How to empower the most important communication tool – Voice, with Peter Eldon from Access 4
In Episode 011 of REDD’s Business and Technology Podcast our hosts Jackson Barnes (BDM – REDD), Brad Ferris (CEO – REDD) interview Peter Eldon, Director of Sales & Marketing at Access 4. Peter shares his wealth of unified communications knowledge with our hosts and provides some tips for our listeners on how to get the most out of their business voice.
Access 4 is a technology company that delivers unified communication solutions through a trusted partner network. With a strong commercial focus and automated management platform, they deliver fast and simple access into the market to over 100 partners across Australia and New Zealand.
Recorded Friday 4th November, 2022.
Thanks for watching!
You can find the full transcript below!
– Hello and welcome to Redd’s Business and Technology Podcast. I’m your host, Jackson Barnes.
– I’m your co-host Brad Ferris. And today we are sitting down with Peter Eldon, who’s a Director of Sales and Marketing from Access 4, who’s a leader in unified communications in APAC, Australia, New Zealand, and potentially elsewhere. Peter, thanks for joining us. Did you want to touch on your background personally before we jump into the topic?
– Yeah, yeah. Thanks for having me, you guys. It’s a fantastic setup. Great to have a look around the Redd offices. It’s, I’m sure there’s a bit of work gets done, but it looks like it’s a lot of fun.
– Content and parties, that’s about it.
– There’s, there’s DJ decks, there’s, there’s, there’s table tennis. It’s all happening. I might say, try and get a gig here. So look, as I said, you said, Jackson, my name’s Peter Eldon. I’m a Director of Sales and Marketing Access 4. I’m a Brisbane guy, although my accent wouldn’t necessarily tell you that. I’ve been in the industry for way too long. Had my own managed data business, which did some voice services back in the day, actually sold that and got out and would you believe built a night club and ran a, a nightclub out of Brisbane, called the X&Y Bar for quite a while.
– Oh yeah?
– And you know, cause I’d been drunk a lot. So it’s a natural thing. You know, the wrong side of the bar, I think. Then got out of that and been in managed services running them and, and owning them. And after a stint in security joined, Access 4 as Director Sales and Marketing. Access 4 is an Australian UCAST vendor, so unified communications as a service. We purely look after the channel. What that means is organizations like Redd who are brilliant at sorting out the customer’s needs, we’re a really good partner in relation to that we’re the expert in unified communications and hosted voice. And so when you put that two together, the outcomes for those end customers are, are exceptional.
– Great, looking forward to the chat. I think what we want to touch on today is the evolution of voice. A lot’s changed with Covid itself. That little period of six months, 12 months when it first hit the voice market really changed and a lot of technology brands adapted strongly. But let’s go right back to a business voice in let’s say 2010, for example, so 12 years ago, what did business calling or voice look like in 2010?
– Yeah, I mean the, firstly I would say looking back is it was siloed, right? So it was very, you had your, your office phones, you had mobility and then you had IT services all very separate, right? And everyone kind of knew who they rang and there were probably all three different people. And there’s probably a photocopy guy in there as well. So four different segments of business. You know we saw that mobility was really building through at that time. And again, it wasn’t integrated, it was very much, they’re out of the office, can you just ring ’em on the mobile? We didn’t really have a way for that telephony to follow you. And then we saw that a few apps were starting to come in and we’re starting to see some mobility around data. But the biggest way I’d look at it at the time is the needs were starting to develop where we needed that continuity of being able to follow people wherever they were. We were becoming more mobile and we had really good technology in silos, but they weren’t connected and we weren’t really getting the benefit of being able to spread that through when, you know, follow me anywhere and the likes.
– I think some of those challenges still exist today where, you know, you’ve got a small business and the most, half the operators or 80% of the operators just run off their mobile phones. So that was 2010. And what’s the current state of, well actually before current state, let’s look at prior to Covid, let’s touch on that. Cause that’s, I guess a pretty rapid evolution in the voice industry. So when Covid started in 2020. Well at the start of 2020, really? What did that change with unified communications?
