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Vonage CEO Rory Read: ‘Winners and Losers Aren’t Set’ For Next-Gen Business Communications

Gina Narcisi

‘This vision of moving to transactions … to 360-degree engagements across all engagement vectors. I think it‘s going to drive just a huge amount of business. This business is going to grow to billions and billions of dollars each quarter, each week [and] each year. The combination with Ericsson only accelerates that,’ the company’s tech veteran CEO tells CRN.

One Platform To Rule Them All

Vonage, the business cloud communications company that’s now a part of Swedish networking and telecom equipment maker Ericsson, has been busy laying the groundwork for the next generation of business communications.

The Holmdel, N.J.-based company offers a communications platform that includes unified communications (UC) contact center, and a slew of APIs that can be used to inject voice, messaging, video and data capabilities into anywhere a business requires. Right now, communications largely flow one-way from systems to end users – think, push notifications – but Vonage thinks the next step in business communications will include two-way conversations around commerce, support, and services. And businesses have to be ready, said Vonage CEO Rory Read.

Read has been sitting in the CEO seat for the past two years and he’s no stranger to evolving a business. Read came to Vonage from Dell where he served in a variety of positions over five years, including chief operating executive. Prior to that, he served as CEO of semiconductor giant AMD. Read was on-hand during Dell’s massive EMC buy, which put him in a great position to lead Vonage through its own acquisition. Ericsson in July completed its acquisition of Vonage Holdings.

Now, 76 percent of the carrier’s business is generated by business customers. Vonage’s business segment alone represents the third-largest pure play cloud communications company in the market in terms of revenue, and that piece of the pie is only going to get bigger now with the backing – and balance sheet – of Ericsson.

Vonage is poised to become one of the leaders in embedded communications as more companies evolve their business. That will mean billions of dollars in revenue for Vonage and its channel ecosystem – a big area of investment for the company, Read said.

Read caught up CRN on its evolution over the last two years, its investments and commitment to growth now that the company is part of Ericsson, why the communications market “isn’t that crowded” and where the “massive” areas of opportunity in business communications lay for the channel.

What follows are excerpts from the conversation.

 
Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

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