Genband Channel Push Targets Large Enterprise Customers

Genband recently confirmed a market expansion in which it will focus some of its carrier-class infrastructure products on large enterprise customers with network optimization challenges similar to service providers. The expansion includes an updated channel program, Genband told CRN, aimed at more traditionally enterprise-focused solution providers and integrators.

VAR500 power Black Box Network Services is among the early sign-ons, Genband confirmed.

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"Historically we've been a service provider company building stuff for service provider networks," Kurt Krueger, regional vice president, channel marketing, Americas, said in an interview with CRN. "But as we've been working with our service provider customers on what we call network transformation projects, we've been chatting with a lot of [enterprises] also going from traditional TDM networks to IP-based networks. The large enterprise is really going through some of the same challenges that carriers have been going through, and that includes a lot less dependence on traditional fixed voice lines and an increasingly mobile workforce."

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Genband's enterprise network solutions product set includes its A2 Communications Application Server, S3 Intelligent Session Border Controller, G6 Universal Gateway and C20 Converged Softswitch, as well as its G2 Mobile Office, a platform for extending an enterprise's unified communications functions out to mobile devices.

The A2 server works with TDM, IP and IMS networks simultaneously for hybrid network deployments, according to Genband, and has fully integrated multimedia applications for voice, video, conferencing, instant messaging, presence, collaboration and mobility.

It's a good fit for enterprises that are migrating from TDM infrastructure, that focus on those various applications and that need what's essentially a hybrid PBX option with a lot of firepower, Krueger explained.

Genband also offers native client integration into Microsoft Exchange and IBM SameTime environments, and also integrates existing analog, digital, UNISTIM and SIP phones through its Genband unified communications platform. Other enterprise-ready offerings include Genband Secure SIP Trunking, through which customers can manage and deliver virtual PBX, federation, SIP PBX trunking, voice VPN and other features using what's essentially a private cloud on top of their existing data networks.

Genband also has a sizable app developer ecosystem, GenFuzion Developer Community, through which it drives UC and vertical-specific applications for use with its systems.

"We can offer all of these applications to large enterprise customers as an overlay," Krueger said. "We can do a rip-and-replace if that's what they want, but they can re-use whatever existing telephone or SIP devices they have and gradually mover their historic networks into a far more IP-oriented network."

Black Box recently signed on as a Platinum member of Genband's Partner Advantage Program. Genband's UC applications infrastructure and device-agnostic platform will appeal to opex- and capex-minded customers, said Michael Laughlin, Black Box vice president of Shared Services.

"We are excited to support Genband's expansion into the large enterprise market which meets an immediate market demand for logical evolution of enterprise communications networks to UC," Laughlin said in a statement.

Genband updated the partner program at the beginning of 2012 with new sales and training tools geared toward enterprise customers, Krueger said. The company is in active discussions with a number of solution providers.

"We are having good conversations with several large partners focused on this part of the enterprise," he said. "This is going to be interesting for us."

Genband acquired Nortel's former carrier VoIP business during the 2009 sell-off of various Nortel pieces. That business, known as CVAS, included Nortel's softswitching, gateways and SIP applications, and at the time of the sale, Nortel held the largest market share in the carrier VoIP market.