– Well, it’s really amazing, right? Cuz it, it, you know, if you were going to be, you know, when they look at the, the side of a mountain, they can see a major event that hits in geology. You can see an asteroid hit. Covid was that asteroid for UC, but also for digitalization. So you’ll see those memes around. It says, you know, who was most, who most drove digitalization in your business was it the CFO? Was it the CFO? It was Covid.
– Right. And so what we saw is in, you know, March of 2020, I remember it, well, you know, a lot of, a lot of MSPs and a lot of, a lot of businesses, you know, were very concerned about what was going to happen there. We expected a couple of months, right? We’d all be back in the office by about July.
– [Jackson] Mm.
– And so there was a real rush on, I need my staff enabled to work from home. You know, you couldn’t buy toilet roll and you couldn’t buy video cameras. I dunno what you want to do with those two.
– Yeah, webcams and stuff.
– Yeah, it was madness, right? And organizations like you guys just did a brilliant job in overnight and allowing these guys to have a a patch meal method of working, right? Or working from kitchen tables. You know, I had friends, friends who I was working with, it was multiple of them in small apartments in, in Bondi in Sydney, and one of ’em’s working in a cupboard trying to get away from the noise, you know.
– The kids or –
– Every, yeah, kids, dogs, you know, it was carnage, right?
– But from a business standpoint, MSPs did such a brilliant job in just getting ’em going. But it was very much a “let’s get me up” kind of mentality. And so what that was, was a lot of mobiles being, being used, right? There’s a lot of diversions of numbers, two mobiles. And you know, obviously what we saw is that we weren’t back in place in three months. You know, it took two and a bit years for us to get to a point where we can go back into the office consistently. Now, I’ll also note that I’ve got five staff at the moment right now with Covid, and they’re talking about another wave coming through at the moment, right? So when we say we’re over, there’s still going to be, you know, the only thing I think we can be certain on is more uncertainty. There’s still going to be more interruptions to what we do. But we are now at a point where most people can go to the office, however, does everyone want to go to the office –
– five days a week?
– You know, we all did a really good job of keeping businesses in the country, operational, working in cupboards and working off kitchen tables when it was needed. And a lot of staff are now saying, well, if it was good enough then, I was productive then. And there’s some really good data around the productivity of staff when we’re working remotely. I want to continue to do that moving forward. Now when you put on top of that as well, the war for talent that we currently have. So this, this incredible skill shortage we have in Australia, and around the world, and I might note, as well that we’re actually negative in the skill shortage. So we’re losing more skilled people out of IT than we’re bringing into the country every week or month.
– Mm hm.
– We’re experiencing that now, wouldn’t you say, Brad.
– So we’re on a negative on that, right? So even if we fix in relation to immigration, we’ve got to get back to zero before we get into the positive. So people, you know, you’ve got staff who are willing to move, you’ve got a shortage of people and this hybrid work and flexible work is very much in the mindset of both businesses and, how do I run this? But also more importantly, being staff in relation to where they’re willing to work. And, and then on top of that, it’s not about just staff acquisition, it’s about staff retention. Cuz it is a, it’s a tricky market. So when I look at where we’re at is, there’s a couple of challenges I see from this is that we’ve got, we’ve got poor commun – our number of businesses have still got post-Covid hangovers around communications. There’s still a lot of businesses if you call in, it’s a poor experience. And I would recommend any listener on this who owns a business or is C level in a business, go home and ring your business, ring your main number, ring the support number, ring all of them and just see what happens if you’re a customer, how do you go through, do you get lost in call routing hell? Does the right people answer the call? Does it happen after hours if you now got multiple offices in Sydney and Brisbane to protect that hour and account, it can be quite humbling and it can be quite a revelation to do that and understand what your customer would be experiencing when they call in. Because there is still a number of those hangovers from post-Covid. So, you know, when I look at the, what was happening around Covid is we saw a lot of mobility be thrust at businesses with no choice. That from a data standpoint was done securely and was done quite well. Most businesses understood that, you know, if we’re going to let people work remotely, we need to ensure its, it’s secure. And particularly with what we’re seeing right now in the marketplace, people are very aware of of data security. But from a voice standpoint, we still saw some and still are a number of holes around, you know, what was set up as a three month “she’ll be right” kind of set up has kind of lasted longer than that. And end customers, you know, consumers, they get a little bit tired with that, They want that customer experience that they were getting pre-Covid and they’re kind of holding businesses to account now on that.
