Chris Kranky

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BroadSoft Connections Postmortem

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

  • BroadSoft announced their Project Tempo collaboration initiatives which are a series of new services to be introduced over the next year.
  • Details were thin, but audience generally receptive.
  • This is the first BroadSoft application with a contextual element.

I’m back from the Arizona desert where I attended the BroadSoft Connections user event (note I was not paid to attend this event). 1,100+ strong, people seemed to be a jovial mood, obviously the Unified Communications business is doing well. All of these events seem to have to have a theme (as if we’re humming the tune in the shower each day) and BroadSoft’s was called, “Define the Future.”

But “Define the future?” Imagine if you could, more important to me, imagine if I could. Think of all the stuff you wouldn’t be bothered with if you could indeed define the future.

During the event, BroadSoft announced “Project Tempo” which is a series of product/service initiatives around productivity, team collaboration and communications. The audience was mostly receptive though the announcements were light on any details. BroadSoft knows their predominate telco audience warms to new ideas slowly. It is a strong testament to this knowledge that their BroadCloud offering (truly a cloud service) has found success within the notoriously engineering-centric “we can do this ourselves” telco market.

The first release (1Q2016) for Project Tempo is UC-One-Hub which has a chat/messaging function as well as support for voice/video communications. The key differentiation is the integrations which include support for Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive, as well as Concur (a travel expense mgmt system), Redbooth (team task management), and Twitter.

Contextual communications are the theme with Project Tempo. With the UC-One-Hub when you call or receive a call, your display will change to show the latest data interaction with that contact (e.g. you’ll see the latest emails, tweets and calendar events). You can also search for this same content by looking up a contact.

Ironically, BroadSoft indicated that UC-One-Hub was intended for the Google Chrome Browser, they seemed to go out of their way not to mention WebRTC directly. UC-One-Hub does indeed use WebRTC but as I’ve denoted all along, it’s about the application, not the technology.

With the current forward movement of “just” UC, BroadSoft could easily have stood up, lacquered some more varnish on the old BroadWorks platform (what’s a few more features at this point) and headed for the bar. Instead, CEO Michael Tessler took to the stage and told the assembled audience, folks, we’re going to have to move this party further down the road, UC needs to evolve. Indeed, it’s good advice to change the business while business is good, advice though that is rarely heeded by most companies, yet BroadSoft is trying.

Project Tempo is entering uncharted territory to try and answer the question how will we communicate and collaborate in the future. The ingredient list of what you need is probably well understood, the difficult question what are the exact measurements.

Focus will be a big part of the success or failure for Project Tempo. You need to establish a solid base. Slack started with a focus on developers and has grown from there. Atlassian and Twilio as well in this same developer arena. Uber, if you’ve forgotten, focused on upper-end black sedan rides initially. Dropbox is a mostly a consumer product yet it’s a rare company whose employees aren’t using it for work related project.

Project Tempo will have to find a base of initial users. It won’t be about what telcos want, or think they want and not even what they are able to sell. Rather, it will be about what the telco end customers actually want.