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'Iconic' Vonage Relaunches As B2B Communications Specialist

‘Vonage is an iconic brand. But we want to signal a bold, new direction for the company so people understand what we do today -- B2B communications -- and how we are going to evolve in the future,’ says Rishi Dave, Vonage's CMO.

Cloud communications provider Vonage is shedding its consumer roots and is consolidating its multiple brands down to one under the Vonage name.

Vonage started off as a consumer telecom brand, but today, the vast majority of customers are business users. Vonage wants business users and channel partners to know that the transformation is complete and Vonage is now a full-fledged B2B SaaS provider, the company announced on Wednesday at its user and developer conference, Vonage Campus.

"Vonage is an iconic brand," Rishi Dave, Vonage's chief marketing officer ,told CRN. "But we want to signal a bold, new direction for the company so people understand what we do today -- B2B communications -- and how we are going to evolve in the future."

Alongside its brand revitalization, Vonage introduced two new offerings on Wednesday: a video conferencing product and an API that will let developers build customized, real-time conversation streams across multiple channels.

[Related: Vonage Channel Chief: 'We Are An Enterprise Solutions Provider']

Through a series of acquisitions that Vonage has made over the last five years during its transition from a consumer voice brand to a B2B provider, the company has been known for four different brands: Nexmo, NewVoiceMedia, TokBox, and Vonage. The Holmdel, N.J.-based company is now standardizing its business communications business under the brand name that helped Vonage rise to popularity and gain notoriety with consumers.

"We want to not only drive simplicity -- one company, one culture, but also, to really relay a uniqueness we have, including our assets in applications, such as [contact center] (CC) UC, and our API platform," Dave said.

The channel is a large area of focus for Vonage, which is planning on courting new partners. "It's important for partners to understand who the new Vonage is and what we can provide," Dave said. "For us, partners are critical to out go to market strategy and it's critical [partners] can convey who we are to their end customers."

As a result of its TokBox acquisition last summer, Vonage on Wednesday launched Vonage Meetings, a brand-new video collaboration product for the Vonage Business Cloud. The programmable solution uses video APIs from Tokbox to give businesses voice, messaging, SMS, team messaging, social, email - and now video - all from one product and built on a single stack, said Brian Gilman, vice president of solutions marketing.

Prior to now, Vonage offered video through a third-party relationship with Amazon Chime, Gilman said. But users had no way to escalate voice or messaging conversations to video calls quickly.

"We knew we wanted to fully embed a video client into our mobile and desktop applications," he said. "[Vonage Meetings] is a combination of TokBox APIs and Vonage's stack, bringing a fully-featured videoconferencing to our portfolio."

For partners, Vonage Meetings is another offering to bring to their end clients, Gilman said. "It's closing the gap in our portfolio for partners that was probably hurting them a bit."

Using Vonage Meetings, users can arrange groups from Google Calendar, VBC, or start an instant meeting from a VBC contact list. Users can join a video call via a browser without downloading any software, and meeting attendees can screen share and record meetings.

Also revealed to developers was Vonage Conversation API, the latest API on the Vonage platform. Conversation API lets both developers and enterprises bake in customized, digital conversations that maintain context across multiple channels, including messaging and voice, according to the company.

From authentication via text message, to customer support through messaging, voice or video channels, Conversation API enables the retention of context in a single thread, Gilman said. "Having individual APIs, like video or voice, sometimes you lose the context behind the customer interaction. Conversation API allows us to use multiple channels and carry the context of that conversation from one channel to another."

Vonage in August announced plans to acquire Over.ai, a Tel Aviv-based conversational artificial intelligence specialist for enterprise communications. The deal will help Vonage build out its speech-to-text and natural language processing capabilities for its business services products. Gilman said that Over.ai's technology will be integrated down the road into Vonage's communications portfolio.

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