– So you’re referring to the like makeshift or post-Covid hangover with UC. Is that more maybe businesses who had like old phone systems on premise in their business and all they did was divert numbers to mobile and that was all they, that was their Covid adoption. They still have that set up.
– Yeah, it was a lot of, and, and look, they might have diverted it back now. So, but again, the big point there is, is you’re right, there’s not a lot of flexibility in that. So if someone’s got a, a piece of tin sat in an office, which is that old phone system, it really didn’t have the concept of hybrid work or flexible work. It didn’t have the concept of, you know, one day everyone came to an office and the next day no one did for nearly two years.
– It’s shockingly common how often you see big like physical phone system in rack racking offices around still these days when there’s so many options to go, you know, cloud based or you know, that, that kind of thing. So it is very surprising. So the UC market got hit by a meteor when Covid happened and people were working remotely and some people adapted really well, some people didn’t. How did the actual UC industry change? Did it it evolve in response to Covid?
– We had to, right? It was a, was a little business, I think you’ve heard of it called Zoom. Did alright, did okay.
– [Jackson] Yeah they did good.
– Little engine that could.
– But you know, so there was very much an opportunity there for businesses who took that and Zoom did a fantastic job, right? You know, now they’re, they’re struggling. When I say struggling from a value standpoint. And, and now what is that next step? What do they become next? You know, obviously you got Teams, Teams exploded massively and is, you know, the largest used collaboration tool out there, you know, over 200 million active users. You know, what we see around that is a bit more, there’s more meat to that. So when you look at those collaboration tools where you’ve got chats, you know, instant messaging, video, email, all tied in as one, that’s more of a stayer for us. That’s going to, that’s going to be more of a, a consistent product and the fact that it’s tied to 365 and it’s delivered on virtually every desktop. So what we saw is we saw a burst of activity, we saw that burst of opportunity and that’s kind of settling down to now what is the substance? And, and you know, those, a number of acquisitions and a lot of businesses around that are looking for those additional feature sets that fill out that offering. You know, that smorgasbord and you know, again, Teams and, and WebEx as well, right? WebEx has got a very similar offering to Teams from the point of view of UC. And that’s where we see the growth and the real opportunity for most businesses is around that voice and data collaboration piece. So taking that internal communication tools that we use a lot of, so things like chat and messaging and video conferencing. And then plugging in our external telephony. So our 1-300, our 1-800, our IVRs, so you know, press one for support, press two for tech.
– [Jackson] Yep.
– That technology being able to be delivered no matter where a person is. So if they’re in an office, fantastic. If they’re working from home, they have the same access to tools and information. And more importantly, supervisors and managers have the same awareness of their activity, their engagement, accountability. That allows us to then deliver that customer experience, which is the big one for me at the moment, is the customers are really tired with, you know, making do and, and you know, being in that kind of waffling mindset, we went through all through Covid and they want now things to go back to what they were and that customer experience now is so important.
– So you’re saying that really the evolution that happened from Covid and like the two years that followed is around having it unified. So working with other platforms like Teams for example, and also the customer experience and journey, but also the advanced call features coming back into standard business grade tool sets.
– Yeah, it’s, it’s about, I mean it’s in the name, right? It’s about unified communications. So it’s about, you should be untethered, you should be able to work wherever you want to work and there should be no degradation to the tools that you receive or also the customer experience you are able to deliver. Is number one, and then number two, as we have a more dispersed workplace, so hybrid work, you need to use, well I recommend you use integrated tools to make sure that your culture survives that as well.
