ve deployed it a little bit differently, you know, since those gateways sit at our core, we do, you know, require that, you know, you have our hosted phone service as well. You know, and connectivity with the provider that we use has been a discussion, right? So if we wanna leverage there, the data centers that they’re within and in control of that traffic, it’s certainly something that has been, you know, flirted with. We’re just not there yet. As of today, it’s, you know, hosted voice and SD-WAN goes on top of that.
Mike: That makes sense. I mean, just from a business standpoint, it’d be pretty hard for you guys all of a sudden be signing up a ton of people for a hundred dollars a month and then, you know, just spending a lot of, you know, people hours out there, you know, making those sales and creating those sales and it’s not much revenue for you guys totally, you know, less than hundred dollars a month signing up people here and there and that’s just not really a lucrative proposition probably for you guys.
Jake: Yeah, yup.
Mike: Yeah, that makes sense. And then as far as like once say somebody does have hosted VoIP with you and they get the SD-WAN service, is it also applying to their other internet traffic or their other LAN traffic? So, you know, you mentioned that the internet connection obviously is being or the backup internet connection is being used for voice, at the same time does that also apply to all the rest of their like typical internet traffic? Are you guys incorporating all of that in there as well?
Jake: Yeah, well it can. So it’s really up to the customer on whatever, however they wanna set it up, you know, I would say the most common deployment is when we’re running RSD device in parallel with their, you know, ASA, you know, whatever firewall they, you know, is there a normal edge device today. And then we just, you know, enable to rate their limitation on their edge device to carve out the appropriate amount of bandwidth so that’s smart WAN, you know, RSD products can have, you know, a set amount of bandwidth all the time, right? So we just observe that. That’s very common and then just running voice through that.
Now then, you know, for some folks, you know, their web traffic or VDI traffic, they wanna prioritize that and they don’t have a way to do that today and if that’s the case we can make, you know, an SD device responsible for shaping that traffic and running that traffic through and prioritizing that over, you know, [inaudible] 0:24:00 that we want to limit. So we kinda support both models. It’s just kind of a conversation that we get into with the customer on, you know, what exactly it looks like but I would say the former is much more common than the latter.
Mike: Very cool. Yeah, that’s great. I think that, you know, put some perspective on it a little bit. Now when you guys sell this, is it, you know, is it something that you–if you guys been selling this for a while, is it something that you guys have just rolled it out and is it, you know, is it pretty popular or what–are there any type of businesses that are really taking advantage of it like more than others?
Jake: You know, it’s actually been quite surprising, you know, when, you know, just the nerd in me when we’re starting to launch this thing about a year ago, you know, I was like, “Oh my gosh, everybody is gonna, you know, love this and jump right on it.” And, you know, oftentimes, you know, it can be difficult to present the value to a customer. Not the case here at all, you know, pretty much every time, you know, it comes up in conversation. Just because it’s something new, it’s exciting, it’s things that a lot of customers just haven’t run into and they immediately see the value in it, right? The sub-second failover. I literally don’t even lose my phone call. So, yeah, it’s been wildly popular and we’ve seen all ranges of customers. Literally, you know, two and three person shops where they’re just so concerned with voice quality that they decided to implement it up to our two largest enterprise customers that we have at Vonage. They have it deployed as well. We’re talking, you know, hundreds and hundreds of sites all with this SD product. So it really can hits the gamete of customer, you know, range and scope.
Mike: That’s cool. And is it something that you guys–do you do a truck role to install the device or do you ship it to them and it’s just kinda plug and play?
Jake: Absolutely. So I mean it is plug and play. That being said, you know, we’re set on the model of, you know, we’re selling it to you, we’re rolling the truck, we’re gonna be there to install it no matter what. So pretty easy install, you know, were very flexible on, you know, when the customer wants to do that overnight, you know, lunch time, you know, really whenever they want to. We have a tech there that’s physically going to, you know, making aware of the, you know, the gateway that it’s connected to on the customer site activated up, make sure that it’s communicating with the gateway at our core and then running test calls through it. So that’s just kind of our normal process. There’s no, you know, hidden fees or anything like that. That’s just how we roll out.
