2600Hz KAZOO – The UC Platform Behind the IT/Communications Convergence Solution
Last month I attended KAZOOcon, an annual event for the users of the 2600Hz KAZOO platform. KAZOO is an open source project delivering a carrier grade VoIP communications platform, essentially an open source alternative to the original Broadsoft platform. 2600Hz is used by a range of carriers and MSPs as the underlying platform they use to deliver a branded UCaaS offering. In addition to providing core community support, hosting KAZOOcon and code contributions, 2600Hz wraps the open source code base with their own productization and support models for different markets, from SMB to large carriers. They offer the solutions in both hosted and license models to suit the deployment models required. The fact that at least five of the larger UCaaS/MSP vendors that are major Broadsoft/Cisco partners were at this event indicates the high level of interest in alternative core platforms for this market. It is clear the move by Cisco to make the Webex brand more predominant in the Broadsoft partner base is driving the evaluation of alternatives.
The real transformation I observed was the number of partners of 2600Hz that are using the KAZOO platform in a very business process-specific solution model. These companies are providing a service that either includes optimized communications for the vertical business application or is tightly integrated into a business process. An example is a solution that SimpleVoIP built for Pizza Hut to tie customer information and ordering between the phones and the POS terminals in the store. This integration assures that the employees have the most information when interacting with a customer. Another example is VSR Network Technologies, which is building an integrated cloud solution for hospitality communications. Based on conversations with a number of KAZOO-based service partners, the opportunities to integrate communications into the business for vertical applications is a major new focus. This is the latest in convergence, converging the IT solution for an industry space and the communications solution for that space into a business process solution.
I came away from KAZOOcon with a confirmation of the rapid acceleration of converging the IT solutions that manage our business processes with the next generation of communications platforms. The key point is that this requires a platform built for integration, using modern software techniques, a full range of APIs and SDKs. However, and this may be the most important point, there is no value in an underlying brand of communications platform. The point is the consumer of these services buys the integrated service, not the underlying elements. For those customers, unless the fact that it is Cisco Webex or Microsoft Teams has value to the usage of the solution in a business context; it has no value in selling the business level solution. As Cisco and Microsoft move to clearly establish the branded BC solutions, that may leave the market open to new platforms like KAZOO and companies like 2600Hz and their SP partners to address the component business solution space. If using an included branded underlying platform comes at higher prices/cost, it is only valuable if the ultimate customer values the included brand. This can be through brand value or through external integrations that are important to the business process.
Ultimately, KAZOOcon 2019 was another step on the path of communications/IT integration. First, we integrated CRM and CC. Next, IT and VoIP came together on an IP infrastructure. Next, we integrated Personal Productivity with communications/collaboration. Now we are integrating the core business process solutions with communications. Whether through API platforms like Twilio or by having vertically integrated specific communications solutions using platforms like KAZOO/2600Hz, the ability to integrate the business process with the right communications is a powerful force. When combined with the ubiquity of mobile devices for basic employee telephony, the emerging future may see stand-alone general-purpose enterprise communications solutions as the last vestiges of an outdated siloed time. Clearly understanding both the potential opportunities and barriers to integrating the business IT and Communications together is critical for everyone in the Business Communication marketplace.