– So if you using very siloed technologies within your business, that won’t get better when you have a dispersed workplace.
– Because that engagement was around the water cooler or in, you know, the office around the ping pong table. If you’re not doing that, physically do it virtually. So things like, you know, town halls through video conference and having group chats, having verticals within your business around interests, be it charities or be it Marvel movies, whatever it is, that integration and that unified piece where we’re all coming together to work on technology and then use technology socially allows us to continue the culture and build it no matter if we’re all in the same office or we’re around a virtual water cooler, be it a, a chat or whatever that is. And that, that’s really the two challenges is for most businesses now I think most of them are seeing how do I deliver good customer experience in hybrid work. But the second one is how do I continue to build a good culture to keep my staff in hybrid work?
– So most of our customers anyway, listeners probably then as well, are 365 users and definitely in the last two, three years, you know, lots of inquiry around Teams calling and again, unifying that for lack of a better term, single pane of glass. But everyone’s working in Teams every day. So I know a couple years ago Telstra had a bit of monopoly on phone calling through 365, Skype, and all that and that, that opened up and that’s, you know, caused an kind of explosion in, in Teams calling. I’d be interested to hear from you some of the, some of those add on features or what features that Access 4 can provide around Teams calling and what is, what else can you do? So we touched on some recording, you know, we’ve talked on monitoring, we’ve talked on routing, but particularly around the Teams calling, maybe just a bit of a –
– Yeah, really good question. So really you can do whatever you need to do or expect to get out of a enterprise PABX, so enterprise phone system, you can do that and beyond on Teams calling. Now, not on every Team’s calling, like there’s, there’s basic Teams calling and, and that’s a great, you know, basic product which allows you to make a couple of calls and still have chat and the likes. But what we do at Access 4 is we’ve built enhanced solutions and then we had add-ons on that. So there’s a couple things about it that make that better. One of ’em is redundancy. So you know, we have a, an additional layer of, of redundancy in there so that if there’s an issue with authentication with Teams, which does happen, you’re still able to send and receive calls.
– [Brad] Okay. So that, that’s another area I’d I’d touch on communications continuity.
– So if Microsoft goes, has a down goes down, which does happen sometimes. Are you saying saying you can still make calls?
– Mm hm.
– You can still make and receive calls. So we actually, you know, we use best of breed UC solutions and multiple of those in our one offering. And so we can actually layer that over the top of it, which means that if it goes down, the numbers are still answered and you’re still going to, that’s still, that’s still telephony, which is super important as you said,
– [Brad] Yep. it is a database product and there are problems with Teams every now and again.
– Yep. But on top of that, I would, I would also recommend that, you know, when, when businesses are really talking about business resilience these days, but most of those conversations around data and I’d say that every business who’s having a business resilience conversation, make sure you’re having a a voice conversation around it as well just from a, a resilience. But back to the Teams question. So anything you would want to do and probably some of the things you haven’t thought you’d want to do. So things like call recording, messages on hold, you can do, you know, time of day routing, you can have overflow calls answered in different offices around the country, wherever they are. You’ve got the obvious thing where you can just take your laptop and work from home on the other side of the world and you’ll still be in IVRs and the likes. But then we get to the really cool stuff, things like call center analytics. So you could run call center software, which you know, used to be quite expensive and, and quite a burden on a business to set up and maintain. You can now have that as a per user per month integrated into Teams. And some of your listeners might be going, well hang on, why do I need a call center? Well if you can imagine now in hybrid work, you might be running an out accounts receivable team, might be five of them. That team could be spread around Australia, it could be spread around into Asia as well. You might have a couple of people job sharing. By using that call center analytics, you as a supervisor or manager can now manage that. You can see who’s on calls. More importantly, how many calls have you missed of people trying to pay you money?
– Is it because you can’t just walk over and see how many people on the phone, right?
– Bingo, that’s exactly it.