Mike: I think that’s a smart way to do it. That way you guys can ensure that it’s installed properly and that just simple mistakes aren’t made and that way, you know, I think you guys avoid a lot of customer service issues, you know, in our technical glitches resulting from kind of like shipping them off all the time.
Jake: Yup, absolutely. Uh-hmm.
Mike: Yeah, that’s great. Okay, cool. I think those are some really good points and some really good information for everybody listening. I think that SD-WAN has, you know, all the buzz out there but I think that all of us can benefit from, you know, learning a little bit everyday about this technology and especially when it relates to voice because everybody is on the phone, you know, everybody’s companies on the phone all the time and VoIP is obviously another technology that’s taken off like a rocket in the last few years so that’s really cool. Thanks for sharing all that.
Jake: Yeah, no problem, Mike. No problem.
Mike: All right. Well, let’s get into our fun question. Tell us about the–tell us about one of the most interesting or fun things that you’ve ever witnessed in the workplace?
Jake: So hands down, it is when I was working in support and actually I think it was–I think it was your customer, Mike, honestly, I think I remember that.
Jake: And their phones, all the phones were down, right? So they’re calling in, you know, they’re heated. The phones are, you know, completely down and I’m doing everything I can to get these phones back online and they’re just not even getting IP addresses. I mean, we’re just talking totally down. And so we get to the point where, you know, I’m talking to the receptionist and like, “Hey, you know, do you know where your, you know, your telco closet is?” Do you know we have–because we have an edge device, you know, on-site. She said, “Oh, yeah, yeah. It’s over here. So, you know, she walks in, you know, doesn’t really say anything and, you know, is like, “Well, I don’t, you know, I don’t think this is gonna work.” I was like, “Okay, okay.” And she says, “Well, the ports on the back of my device, they’re broken.” I said, “Well, what do you mean they’re broken?” She’s like, “Well, the cord that”–you know, she’s talking about the Ethernet cord. She’s like, “It snapped off inside here.” I’m thinking, what? How in the world did this thing get snapped off? She’s like, “Well, you know, I don’t know but it’s a, you know, it was taped to the ceiling and it’s on the floor now.” And I just paused, it was taped to the ceiling. So apparently, they’ve taken the router and the cable wasn’t long enough to run it to the cube that they had upstairs. So somebody had the bright idea to duct tape the router to the ceiling, the duct tape had, you know, fell loose or whatever and fell to the floor, you know, completely destroying the router physically and obviously, you know, taken all their phones down. So I mean, probably we send them a new router we gotten in place and everybody was happy but I thought that was pretty interesting. I’ve never had a router physically break for a customer before.
Mike: Especially–so I think they’re calling you like wanting to know why they’re down.
Jake: Right. Because you taped it to the ceiling, you sillies. Crazy.
Mike: Yeah. You know, like I just–I can’t–I don’t know why our service is not working. I mean, it just like everything snapped off from the back and it was taped and now it’s fallen. That happen but other than that everything has been fine. I don’t know why it’s not working. Yeah, that is–that’s a–you know, I don’t know. Sometimes, you know, sometimes you think people have a decent grasp of technology. I mean, all of us obviously aren’t super tech, you know, I’m definitely not one of those but you think some, you know, you just kind of assume everybody has got a little bit of, you know, technology background there to kind of know that it’s just go and say, “Hey, this happened. I’m sorry. Can you ship us a new router?” Or something like, you know, it’s they’re going, you know, like let’s troubleshoot this for a while. That’s crazy. That’s cool. Thanks for sharing it.
So all right. Well, tell us a little bit about Vonage. I think that Vonage is a name that all of us have heard of but, you know, being on the inside and working as a sales engineer for Vonage business. Tell us a little bit about what you guys are doing exciting and what you do really well. I know Vonage has acquired a couple companies and, you know, obviously gone through a lot of cool changes in the last couple years. So I think a lot of people don’t really know what Vonage is up to these days when it comes to business. So tell us what you guys are up to, what you doing really well and what you’re excited about?
