Names matter when you’re building a business. You need your name to be memorable, understandable to everyone, and also to reflect exactly what your company stands for.
11 years ago, when we launched our first company, we succeeded in all of the above. We created a wholesale business to help carriers enter the emerging market for enterprise voice and text services.
Naturally, we called our company VOX Carrier. VOX is a lovely short word that means “Voice” in Latin. Easy to read and say. And carrier? Well, it was perfect for a company targeting MNOs’ voice & SMS carrier services.
Three years later, in 2014, we spotted another big opportunity. It become obvious to us that there was rising demand from MNOs for technical solutions such as:
As the saying goes, this was where “the puck was heading“, so we decided to skate towards it. We gathered all these activities together under a new company – VOX Technologies.
It was a successful move. Over the past 10 years, the two companies successfully deployed 400+ Partners and Customers, five data centres, three R&D centres and helped over 3 billion people communicate safely.
But in business, things never stay the same. The voice and messaging industry evolved. First, carriers changed their thinking. They became more open to the idea of outsourcing and partnerships. Second, new players came into the space. Mobile ceased to be the preserve of MNOs, as various OTTs chipped away at their markets.
We changed too. We started to function as a one-stop-shop – a partner that could deliver a range of wholesale and technological solutions in the area of A2P voice and messaging monetization.
We looked at the activities of VOX Carrier and VOX Technologies and thought: why separate them?
So we made a decision. We would merge the two brands into a single structure.
It’s more than just a name change, of course. It’s a big deal for us. The new structure better reflects our goal to provide MNOs, CSPs and enterprises with the simple solutions they need to accelerate their voice and messaging businesses through innovative technologies, platforms and processes.
To understand how we got to this position, let’s go back and dive deeper into the market changes that have prompted it.
Back in 2011, I’d just sold a business that started out specialising in white label calling cards, but which ended up supporting a range of products for MVNOs. That experience gave me an insight into the big changes hitting the telco space in the 2010s.
Later, as described, we created VOX Technologies to meet the demand for related tech products and services. This side of the business snowballed in the 2010s, and we added many dynamic new products to it. Perhaps the most impactful of all is the one we are focused on right now: flash calling.
I’ve written about this a lot. But for the uninitiated, here’s a quick re-cap.
A flash call offers a compelling alternative to SMS-based two-factor authentication. It works as follows: a customer receives a call to his or her mobile and the incoming number contains the one-time code. This is critical. It means there is no need for the customer to read and manually enter the digits. This reduces friction.
Also, voice calling is truly universal. No SMS, internet or smartphone is needed. It’s secure, since there is no visible message for any fraudster to intercept. Finally, it’s much cheaper than A2P SMS.
They’re worried it could cannibalise their SMS authentication revenues. They want to block it. But how can they know which calls are flash calls?
Other carriers are a little more forward-looking. They’re thinking – rightly, I believe – that the universality/security of flash could make telco-based authentication a far bigger market than it is now. Maybe it can extend mobile 2FA beyond the banks and the social media companies to a vast new audience of SMEs.
Well, here at VOX, we like to make things happen. We did some market forecasting with Juniper Research and concluded that flash calling volumes will grow 25x times over the next three years.
That was the spur for us to develop a platform to help carriers either identify and block flash calls, or productise and bill for them.
I’m convinced that our flash product will be key to our future growth, along with CPaaS, IoT and other innovative product sets. This is because they play to two significant attitudinal shifts I’ve witnessed from MNOs in the 11 years since VOX launched.
The first is that carriers just want monetisation. They are open to outsourcing and will entertain proposals from partners to take over a product/service (especially in international markets) as long as the revenues are guaranteed.
Second, the carriers are willing to do these monetisation deals with agile specialist companies. A decade ago, they only wanted to work with the giants: Nokia, Alcatel, Huawei etc. Today, they seem much more open to proposals from smaller firms – like VOX.
These are big changes. To summarise, I suppose you could say carriers simply want solutions.
My job is to make sure they choose VOX Solutions.
Written by Ehsan Ahmadi, CEO and Founder of Vox Solutions
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