UCToday’s Rob Scott, highlights his experience at the annual partner event for thevoicefactory last week. Our very own Guy Fardone took the stage to discuss the exciting opportunities available in the cloud today. The event was an excellent indicator of where the business is headed now that it has rebranded as Evolve IP.
thevoicefactory Rebrands to Evolve IP
thevoicefactory Partner Day roundup by Rob Scott from uctoday.com
Recently, last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual partner event for thevoicefactory, soon to be Evolve IP. Last year, the company announced that it was being acquired by Evolve IP, and this year, their partner event allowed me to learn where the business is headed with Evolve IP at the helm.
I caught up with Paul Harrison, the MD for the UK operations of thevoicefactory, and he kindly allowed me to join in the event, which was this year hosted at the incredible BAFTA venue. The BAFTA venue is one of the most impressive event spaces in London, located in the heart of Piccadilly. The impact of the venue was enough to show everyone attending this year’s partner event just how much quality they had to look forward to from TVF.
Introducing a New Era for thevoicefactory
The partner event was brimming with things to do and innovations to explore. The Expo room was packed full of solutions from a range of leading vendors, including Cisco, Poly, Mondago, Axixi, Yealink, Dubber, and a host of the company’s other UK partners. After a quick tour around the exhibitions, I was ready to take my seat for Paul’s initial introduction to the event, where he discussed the growth of thevoicefactory in recent years.
The business has been doing incredible things with their BroadSoft BroadWorks platform and multi-vendor approach to communication. One particular area where TVF saw a lot of success lately, was in the hospitality space, where they currently serve an impressive 450 hotels across 37 countries.
As part of his speech, Paul announced perhaps the biggest news of the conference – which was that thevoicefactory would be officially rebranding as Evolve IP. This makes sense as Evolve IP continues to build on its global growth strategy, with a business in the Netherlands and North America (HQ) too.
Following this revelation, the CEO of Evolve IP, Guy Fardone, took to the stage, discussing the incredible opportunities available in the cloud today. Matt Townend of the Cavell Group, shortly followed Guy and shared some up to date industry stats like:
- Adoption of UCaaS has risen to 16% in the UK
- SIP trunking has broken the 3 million market, but growth is starting to slow at 6.2%
- The UK is leading the seat numbers in the European cloud comms market at around 4 million
How Did you Make your M&A Decisions?
The decision to create a pan-European business was a conscious and careful move for Evolve IP, and according to Scott, when the company was looking for merger and acquisition opportunities, they were searching for several things. “First, we wanted people who also worked around Cisco and BroadSoft. We’re proud of our position as a BroadSoft and Cisco partner, and we found two of the best companies to grow with from that angle.”
Kinka also noted that the Evolve IP was looking for cultural fit with the businesses that they worked with too. “We wanted to work with companies who shared our high-growth story.”
Today, Evolve IP is maintaining a serious level of growth all over the world, using what they refer to as a “Normalize, Standardize, and Grow” strategy. “We want to take what the business is already doing well and expand it while looking for new opportunities too.”
Inspiring Insights from Evolve IP Event
Aside from providing us with the latest facts and figures, Matt Townend also gave the attendees at the event some interesting points to ponder. For instance, he discussed the fact that flexible working is growing increasingly important, and that the growth of cloud is being driven somewhat by this change. Additionally, the rise of new generations in the workplace is driving the need for more mobile environments and digital transformation.
According to Matt, the elephant in the room right now is the increasing growth of collaboration. While there’s a lot of competition going on, there’s also a lot of opportunities, particularly as we begin to implement AI into the collaboration space. Talking bots, conversational interfaces, chatbots, and more will allow us to get to know our customers better and innovate as a result. Now that there’s so much choice in the market, companies need to find a way to differentiate themselves with something awe-inspiring.
Matt’s conversation gave way to a host of exciting and intriguing sessions – too many for me to cover in just one article. Adam Zoldan, Director and Co-Founder of Knight Corporate Finance, discussed what service providers and partners need to do to prepare for the future and remain competitive today. Cisco came in with a slick presentation from Chintan Patel too. His refreshing take on connected devices, conversational interfaces, and IoT was very inspiring.
He talked about the consumer vs. the business use case environment and the fact that digital assistants need to start providing real context to conversations while reducing mundane tasks to make teams more efficient. Patel also offered some information on AI solutions and the Webex assistant for improving collaboration.
Thought Leaders from All Corners of Communication
The range of speakers that Evolve IP had to share with attendees was genuinely incredible. Poly’s Jonathan Clark took the stage with a Shakespearean style poem discussion office perils and the rising issue of distraction in the workforce. His presentation discussed the challenges of eliminating procrastination and improving focus with headsets and a step away from the open office.
Simon Horton from Sangoma, also appeared on stage, discussing the fact that legacy and old-world technology is still very common among military, automotive and hospitality companies to name a few. He noted that it’s essential for companies to provide hybrid solutions and that we all can’t simply forget about other legacy technology. One after the other, representatives from Akixi, Mondago, Tollring, Dubber, and others appeared to share their innovative thoughts on how the communication world is changing, and how businesses can take advantage of the new environment.
One particularly memorable talk came from Inference Solutions, who discussed their AI-based contact centre, capable of replacing live agents with virtual agents. Mark Purdom, the VP of EMEA for Inference, introduced the next era of the IVR and explored the possibilities of AI powered virtual assistants as part of the workforce.
Cool as Ice
As the day began to draw to an end, I ended up in a fireside chat with Matt Townend from the Cavell Group, where we discussed customer experience and business growth. There was also an award ceremony, which celebrated Evolve IP partners like:
- BTL: Best Newcomer
- M247: Biggest call centre deployment
- Robert Vitorino: Salesperson of the year
- Alex Finn: Vertical salesperson of the year
- CDK: Vertical partner of the year
- Babble: Biggest international deployment
- TXI: Most remote deployment
Mike Wilkinson, of Treemeadow Cloud Consulting, then took to the stage to talk about the future, AI, and where communication is heading. He discussed the fact that AI is already here, and changing our lives, calling the modern workforce “apes in suits.” With examples from Netflix, Boeing, and Amazon, he introduced us to where the communication landscape is headed and even gave us a tip on using Insomnobot for help sleeping.
The evening ended up at the Ice Bar in London, where everyone cooled off with some refreshing drinks.
Overall, it was an exciting and truly refreshing partner event. I’d like to thank Paul and the team for hosting me, and I can’t wait to see what Evolve IP does next.