The makings of a specialist VoIP company

The makings of a specialist VoIP company

I joined Netaxis just over three years ago. I was employee number 26 as I recall. Something like that anyway. Well now we are over 50 people. It isn’t quite the case that I can’t remember everyone’s name yet although living and working in the UK and not coming into daily contact with them all it can sometimes be a bit of an effort especially when visiting our Brussels office for the first time in a while.

One of the things I liked about Netaxis, and one of the motivations for starting work here was that everyone was so nice. It also impressed me that we had expertise in depth in all things VoIP and could do much more than a “normal” systems integrator or reseller of technology.

As time flew by and we added people to the roster it seems that every new person was seriously good at what they did and came from a background that was perfect for our needs. Our staff experience mostly originates from the network operator world and thus when we deal with this type of customer we are on home ground and comfortable in ourselves. We speak the same language as our customers.

When Netaxis began, maybe ten years ago now, being a VoIP specialist really meant knowing the ins and outs of the Session Border Controllers used in telecoms networks and understanding how to fix problems when things went wrong. Life has moved on big time. We are now involved in pretty much every aspect of a telco VoIP network operation.

Despite my own background of being the CTO of a converged communications provider I have found myself learning new technologies all the time. Webhooks for example. The collision of internet tech with voice tech. The application of the new to controlling the old. It’s one of the exciting things about being here.

Another interesting one is API. Now we all know what an API is but until you actually look into it it is difficult to get your brain around what it really is or how it works. Simple concepts really but hiding complex depths beneath an innocuous surface.

As an amusing aside, many years ago I was at a talk being given by a very senior industry person from a large incumbent telco. The trendy buzzwords at the time were web2.0 and mashups. It was obvious that she made a point of dropping them into her speech and with hindsight quite funny that they didn’t last much longer than the conference itself and nobody seemed ever to mention them again 🙂

In getting to grips with new technology and sitting in on customer sales meetings with people who really know what they are talking about it is a source of excitement for me to hear customers and prospects telling me that what we have shown them is exactly what they are looking for. Wow. Might sound daft but this is the result of product decisions made years ago. We are fortunate to have great relationships with our customers. When this is the case the decisions on which products and features are needed for the future becomes a lot easier. You simply let the customer write your roadmap. In fact this is a joint activity. Our customers take advice from us and vice versa. It is how it should be.

The other exciting thing about working for Netaxis is the increasingly international nature of our customer base. Beginning from our Belgian roots we now boast customers in most continents. I won’t try naming them all as I will inevitably miss out a country or two. I’m not counting Antarctica here. 

Having spent much of my working life flying around the world on business I am very familiar with the notion that this makes for a very inefficient way of working. The coronavirus lockdown that we are all going through right now actually, and perversely forcing working practices on us that are also making us more efficient with our time. Less time spent sat in airport lounges and on planes and more time doing stuff. 

Writing blog posts for example. It is very satisfying to see how many new business opportunities have come in as a result of blogs being written about particular topics. This is not rocket science but when you are busy getting on with work life it is often easy to miss some business basics. Now we have time to rectify this and make good. Our staff are mostly engineers and not sales or marketing people. As such they have a lot of stuff that we can write about that is of interest to the VoIP community generally and our customers in particular. I don’t include this rambling post in all this 🙂

Being a specialist VoIP company, voice company if you like, is no longer all about how packets are processed as it was in the early days of the technology. It is all about how to turn the technology into something useful that consumers and businesses will want to pay for. From a telco perspective it is also about how to work efficiently that allows them to make a profit and carry on paying the wages of their staff. 

Netaxis do all of this. We know how to connect packets in the right order, how to empower the end customer to do something useful with those packets and how to help the provider of the services make money out of them. Simple really 🙂