– So what did we used to do? We’d gopher up. I’m doing an impression of a gopher for everyone. It’s not very good. And that’s a gopher, not a golfer, if anyone’s wondering. You know, we used to, we’d do that, right? We’d stick our heads up over the cubicles and we could see what was going on and or “something’s wrong with Joan, she’s really, she hasn’t really been in it recently, I’ll, you know, there’s something wrong at home. I’ll go find out.” How do we do that in that remote workplace? And that’s not just in keeping an eye on someone from Big Brother that’s also making sure that you’ve been a good corporate citizen and HR and P&C are understanding when someone’s struggling or someone’s not engaged.
– Also from a customer experience point of view, right?
– Hundred percent.
– Yeah, we’re getting a lot more, I guess need for businesses who really don’t want to have a separate phone system, they want to call out of Teams cuz they’re already collaborated internally in that. But then they do need some, not all the time, all of like call center functionality because the customer experience, that kind of thing. They need to know the data around calling, how many phone calls are in the day for resourcing, how many in the queue, how many drop off? And like if it’s a, it’s a sales for example and you’re dropping off calls all the time, that can be really hurting your business. But also from a resourcing point of view for like you said, a five person accounts receivable team. How do you, as a manager, how would you resource that function if you have
– No data.
– no idea how many –
– calls and queue times and that kind of thing, right?
– So, so a couple of points on that and, and you, bang on, so that first one around how many calls have I missed? If you are running any sort of inbound sales, you should run this call center analytics cuz one of the slides that show you is how many missed calls and how many calls went unanswered. And if you work that out for what the average cost of a sale is, how many customers you have, you work out all that out. You’ve got a real cost every time that one in red is shown. So that’s really important, really simple widget that, you know, you’ve got a business owner who doesn’t want to be tethered to the office, who wants to be able to go and have some time with the family, have that on a phone with BI and can sit there on a mobile and see how my phone’s been operated. Am I missing calls? How do I do at resourcing? Another example around resourcing is, you know, how many times have we heard I need an extra person in this department cuz we’re overrun.
– Mm hm.
– And what we’re doing is we’re doing that on feel and we’re doing that on what we’re told rather than on stats. And it what, what this call center analytics does, it gives you real data to make decisions rather than, “well actually we’re overrun, but that’s, we’re overrun because this person here just doesn’t answer the phone”, right? So we’re carrying that person, there might be a reason for that, let’s go and look at it. But at least the data tells you that rather than just you got on, what the office is telling you.
– Yeah, there’s a big difference between, “oh, the phones are slammed” and we look at the data and there’s 20 calls per day for four people. You kind of go, uh, but if you don’t have the data, you have no idea and you have to guess.
– 100%. Even even something simple, right? If you went to most businesses and said business owners and said how, what ring would you like to phone answered? Right? And they’d go, I’d want it on fourth ring maximum, I want it answered. How, how do you know? How do you know what’s going on? You can show those stats and most businesses you’ll find is it’s not, right? It’s ringing a lot more than that.
– [Jackson] Yeah.
– And, and that’s the struggle. So just putting those, those stats in there. I think we start getting overwhelmed, or we’ve got a luxury of seeing stats around data, but we don’t see a lot of it around voice. So I’d argue about to most people on the call, or are listening now, voice is more important than data in their day to day.
– Yeah. So how is the analytics presented? Is it a custom report? Can you get the CSV, is it power BI, is it –
– Yeah, so it’s all of those, but the easiest way it’s it’s done up as a display. So it’s just as.
– [Jackson] Like a live dashboard.
– Yeah, exactly. So it’s a full widget dashboard and it’s then fully adjustable to how they want it. So, the individual users can go look that missed calls is super important to me. So I want that as the big one and I want that to take up half the screen, but I also want number of rings, number of callbacks, whatever’s required. It can be completely customizable for that individual customer.
– Is there a way, and this might be getting a little bit too deep and too technical, but can you, it’s obviously we’re MSP, we’ve got a PSA tool that we use, we’re going to have the same customers calling and if they’ve got, you know, a set range of numbers and or, or their numbers are in our, our PSA, is there a way to know who’s calling, bring up their, you know, somehow program it to bring up the documentation for that client or bring up a ticket potentially. Have you had customers do that?
