In the coming months, cloud-based enhanced services like Google Voice are poised to fundamentally change the landscape of the communications industry. This presents both a threat and opportunity to traditional, mobile and fixed line carriers, faced with decisions about adjusting their strategies in this new environment.
BroadSoft sees several possibilities:
- Resale - The traditional service provider engages in a resell arrangement with Google for Google Voice.
- Replicate - The traditional service provider replicates the Google Voice functionality and delivers a comparable offer.
- Differentiate - The traditional service provider combines the concept of Google Voice with assets that are unique to them.
The last option is obviously the one we recommend…. because there is a clear path for providers to pursue. Here’s why: while Google Voice certainly has a number of things going for it – the Google brand and the free factor being the most compelling, as well as integration with Google apps --there are a number of ways in which it falls short.
The most obvious is the need for a new phone number—an obstacle for both businesses and consumers. Another hurdle for both groups is the clunky factor—created by the fact that most Google Voice activities (voice call and SMS) need to be initiated through the web portal. The solution also lacks several important business features such as auto attendant, attendant consoles and corporate directories.
When you put these factors together and then consider the existing strengths that providers bring to the table – the trust factor, a proven track record of reliable service, and a traditional customer support model – service providers are well positioned to use the buzz and demand that Google Voice is creating to their own advantage.
Google Voice is not a passing fad – it’s going to catapult the market into wanting and soon after, needing enhanced VoIP services delivered from the “Cloud”. But who better to deliver on this promise than the service providers who have been doing this in small pockets for a more than a decade?