[D’Dialogue] Unification of Communication is The Next Big Deal In Cloud Telephony Space: Shivku, CEO – Exotel

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Aarzu Khan
A full-time data scientists and a part-time industry analyst; still learning power of effective presentation and firm believer of the thought "Numbers are always magical". Love to be in the network of people who 'know' how to respect their time and keep others engaged in meaningful activities.

The exploded growth in mobile adoption and ongoing massive enhancement in internet infrastructure in India have helped some of the market leaders in cloud telephony, also known as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), to push the envelope. Companies offering cloud telephony services have started showing a great degree of commitment to their customers in the fast changing environment of communication. eCommerce, radio taxis, online healthcare are driving the growth of cloud telephony in India.

After the initial challenges, cloud telephony market in India looks promising. The industry is estimated to record a double-digit YoY growth until 2021. Despite, cloud telephony is still in its nascent stage in India. Unlike developed markets like the US, Cloud telephony technology in India will have to go through various shifts before it matures and becomes more acceptable and widely adopted by Indian companies. This is also highlighted in the recently released report from Frost & Sullivan that analyses the current scenario of cloud telephony in India.

To understand the current market scenario, challenges, growth and future opportunities Dazeinfo Team team recently interacted with Mr. Shivakumar Ganeshan, a.ka. ShivKu, CEO of Exotel, one of the Southeast Asia’s largest cloud telephony companies.

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Exotel registered a 161% increase in revenue to Rs 27.8 crore in fiscal 2016. The Bengaluru-based startup, which was founded in late 2011, counts new-age companies including Ola, Flipkart and Quikr among clients.

“Technology performs the best when it disappears,” Shivku believes. 

Why a Cloud Telephony Startup?

“When I first visited JustDial office, I didn’t find myself comfortable due to the commotion. I wanted to build a call centre without a centre. Let everybody be wherever they are, all they need is a phone. The idea was, perhaps, to let people talk to each other in a most simplistic way. I wanted to build a solution that’s easy to adopt and scalable. In the ear of WhatsApp and Facebook, I still believe voice is the natural form of communication, there is no other better way for two people to communicate with each other,” says Shivku.

The advent of futuristic voice driven products, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home Loop, have created a big window of opportunity for Exotel.

We are Building A Runway

“Leveraging on the wealth of conversational and taxonomical information available with us, Exotel could play an instrumental role in developing path-breaking voice based products. But, in a country like India where a person speaks more than 2-3 languages, it’s not easy to make computers understand the different accent and languages. Can we create a computer system that could understand what Indians naturally speak, and what role Exotel could play in it? These are very futuristics problems to solve, and therefore it’s important for us to build a runway in India before we start rubbing shoulders with some of the global players.” explains Shivku.

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Is it a right time for cloud telephony industry to thrive In India?

“As business models are emerging, companies are actively looking for call centre solution which can cater to their today’s need. This could be well understood by comparing a traditional shopping process offline vs online. A person goes to a shop buys a product, pays the price and in the case of any dissatisfaction, he can reach back to the shop owner. In online case, however, there are multiple parties are involved before a transaction gets completed. In such a complex environment the role of call centre becomes more vital. To connect a customer with different people from a different department on the go is quite challenging. Such situation can’t be handled effectively in the absence of cloud telephony. With the flourishing scenario of startups and SMBs in India cloud telephony market will grow leaps and bounds in the next few years,” answers Shivku.

Is Cloud Telephony Eclipsing Call Centre?

The growing adoption and promising future of cloud telephony are questioning the existence of traditional cal centres. Companies have slowly started shying away from plans to walk on the road to traditional call centre support system. Does that mean that the future of traditional call centre business si bleak and cal centres are doomed to die?

“No, call centres will not go away. Having said that, the cloud telephony will have push cal centres to become cheaper and improve their service quality in a bid to compete with cloud telephony. benefits offered by cloud telephony, like onboarding cost of call centres, operating cost, improved call quality, cheaper data price, and anywhere accessibility, are some of the major elements that will make call centre solution more adaptable and affordable,” explains Shivku.

The Next Big Thing in Cloud Telephony in India

“Unification! Right now there are many artificially created regulations on how calls need to be taken. Norms like IP calls can’t be mixed with PSTM calls, mobile calls can’t be mixed with landline calls, mobile numbers has to have a different pattern than landline numbers, must go away. Communication must become very seamless. Dependency on technologies and devices must be least, and that going to be a big deal,” says Shivku.

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