Vonage Business Coalesces Around Essentials & Premier

by Sandra Gustavsen

Through a series of acquisitions in recent years, Vonage has built out its Vonage Business division with new cloud-based services that enable the company to address the needs of small and mid-size businesses and larger distributed enterprises, ranging from two to thousands of employees. The acquired offerings have resulted in a portfolio of business services that spans unified communications as-a-service (UCaaS), networking and quality of service (QoS), SIP trunking, cloud backup, hosted email, infrastructure-as-a-service, and more.Vonage Logo

Vonage first entered the hosted business market in 2013 with the acquisition of cloud provider Vocalocity and its custom-built telephony services for very small businesses in the U.S. and Canada. In 2014 and 2015, Vonage purchased two additional cloud UC providers, Telesphere and SimpleSignal (both of which use BroadSoft technology), allowing Vonage to serve larger businesses with a more robust set of services, including voice, video, mobility, web and video collaboration and a private, national MPLS network. Subsequently, Vonage acquired iCore Networks, another BroadSoft-based UCaaS provider, but also offering IT cloud services such as virtual desktop and infrastructure as-a-service (IaaS). This was followed by the purchase of middleware technology company gUnify (now rebranded as Vonage Connect) for integrating unified communications with business applications.

Just recently (May 2016), Vonage entered a new market – the Communications Platform as-a-Service (CPaaS) market – when the company acquired CPaaS provider Nexmo said to be the second largest CPaaS company worldwide. This move is expected to be a real game-changer for Vonage. The CPaaS market is growing fast, with estimates of this market reaching $8 billion by 2018 (IDC), and custom application development is already becoming a significant differentiator among cloud UC solutions. In the near-term, Nexmo and Vonage will “cross-sell” into their respective markets, but overtime, integration will take place, creating new service offerings for Vonage’s business customers.

All of this M&A activity has propelled Vonage into a top spot in the North American UCaaS market. The IHS Infonetics May 2016 UCaaS Scorecard North America ranked Vonage second in terms of installed base of seats, financial stability, market strategy, service capabilities and support options. Frost & Sullivan awarded Vonage its 2015 Growth Excellence Leadership Award for Hosted IP and Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) Services. Gartner placed Vonage in the Visionaries quadrant of its 2015 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide after evaluating 20 UC solutions providers on “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision” within the market.

Essentials and Premier UCaaS Bundles

In a relatively short period of time, Vonage Business reshaped and streamlined multiple acquired offerings into two main UCaaS product lines, one designed for small and mid-size businesses (Essentials) and the other aimed at the mid-market and enterprise (Premier), though Vonage stresses that it sells services based on specific business needs, not necessarily on the size of the business.

Essentials is the former Vocalocity service and is a good fit for businesses, often smaller businesses, with basic telephony and UC requirements. Essentials is delivered over the public Internet. The Premier user bundle is based largely on the former Telesphere UCaaS service, but with elements from the SimpleSignal and iCore acquisitions, and targets businesses that have more sophisticated UC requirements such as for web and video collaboration. With Premier, Vonage offers access through a private, managed MPLS network for quality of service (QoS), enhanced business continuity and security. The company’s SmartWAN service provides real-time packet optimization, network performance monitoring and failover (SmartWAN can be combined with Vonage MPLS services or can help to ensure QoS for public Internet connections).

Click here for some “fast facts” on the target markets, service delivery, features, applications and pricing models for each of the Vonage Business UCaaS plans.

So, what’s next for Vonage Business? The company plans a continued focus on network interfaces, business application integrations, contact center and mobile network integration. Also, with Vonage’s recent acquisition of Nexmo CPaaS now complete, the company will be able to offer businesses and developers an environment for building, testing, deploying and managing custom business applications that will integrate with Vonage UCaaS. The use cases are endless and will be found across all industries, including education, real-estate, retail, healthcare, legal, government and more. Stay tuned.