– Well, you’re thinking of ideas and someone’s built that. So there is third party software which plugs in as well, that does that very thing. So what it’ll allow you to do is into your PSA, be it ConnectWise or Autotask or whatever it is, it will actually see those numbers are coming in. It can actually even go a step further, let’s say, and I’m sure none of your customers would owe your money, but if, if someone did owe your money, they’re outside of the terms, it can actually flag that and send it through to accounts first.
– [Brad] Oh yeah?
– And so accounts take that call first and go, oh, “I need this fixed”, well just about your bill, let me start that out. But another way can be used is you can actually bring up the start of a ticket. It will bring up the history.
– So so you’re ready to get into that?
– So absolutely, because we’re starting to use voice, or we’re treating voice as smart data rather than just dumb analog noise,
– Yeah. it means you can do so much more with it and that’s where the, you, you know, the unified comes into it, right?
– [Jackson] Mm hm.
– It’s no longer, I’ve got a cable, which is analog and I’ve got a data cable, they’re now the same one and it’s tracked like data, so we can sort it like data.
– So another one that’s interesting that we kind of talked about a little bit pre-show was around, so getting the call recording, but then the sentiment analysis. So again, using AI to kind of, was this was the customer happy or were they sad? And you know, is that, I’ve, I’ve read about this, I’ve seen this in the past, but how, does Access 4 have anything like that? How’s that technology looking? How’s that progressing?
– Yeah, it, it’s really exciting and it’s very much an area that we’re engaged in and focusing on, so sentiment analysis is something that is on our roadmap and it is a little bit down on our roadmap but it is very much something that we’ve identified as particularly again from hybrid and flexible work, the customer experience and the staff experience are absolutely linked now. And so if you don’t have happy customers, sorry, if you don’t have happy staff, you probably don’t have happy customers.
– [Jackson] Yeah.
– So that sentiment analysis around customers is as important in, in team members, are they, you know, are they looking at a second screen? Are they engaged? Is it, are they, you know, because I can’t see what’s people are doing in the office, what’s going on in there, and you know, even the language, so if it’s call center staff is the type of language negative, forceful, supportive, you know, Grammarly tells you about right, when you write? So it’s looking at that as well to see, you know, are my call center people now too stressed and I need to step them back. So all about sentiments, it’s not about overly monitoring, it’s about supporting the staff in their needs as well in that customer experience. So yeah, absolutely there is, you know, AI gets thrown around a lot, right? I’ve got a rice cooker that apparently has AI. Okay, it makes good rice, I’m not going to lie, but I dunno. So, but there’s a lot going on around those algorithms in, you know, I get virtual AI is another word I’ve been taught. It’s like it is or it isn’t.
– [Jackson] How do you, what’s a physical AI?
– Yeah, well I think it’s, virtual is another word for not,
– you know what I mean?
– Okay. It’s like, it’s not really okay, but there’s, there’s a lot of work being done in that and a lot of it around BI as well round that just pulling and the ability to troll through that data and looking for trends and then building off that.
– Yeah, and it’s, it is kind of that just knowing without having to listen to the call, was there, was this a happy call or was this a sad call.
– And having that, the big one is trends, right? Is if you can have just a report drop down to you just said you may have an issue here
– or you want to talk about it rather than you, you as a supervisor, you’ll pick it up too late.
– [Brad] Yeah.
– And by the time you figured out to jump on a call and listen there’s already upset customers, and probably an upset staff member. So the faster we can catch that, the better of our experience is.
– Yep. All right, circling back onto more topic of the show, evolution of voice. We went through business voice in 2010 and the challenges with Covid, then up to Covid and you mentioned some of the challenges right now already, being good customer experience in hybrid work and good employee experience in hybrid work. What are the challenges in unified communications right now that you see?