Jake: Sure. Well, you know, I mean, everybody is, you know, heard the name like you said and successful voice over residential standpoint. So they’ve, you know, who hasn’t seen the commercials and all of that. And it’s, you know, the problem with that, what Vonage saw in 2013 when they made their first acquisition is that, you know, they had nowhere to go with the home phone. You know, home phone is kind of a dying business, right? So they decided to acquire a company called Vocalocity, and so that was kind of their first step into the business world. There was really, you know, small to medium business and is now what we call our Essentials platform. Long story short, you know, with the Vonage branding behind it, they grew that business by a couple of hundred percent year over year each year that they had it. So they found this, you know, this little niche into this business world. What they wanted to do is they wanted to take that into the, you know, SMB and enterprise space so they purchased a number of companies. So first it was Telcare, then it was the company that I came from which was SimpleSignal. So they acquired Simple Signal then it was gUnify, and then it was iCore and most recently Nexmo. So each one of these company kind of has their, you know, kinda key point in the space where, you know, they had every company has their what they’re really good at, right? Their special sauce.
So now we have five or six special sauces that are kind of blended together to create, you know, hopefully what we think is the kind of the best of breed for what we’re trying to go after. The biggest points I would say are the SD-WAN. That’s, you know, we are one of the first in the space to have that. We’re really excited about that in the success we’ve had. But the second one is our CRM integration with gUnify. I think one of the best, you know, acquisitions so far by Vonage. And what that is, is basically betie the phone system together with the CRM that you have in place today. And we have a number of them. We do, you know, SalesForce and NetSuite and, you know, Zendesk and Cleo and Oracle and Bullhorn and a tone of these, you know, specialized CRMs and the way we look at it is not, you know, a lot of them have that, right? You look at all our competitors out there and everybody has CRM integration and it’s mostly just like a screen pot, right? I have a, you know, a phone call comes in, it recognizes, you know, the contact and I can click a button and it jumps me to their CRM page, right? Pretty neat. But what we’ve tried to do is look at it from a workflow perspective. So when we had our first customer come to us, they want to develop Bullhorn. Bullhorn is a CRM used for employee–gosh, I’m missing my train of thought here. It’s the like employee recruitment. It’s a recruiting CRM. So we looked at their workflow and we took as much as the Bullhorn, you know, when I call somebody and I set up a next appointment and I get the resume and, you know, I have all these steps that I follow and set my CRM, but it’s all over the place inside the CRM.
So what we did is we follow their workflow. We condensed that into our application and then married it with their phone system, saving them, you know, X amount of time per each phone call and just really simplifying that for them. So that’s kind of the cool thing is, you know, what the customers wish list is for a CRM when we’re implementing a new one. We build exactly that. So it’s very catered to that business. And so we’re kind of proud of that.
And then the final thing and I’ll show that about Vonage but the final thing is the Nexmo acquisition. So for those of you that don’t know, Nexmo is the second largest CPaaS, right. Everybody needs more aaS in their life, right? So CPaaS is communication platforms as a service. What it does is it takes disparate communications platforms whether it’s your text or phone call or whatever and it merges them together. So the used case I use is Uber is our customer. So whenever you order up on Uber, right? You know, if you’re in a foreign, you know, you’re in a different city, right? You call them up and you’re like, “Hey, you know, I’m out front. I’m the guy in a blue shirt and a bag, right?” I always thought you were calling the Uber driver, right? And it was just kinda sketchy you’re calling this, you know, Uber driver and they call you back, they have your number and that’s not the case at all. Actually, Nexmo is now Vonage is in the middle of that. So you call a phone number and it switches so you’re agnostic to the Uber driver’s number and the same thing when they call or text you back, it just switches and then you see, you know, their number. That way, you’re protected from each other. So it’s things like that that basically make normally, you know, disparate platforms now unified and seamless. That’s what Nexmo is all about. And some exciting things, you know, I’m sure a lot of you IT guys, you know, the wheels are turning on the different doors that that opens up for customers out there.
