In 2019, we saw a 10x increase in the volume of call traffic from customers integrating our network with third-party communications platforms via BYOC. Already in 2020, we’ve seen a further acceleration of growth.
As far as we can tell, bring your own device (BYOD) was first used by the VoIP company BroadVoice way back in 2004. It wasn’t until the 2010s however that the phrase and a cacophony of copycats, with ‘Bring Your Own – just about anything’ , became a common marketing term.
Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) is something we’ve been talking about a lot recently. Mostly because it seems to be a big deal for carriers and platforms that want to provide customers with more options.
But has the idea of ‘bringing your own carrier’ gone mainstream enough that platforms now have to offer it as an option for their customers, and if so, how?
Integration as Standard
If you take your time out to do a quick google and look up your Contact Center Platform of choice, you’ll more than likely find a page, or at the very least a blog, that mentions how you can integrate their product with another service.
For the most part, this is because interconnectivity between platforms, services, and carriers is an expectation for customers these days. With companies wanting increasing levels of control over their communication strategy.
For example, in the shift to cloud, where you may wish to move freely between platforms based on tactical need. This is where BYOC and selecting a carrier partner of choice comes into its own, and moving over from one platform or hardware supplier to another becomes simple.
Just a Buzzword?
We’re under no illusions here that BYOC is seen by a few old-school telecoms professionals as a bit of a buzzword. And in the past, telecom services didn’t come as a bundled offering, plenty of carriers and platforms have offered the ability to use APIs and scripts in order to use their services alongside others.
Open network platforms like Microsoft Lync, for example, provided the infrastructure for PSTN connectivity through a choice of your own SIP trunks way back in 2009.
The difference now is the ease of use. Rather than people having to program or crowbar ways for their platform to work with their carrier, these integrations are becoming easier to implement without any specialist telephony background. And BYOC is a good way for companies to signal that to their customers.
But the expectation of choice has, at the very least, kicked a lot of platforms into action, with many actively working to connect anything and everything to their comms (including your preferred carrier).
Without the ability to connect their carrier to multiple platforms, the modern-day enterprise would probably struggle to maintain or increase their comms capabilities. Which makes sense since an enterprise-level customer will see this as a necessity. Why?
- Lots of platforms
A larger company might use Zoom Phone for Core Telephony, Five9 for the contact center and Twilio as the development hub for their own applications. It provides the flexibility to choose the best-of-breed in each area. Having one comms carrier for each of these reduces costs and the number of contracts.
- Extended coverage
Getting coverage in multiple countries is a pain and a reliance on bundled telephony might end up costing more and offering less. Being able to choose a carrier with global reach, local number pools to allow local outbound dialing and resilience to boot.
- Discount based on consolidated volume
With bundled comms (eg Microsoft’s calling plan “blocks”), a company can face exponential costs with higher volumes of traffic and are much more likely to get a better deal on their minutes and numbers by separating their carrier and platform of choice.
So Who’s Doing BYOC?
The industry has put at least some form of focus on BYOC in the past year with lots of platforms looking for ways to keep up with the increased demand. Here are just a few examples.
- Microsoft Teams
“Direct Routing allows customers to choose their telecom provider to enable their users to make and receive calls in Teams.”
“With Zoom’s optional BYOC feature, enterprise customers who wish to keep their current PSTN service provider may power the Zoom Phone cloud PBX service by redirecting their existing voice circuits/trunks to the Zoom Phone cloud.”
“Webex Calling provides the option to bring your own carrier (BYOC), allowing you to avoid early termination fees and maintain existing contracts, phone numbers, and calling rates”
“Using Twilio’s SIP Interfaces, you can take advantage of Twilio’s Voice API with numbers on another carrier.”
“BYOC can be easily configured in Plivo’s user dashboard and via our API. You can easily set one or more carriers of your choice and connect it to our cloud.”
“BYOC is available in two distinct offerings, named according to where the connection terminates against Cloud: BYOC Premises and BYOC Cloud.”
“Rather than having to port over your number to Talkdesk, you can maintain your existing phone numbers with a local carrier and have those calls forwarded to Talkdesk via SIP…”
The Problems with BYOC
As always with a new(ish) idea in the marketplace, there are certainly some teething problems but one of the main challenges our customers are finding is the providers of BYOC are providing limited information on how to do this.
Comms platforms are not going to shout too loudly about BYOC. Why? Well, as much as it’s good to have interconnectivity and a provider with the BYOC offering many people may not be clear on the value propositions of BYOC, or how a carrier with these capabilities may have more advanced services in compliance or the depth and granularity of coverage.
And since companies are doing this somewhat independently there’s a certain measure of inconsistency. How do you cost this kind of capability? And what does it actually look like on the back end of things? Questions that are answered differently depending on who you go with and who you ask.
BYOC vs DIY – A To-do list for Comms Platforms
To give you an idea of how BYOC can quickly add coverage for platforms in a very low-risk, time-efficient manner, here’s the to-do list alongside a ‘Do It Yourself’ model:
The bottom line on this is that BYOC opens up a new way for Platforms and Carriers to work together to provide customers with better CX. For platforms, they can offload all the telephony headaches to the carriers, who sort that stuff out with their customers directly, and platforms benefit as their customers stay within the platform ecosystem.
BYOC simply augments an offering already on the cards. And as more platforms quietly jump on the BYOC bandwagon its use as a differentiation tactic will diminish and the benefit for customers should really come to light, as each of the platforms looks to excel in new and rich feature capability and establishes them as the most future rich platform, as AWS has done in the cloud hosting marketplace.
Where the Industry Should Be Looking
Cloud platforms need to enhance offerings rather than augment them with something that was already possible. Don’t get us wrong here, BYOC is a great thing for the customer as a whole.
So we’re back to where the industry should be looking and making the prediction that the value propositions of the future will be things like compliance and coverage detail. (Shameless plug) – Something Voxbone handles pretty well.
What Voxbone feels like the BYOC initiatives are driving is the flexibility for customers to be more portable. If service drops at a vendor, or costs increase beyond a quality increase, it provides a quick and flexible mechanism to move. It allows all providers offering BYOC to focus on the core of the application and ensure that they are driving the best possible solution for their customers.
Here at Voxbone, the flexibility of our system allows you to evaluate us in your problem areas, and if you like us in that area to expand the coverage, resilience and control features across your base of applications bringing economies of scale that each of the platforms independently couldn’t reach.
Interested in using Voxbone alongside your platform to provide complaint global coverage?