– So I’d say the challenges for, for anyone with telephone lines, the things I would say to think about is how do I untether them from my office, right? That’s number one is how can I deliver the same level of staff engagement and customer experience no matter where my staff are? Because that will help you keep staff, it’ll help you provide happier staff, which gives you happier customers and it will widen your net on where you can hire staff. Cuz if you don’t need to make someone come to an office five day a week, then you can then look beyond your 40K or 50K from an office. So that’s absolutely number one. Find a way to untether yourself from an office and deliver the same level of experience no matter where they are. The second one I’d say to anyone out here who’s got a a telephone line is communications continuity. So how secure and how available is my telephony no matter what the event. And there’s three events, there’s an event that happens to your telco, there’s an event that happens to your provider, so your MSP or your CSP and there’s the event that happens to you as the end customer. And so what happens to you, you can have a, a malware attack, you can have a physical event, you can have a fire or flood, you know, any of those events. Then you move up to that middle line, which is the MSP, all those things can happen to them, right? You guys work very hard to make sure your data’s secure and you know, I’m sure you guys work very hard in, in segregating between vendors and datas as to what data you see, which then protects those end customers. And then the next question is, what is the vendor doing? So as you know ourselves at Access 4 we can, and I love to talk about this all day, around the multiple feeds we have and the business resilience we’ve built in and the secure fails we have, because, I’m not saying we won’t get hit, we, people are trying to hit us every single day as they are hitting every business everywhere. But it’s what happens when it does and and what resilience do you have in place to secure your customers data, but to ensure continuity of service to those customers because they’re the, they’re the two is the know, the more I untether myself, the more I’m in the cloud and then how secure is the cloud I went to? Because not every cloud is equal and just because a MSP or someone says, “oh, I’m putting you up to the cloud”, right? Is it the same as what you had? And what I’d say is never go backwards in, in telco grade, never drop down a level of quality just to save a bit of money. You want that redundancy and that reliability. Reliability and then not untethering from the office. So that was a long answer, but that was –
– It was, it was a good answer though. You shared some good insights there and I think goes back to what you said before, which is pretty valuable around if you are wanting to put in Direct Teams calling for example, which is something we recommend almost everyone in Teams to do is to integrate that and instead of a separate system, call out of Teams, but make sure we have the redundancy there as well. Like you mentioned Access 4 has before, so you’ve got something behind the scenes that can catch when Teams falls over because yeah, it doesn’t happen a lot, but –
– It does happen. And it could be just, I mean, even if it’s 15 minutes,
– That can be a big difference if you’re running inbound calling.
– And even, even even beyond that, right? So they’ve got Teams, but what, what’s that? What’s that vendor doing? What, you know, always push back on whenever someone puts you on the cloud, push back on that and ask, okay, well what, what does that mean from a redundancy and security standpoint?
– And because you can’t, at the end of the day, as the end customer, you are responsible for your data and your continuity and always ask your partner what does that mean to me and how protected am I?
– It’s quite hard for non-technical end users though when you, when you say the cloud, right? Is it, what’s the cloud? Is it just back at the MSPs office –
– Under a carpet?
– or is it a private cloud? Is it, you know, some random country
– somewhere else? Or is it the public cloud? So it’s quite hard to have those kind of questions, from someone non-technical, but it is good advice and something that people should definitely be checking, that’s for sure. What’s so what’s next for business calling or UC?
– Look, I think, I mean it depends how far we want to go, right? If you want to talk to Mr. Zuckerberg, we’ll all be in Web 3.0 and we’ll all be using the, you know, the AV, the augmented reality headsets that you guys have got up there.
– [Jackson] Yeah.
– And we’ll be, we’ll be having, we won’t be having these physical meetings, we’ll be set up like the Jedi Council. I dunno if anyone remembers ’em,
– the prequels.
– [Brad] Oh, I can’t wait for a hologram machine.
