Unified comms SME awaits AWS to take on giants
A South African-based SME called Global Industrial Service (GIS) believes it has the ability to disrupt the local unified communications market.
This is a market that is dominated by global giants like Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, among others.
GIS believes the imminent arrival of Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres in SA will help it to effectively compete in this market.
Last month, AWS announced it will open an infrastructure region in SA in the first half of 2020. The new AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region will consist of three availability zones.
Currently, AWS provides 55 availability zones across 19 infrastructure regions worldwide, with another 12 availability zones across four AWS regions in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Sweden and a second GovCloud Region in the US expected to come online in the coming months.
According to a recent study by Research N Reports, the global unified communications market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. It says integrating all business communication modes, such as messaging, e-mail and telephony, into a single cohesive system, is driving the growth of the industry.
Daniel Ntini, CEO of GIS, says he founded the company eight years ago and has been trading as an SME, taking on established players in the market.
Describing the opportunities in the South African market, Ntini says the move towards an omni-channel engagement is becoming very clear in the country.
"Companies are seeking to enhance their customer experience through voice, SMS, e-mail and social media. A unified omni-channel contact centre system provides businesses with cross-channel reports and performance metrics that help them make informed decisions as they manage communication channels," he says.
He points out that system integration has always been a standout in SA, giving users the ability to align the communication between company systems.
"There is a need to consolidate all business communication modes, such as messaging, e-mail, and telephony, into a single, cohesive system. VOIP [voice over Internet protocol] and UC vendors are also integrating their services with enterprise software such as SAP."
Ntini believes in SA, there is also a clear need for mobile applications for flexibility and the virtual workforce. He points out that a mobile UC and collaboration system enables its users to experience the full advantages of a UC solution.
To compete with established players, and due to technological advancements and an increased adoption of cloud computing technologies, Ntini says the company is witnessing a high demand for hosted UC and telephony solutions.
For any organisation to offer this service, he says, there has to be a dynamically scalable, self-healing architecture to suit the software as a service market.
The well-established players have the resources to offer such solutions at competitive prices, he notes.
"As a start-up company, it would be highly beneficial to finally have solutions like Amazon Web Services in South Africa, to enable us to have an affordable, secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help us scale and grow.
"AWS is characterised by an opex model and featuring quick implementation, flexibility and automated upgrades, which will be well-suited for our organisation and help us compete with the bigger players. Also, it would be beneficial for our local market to start having confidence in local service providers, as we have proven our worth, skills and competence."
To grow the business, Ntini says GIS is planning to bring multiple disciplines of ICT under one roof and provide turnkey solutions for businesses in SA and around the world.
"One of our major plans is to partner with OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] who develop and provide hardware that we use in the industry, and also to create local innovation hubs that bring about ideas that will result in workable solutions for organisations in South Africa," he concludes.