Broadcasting from various countries around the world, using Voice over IP Technology, this is VoIP Uncovered—a VoIPon Solutions UK Podcast.  Representing VoIPon, I’m Kathleen Reed.

Today, we’re speaking with Serge Forest, Sangoma’s new Vice President of Marketing. Thanks for joining us today, Serge.

It’s been an interesting year for Sangoma. In addition to providing its traditional voice and data PSTN connectivity, it ramped up its contact centre building blocks, which became part of its portfolio following the acquisition of Paraxip in July 2008. As a result there have been a lot of changes. We’re excited to take this opportunity to bring VoIPon’s listeners up to speed as to what’s happening at Sangoma and what we might expect from them in the future.

[VoIPon] So Serge, what would you say has been the most significant development at Sangoma in 2009?

[Serge Forest, VP Marketing, Sangoma] Well, certainly we can see advancements on three major fronts. First on the product side we’ve launched award winning NetBorder Express Gateway 2.0 both on Windows and Linux. We’ve launched a series of hybrid telephony cards, which are unique in the industry [and they] allow [you] to mix analogue and digital telephony interfaces on a single card—very popular in the IP PBX market. And we’ve delivered clustering solutions for our SS7 software, so that’s on the product front.

On the PBX market side, we’ve had a terrific year, announcing many new application partners, the Aastra 800 system is now compatible with Sangoma. There’s CudaTel, a subsidiary of Barracuda Networks, pbxnsip, Foncordiax, Dialexia, Brekeke…a number of new PBX applications, we’re thrilled, and some movement on the Windows UC space that will bear fruit in 2010.

And finally, the third point, the contact centre business, as you’ve discussed. We’ve leveraged the Paraxip portfolio and we’ve gained many landmark customers, including some that are that are running open source, through our partner Vicidial, but also through our traditional Paraxip channel, we’ve announced Teleperformance recently, the largest outsourced customer service company in the world, has standardized on Netborder.

[VoIPon] Great, so how has this been received by your channel partners?

[SF] Well, in general the channel partners have really benefited from Sangoma offering a wider spectrum of products, and a wider number of applications that they can sell.

Let me take an example, so Foncordiax, for instance, out of Europe, has selected Sangoma to design a set of PBX appliances and has started rolling them out this year, and a number of channel partners, including VoIPon and VoIPon’s channel, have adopted this solution as well. So we’re really thrilled about the fact that a number of applications have been standardizing on Sangoma and the channels are picking them up and reselling them.

[VoIPon] What are some of the major “case study” style successes of the year in terms of where and how Sangoma technology has been implemented around the world? Are there particular stories VoIPon’s listeners can learn from?

[SF] Well, we’ve really been impressed in 2009 with the scope of certain successes that really show the maturity of the technology. For instance, we had, over the last year, or eighteen months, a 50,000 SIP endpoint deployment in Portugal in the education system. That’s very, very impressive, no matter what the technology is, but it’s also based on some open source projects and some Sangoma hardware, so very exciting. We’ve also had a number of people using open source as a platform to shrink wrap their commercial product around and deploy some very impressive solutions. For instance, our partner Digivox in Brazil has deployed 6000 IVR ports at Banco do Brasil, so very impressive. And finally, right here in the UK, one of the top wireless carriers has rolled out NetBorder in production in 2009, so very exciting.

[VoIPon] What other changes and new developments at Sangoma do you see coming for 2010?

[SF] Sangoma’s mission is really to make software based communications applications run more efficiently and more cost effectively. So, in 2010, we’ll see more activities and more events to drive that mission forward. So, on the product side look for significant new releases on the NetBorder product line, emphasis on international features, performance, security, and interoperability with all sorts of new applications. Also look for new products to be released to address some IP only configurations.

On the Sales and Marketing side, certainly 2010 promises to be a very exciting year for our partners in the contact centre, unified communications, and open source space, so look for several announcements and events throughout the year.

[VoIPon] What trends have you noticed recently in the telephony market and how do you see these playing out in the future?

[SF] We’ve seen really the open source telephony market mature, extensively over the recent past, both in the scale of the solutions that are being deployed, but also by the number of commercial offerings that have open source underneath as a base platform, so really glad to see that market taking maturity, and taking it to the next level, so we can see more of the same in the coming years.

We’ve also seen that the community and the industry alike have started to embrace FreeSWITCH, as a viable alternative to projects based on Asterisk. Open Source Telephony was largely Asterisk-based, up until recently, but FreeSWITCH is really taking on, now with Baracuda networks sponsoring it, and offering a very attractive alternative, so we’ve seen that as well.

And finally we’ve seen advances in the unified communication, Windows based PBX with 3CX, pbxnsip, and Microsoft having very, very solid solutions for both the small enterprise and for the Fortune 500 from the Microsoft perspective, with Office Communication Server, and we see those as having very good potential to replace legacy systems that are hardware based.