Technology News

Bring Your Own Carrier for the Enterprise

2015-04-02 12:13:30 Will Kelly

The Bring Your Own phenomenon didn’t stop with mobile devices. Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC), where employees might bring their communications platform and even their own communications carrier, is made possible now by the prevalence in IP-based communications and Voice over IP (VoIP), in particular. As VoIP integrates with customer relationship management and other back-end platforms, we’re sure to see more of BYOC in the enterprise. I’m even going to broaden the definition of BYOC further to include instant messaging (IM) and web conferencing platforms that can make their way into the enterprise virally.


BYOC via a Platform, a cloud-based sales enablement platform, positions its solution as BYOC because sales reps can keep their existing phone number for incoming calls. Not every VoIP provider supports the BYOC feature, but if it does, then it means that you can skip the stress of porting multiple phone numbers.


Another BYOC example is Plivo, a global carrier provider that includes two application programming interfaces (APIs):


  • A voice API that has an extensive global numbers inventory; support for a range of IP private branch exchange, softswitch, and Session Initiation Protocol phones; and working arrangements with Tier-1 carriers in more than 100 countries
  • An SMS API that supports free inbound SMS messages, personalized sender ID, SMS short codes, and two-way SMS

BYOC via IT Consumerization

Although the platform approach to BYOC might not be feasible for every enterprise, the consumerization of today’s IM, web conferencing, and video conferencing solutions is a more likely avenue for new communications tools to make it into the enterprise.


Atlassian HipChat, best known for secure group chat and IM, is an example of BYOC and consumerization. The company may have a subscription to another cloud-based web conferencing platform for more formal team and client meetings, with HipChat functioning as the communications glue. HipChat includes easy-to-use point-to-point video conferencing tools that don’t require users to schedule a meeting or send invitations. Team members can now ring each other up on HipChat just as easily as if calling them by phone.


The same scenario could play out using a range of other messaging applications that are available right now available as part of enterprise productivity suites or free download. Consider consumer VoIP—the user who uses Skype successfully during his or her last job or contract and wants to use it at their new gig.


Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is another IT consumerization that promotes BYOC as more users introduce their personal favorite mobile VoIP and unified communications (UC) apps. Sometimes, a team or an organization might adopt an app in this manner; some of the apps might remain a personal preference. BYOD is another case where employees don’t have to be on the same communications carrier but can still communicate and collaborate seamlessly.


BYOC via the Cloud

BYOC can make it into the enterprise via the cloud. Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work both include capable video conferencing, UC, and VoIP solutions as part of the subscription price. Users might take it upon themselves to try these apps out even if their employer is still deciding on its conferencing solution.


In addition, some employees and contractors bring free conferencing and UC solutions with them into the enterprise. Think of the remote contractor who initiates web conferences through Google Hangouts or one of the “freemium” web conferencing platforms that are out there.


Final Thoughts

Unsanctioned BYOC invites potential security and compliance issues in some industries, but UC, VoIP, and enterprise mobility show that the platform and the carrier don’t have to be the same anymore because of multiple communications, collaboration, and connectivity available to enterprises and end users today.


About the Author

WillWill Kelly is a technical writer and analyst focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device, and cloud computing. He has worked as a contract technical writer for clients in the cybersecurity, investment banking, Internet services, and broadband industries. Will’s other areas of technology interest include big data, collaboration, and enterprise social platforms. Will is a Studio B analyst.

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