Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Canadian IP Thought Leaders Series - David Cork and Hosted IP for SMBs

My guest on this week's podcast was David Cork, someone I've known for quite some time. David is the CEO and co-founder of Natural Convergence. They're based in Ottawa, and are part of the Terry Matthews fold, whose IP communications success stories include Mitel, Convedia and Ubiquity.

Natural Convergence focuses on hosted IP telephony for the small end of the SMB market, and David shared his views on the market opportunity here. I have done other podcasts on this space recently, but none of these have addressed this partcular segment with a hosted offering. David talked about the challenges facing these businesses, not just in terms putting IP technology to work for them, but also in terms of finding the right partners to provide VoIP.

The Canadian market is particularly skewed towards small businesses - typical under 40 lines and using a key system, so David's insights were close to home. To address this market, he spoke about his company's role in the recently announced service that Rogers will be offering here in Canada to SMBs. MSOs like Rogers are ideal partners for Natural Convergence, and if things go well there, you can expect to see other hosted SMB offerings from MSOs elsewhere.

You can download the podcast here, as well as read more about David's background.

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1 comment:

ipcom said...

Posted by: Ben Lucier

I was excited when I heard about the Mitel/Rogers announcement. Any business VoIP activity in Canada, especially by a CLEC or MSO serves to bring legitimacy to the hosted PBX market.

On the flipside of that comment, hosted phone systems can be difficult to support, especially for a large cable operator like Rogers. I would guess that's probably one of the reasons why Rogers is the only MSO to venture into this territory.

When my company was researching switch vendors for our hosted IP PBX service offering, I had the pleasure of meeting with David Cuddy, Natural Convergence's CTO. Dave really knows the platform and they seemed to built a reliable, no-nonsense hosted key system.

Now that Rogers is offering hosted key system service, the challenge for them will be to keep the price point competitive for the access (cable, T1, etc) and VoIP service, while ensuring a high level of customer service to the SMB end user.