– Yeah, I’m mad for ’em, I’m mad for ’em. But look, you know, joking aside, I really, I’m excited about what we see there. There are some incredible applications and some uses of that around training, distance training, about a democratization of education that we can see out of this. We can see, you know, helping the planet. So, you know, again, if people, if we take that next step away from Zoom meetings, but we’re having more interactive be them virtual or augmented meetings, which then means, again, we don’t need to travel significant distances to do these, these are all brilliant things. So what, what do I see in the short term? The short term I see far more untethering of offices and and a real take up of teams and UC and and WebEx in the short term. We’ll see, you know, the death of the phone system in an office. We’re already pretty close to that.
– [Jackson] Yeah.
– You know, we’ll see further combining of those two separate industries, right? The voice guy and the data guy. It’s, you know, it’s combined now when it’s the MSP and it’s, you know, organizations like Redd who are the experts in that, which is great for businesses, right?
– Mm. It’s one throat to choke, it’s someone I can go to and they look after all of that.
– We’ll see AI, and just an ubiquity of communications come through that we’ll see more tie into, you know, more of these in the offices. So the, the group sharing systems, we’ll see a lot more of those, which will be a lot more easier to use. And then longer term, you know, then we’ll see who wins around Elon and Zuckerberg around their metaverses.
– Mm hm, yeah, I mean hopefully the metaverse in office like business use is a long, long way away if it even gets there. Cause it’ll be pretty hard to replicate that. But it was a good point you made definitely about having that one throat to choke. And that’s something we do is we’ve got a couple different arms, but being your technology success partner, so you, you really partner with an organization these days. You don’t just have a separate provider for IT support, separate for cyber, separate for strategy, separate for calling, separate for internet links and all these things, right?
– It’s also closely linked everyone, you’ve got to be across all the different verticals in technology.
– 100%, and that’s what I would say to anyone out there is just find that trusted advisor,
– [Jackson] Yep.
– find the Redd in your business who is an expert in you and then has expert vendors behind them in those verticals.
– [Jackson] Yep.
– And that works really well because they understand your needs and they can deliver solutions across the whole board and then use those specialist vendors to make sure you’re getting best of breed. And when that works, it works really, really well.
– Thanks Peter for coming in. You provide a lot of good insights and it’s been really interesting to hear the evolution of voice from even back from 2010 and just prior to Covid to where it is now, has come a long way in terms of new functionality that’s been introduced and people, you know, focusing on cloud based and that unified communications piece, not just business voice anymore. And we’ll see what happens with the metaverse, but mate, I really appreciate you coming on. Where can people reach you if they want more information?
– Yes, I’m on LinkedIn so you can hit me up. It’s Peter Eldon, you’ll see me on there and please follow me and tell me if you agree or disagree with any of that, and obviously for you guys. So we, we’d love to support you guys and if anyone’s interested in anything we talked about. But then obviously Redd can support you guys in some trials and we can, we can set up some proof of concepts that would, we’d love to support you on. But again, just want to appreciate for you guys inviting me into what is the state of the art set-up and look forward to getting me in at another point when you’ve run out of contributors, I’m keen to do it again.
– No worries. We made a, we made a podcast. Fantastic.
– Thanks Peter. Appreciate it.
– My pleasure.
REDD is a Technology Success Partner business headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. The Business and Technology podcast focusses on the commercial application of digital technologies in business. Guests will include industry experts, vendors, customers, business owners and anyone with unique insight to share. We discuss and explore current events, issues and stories relevant to business leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and everyone in between. The show will have a mix of hosts from the REDD leadership anchored by co-founding Director and CEO Brad Ferris.
REDD is a leading provider of the following services
- Digital Advisory Consulting
- Managed Technology
- Cloud Computing
- Cyber Security
- Unified Communications
We believe, in the not so distant future, that people will not only deserve, but demand greater access to frictionless tools and systems that enhance and uplift their lives. Technology can create a truly blended lifestyle between work and play that prioritises mental health and wellbeing for our people, while increasing efficiencies and the effectiveness of emerging technologies in the workplace. We believe the future of work is built on perfectly balanced and curated tech stacks that seamlessly interface with the people they are built for. And it’s that future we’re building toward.