Mike: That’s really cool. So like, so, just that example you use. So when I get that call from Uber when I request an Uber and the Uber driver calls me for whatever reason, that caller ID that I see is not their actual personal cell phone. It’s like it’s basically an auto-generated caller ID from like Nexmo.
Jake: Right. So you thought the same thing. Yeah, it’s from Nexmo and it is not their number at all. It is a database so it calls back in via their app and it switches the caller ID and then that’s what’s, you know, facing to you. And that relationship, you know, expires after, you know, 30 minutes, you know, after the ride is over whatever. So that guide communication, you know, is now blocked and you’re protected from them and they’re protected from you so it’s pretty cool.
Mike: Yeah, that is cool. I didn’t even know that. That’s a–I’m sure Vonage has some rabbits in their hat as far as like other things are gonna be able to do with that, right?
Jake: Yeah. I mean, that’s kind of the idea. It is, you know, Vonage has made it clear with, you know, all these different acquisitions. It’s so much fun to see all the exciting stuff that’s coming out. But really I think what the goal is, is to be able to, you know, go to a customer, you know, that is, you know, having troubles with their workflows. You know, we all use all these different applications, you know, whether it’s, you know, email, chat, phone, new video, and it’s all so compartmentalized and that there’s no, you know, real fluidity between them. So I think the ultimate vision with that is to really blend this all together into a seamless experience so that I can communicate with you how I want to and we don’t–I like to think of it as this, you know, eventually it’s gonna get to the point where I wanna talk to Mike Smith and I don’t wanna care that I have to, you know, connect to Skype because I know that Mike prefers Skype so that’s how I can talk to them, right? I wanna push the button on whatever app I want and that’s gonna reach Mike on whatever app he wants and we don’t have to worry about, you know, connecting that way and really just kind of blending those together so that it’s seamless communication kind of like it should be. I mean, technology is supposed to be easy and I think this CPaaS is a great way to again just bridge those gaps.
Mike: Yeah, that’s really cool. Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing all that. I think that’s–it’s like I definitely learned some things about Vonage that I didn’t know and hey, I’m in the industry so I know that the listeners definitely learned some things too so that’s cool. I think that especially using the success Vonage had, you know, in the early days with the residential site gave them a nice, you know, power play when it came to, you know, acquiring this different business VoIP companies and putting something pretty cool together. That’s awesome.
Mike: Great. Well, cool. Thanks for joining us today, Jake. It’s been fun and I think it’s been really informative for everybody listening and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and hang out especially on game day.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely. Mike, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
Mike: No problem. Go Broncos!
Jake: Go Broncos!
Mike: All right. Have a good one. And that’s a wrap IT Nation. I hope everyone got a lot from that interview with Jake. I know I did. I did not know that you could do SD-WAN over a hosted VoIP provider with a single location, that is fantastic and I think that will help the many, many companies improve their voice quality with hosted VoIP over the public internet. So good stuff there.
One more quick reminder about the transcripts of this episode. Go to our site Aerocominc.com, go to the Blog section, search for this episode and you will find those transcripts of everything we did in full on our site.
Also quick reminder, if you want to sign up for the free webinar I’m doing on how to purchase hosted VoIP for your company that will teach you how to do an excellent job purchasing hosted VoIP for your company. All you have to do is text the word VoIPWebinar to the number 44-222 and we will send you all the information you need to sign up.
All right. Well, have a fantastic day everybody out there in IT Nation. I hope you have a wonderful week and I will talk to you next week.
IT Nation, thank you for joining us on Cloud Therapy with Aerocominc.com. Visit us at Aerocominc.com that’s A-E-R-O-C-O-M-I-N-C.com and head on over to the blog section for notes on everything we talked about today as well as our blogs, provide a reviews and of course, the best quotes for any technology.