Cloud Expo: Alliance Eyes Cloud For Communications

Keeping that in mind, a crew of eight hosted-IP voice and data communications service providers joined forces to form the Cloud Communications Alliance (CCA), a consortium of key industry players to drive development and adoption of the first nationwide high-definition enterprise voice and data network in the cloud. The CCA was officially unveiled this week at the Cloud Expo in New York.

William Bumbernick, CEO of Alteva, one of the Alliance's founding members, said the alliance give businesses an option for flexible and manageable voice and unified communications services that whittle down costs.

"There's a distinct separation between cloud communications and cloud computing," Bumbernick said in an interview. "We want to define what cloud communications is and what it can do."

Essentially, cloud communications is a communications network in the cloud that lets providers build upon what were once closed standards to add customization and offer more unique voice and UC services.

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Along with Alteva, the founding members of the CCA include Broadcore, Callis Communications, Consolidated Technologies Inc., IPFone, SimpleSignal, Stage 2 Networks and Telesphere. All told, the companies that formed the CCA represent more than $100 million in combined annual revenue and serve more than 110,000 business customers nationwide.

"As businesses have become more comfortable with the concept of cloud computing, they are now beginning to recognize the powerful convergent features between cell phones, office phones and computers, along with redundancy and cost savings gained through enterprise voice and data communications that can also reside in the cloud," CCA chairman and Telesphere CEO Clark Peterson said in a statement.

According to Bumbernick, the formation of the CCA is not just about VoIP, hosted PBXs or UC. Instead, it represents a new way to build, deploy and scale enterprise communications systems that offer HD voice services along with a platform for advanced applications and features that unlock new business capabilities.

The CCA will push to develop new technical standards, capabilities and applications in the cloud while delivering services to customers by collaborating on projects and offerings including peering with interconnected switches and gateways; leveraging the cloud for end device convergence and intelligence; a common support infrastructure; and unique cloud features through the CCA's "Sandbox," and offering that lets features and functions become accessible for voice and data services instantly by accessing the cloud, similar to how applications are accessed through app stores.

The eight CCA founders will also work on joint development ventures; bulk up disaster recovery support; share best practices; and expand their field resources.

The group also plans to work to develop video conferencing offerings in the cloud, Bumbernick said. "The cloud is making development much easier," he said. "It will give us the ability to create and provide our customers with new communications capabilities they've never had before."